The Sociology of the Clothesline
Long before Facebook, there was the clothesline. This was fun and quite true. We are probably the last generation that will remember what a clothesline was. And in lots of places (HOA’s) they are illegal.
The Basic Rules for Clotheslines
1. You had to hang socks by the toes...NOT the tops.
2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs...not the waistbands.
3. You had to WASH the clotheslines before hanging any clothes – walk the
entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.
4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang “whites”
with “whites” and hang them first.
5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders – always by the tail! What would
the neighbors think?
6. Wash day was on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend or on
Sunday, for heaven’s sake!
7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your
“unmentionables” in the middle (perverts and busybodies, you know.)
8. It didn’t matter if it was sub-zero weather...clothes would “freeze-dry.”
9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left
on the lines were “tacky.”
10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not
need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next item.
11. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket,
and ready to be ironed. IRONED??!! Well, that’s a whole OTHER subject.
12. Long wooden pole (clothes pole) that was used to push the clothesline up so
that longer items didn’t brush the ground and get dirty.
Although in these modern times some of these “rules” seem silly, there was a reason for many of them. You always washed the “whites” first. With an old fashioned washer with a ringer, you did not change the water with each load; “whites” went first. We were saving
water before it was popular.
Reusing it, too, because the only
way to empty the washer was to
lower the drain hose out the back
door to water the yard!
I love the ease of my modern washer and dryer, but I miss how white the sunlight made my whites and the lovely aroma of sun dried clothes!
The Quarterly No.14 Issue No. 1, January-February-March 2017 * http://threerivershistoricalsocietyaz.org