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Nature’s perfect clothes dryer

June 25, 2017
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

During the 27 years you and I have been Moseyin' Along together, I've come to recognize that there is a group of folks dedicated to giving the days, weeks and months in our calendar a reason for celebration, for special observances or for a topic to ponder. In fact, I often consult the lists put out by these inventive people when I'm looking for an idea for our Moseys. The lists seldom disappoint.

In June, for instance, topics have included National Body Piercing week (June 11-16), Duct Tape Days (16-18), and National Hand Shake Day (29th).

One observance I couldn't pass up in the June calendar was International Clothesline Week.

Although most folks (including me) are currently devoted to their electric clothes dryers, it hasn't been that long ago that a clothesline was a vital part of our washday routine.

Helping Mom hang the wash was a ritual I always looked forward to.

Our two long wash lines were strung between "T" posts at opposite ends of the yard and supported in the middle by my swing set.

When the lines were full, of course, we had to use props to keep the longer items from sagging to the ground.

My favorite bonus of wash day was when Mom would hang the sheets across the two parallel lines, making a shady tunnel for me to run through. Nothing smelled as good as that sheet tunnel, whipped by the wind and warmed by the sun.

Through the years, I learned you could tell a great deal about a family by watching their clothesline.

When a young, just-married couple moved into the neighborhood, the wash lines would feature beautiful towels and linens, most likely the couple's wedding gifts.

Soon, the line would bear jeans, tee shirts and various working clothes. Then, along came the maternity tops and fuzzy night gowns.

The next entrants on the clothesline displays would be diapers, sleepers, rompers, little shirts, socks and on and on as the little ones grew and new members were added to the clan. The family clothesline was actually a visual testament to the family's progress.

Of course, the clotheslines were put to many other uses when not supporting the family's weekly wash.

For instance, in our house when spring cleaning was under way, brothers Bob and Alan gathered all the throw rugs and runners, flipped them over the lines, and used the wicked-looking rug beaters on them.

Sister Lynn's job was to take down all the curtains, wash and hang them out to dry. When all were re-hung on the freshly-washed windows, the whole house seemed to sparkle.

By the time I entered my teen years, I occasionally used the clotheslines as support for a makeshift overnight tent. It made me feel very adventurous, sleeping out in nature, even if it was only ten feet from the house.

I wouldn't want to go back to the labor-intensive days of hanging all the wash on a clothesline. An electric dryer is so much more efficient.

But, like everything else that has brought us more leisure time, there have been tradeoffs. Nothing that comes out of the dryer smells quite like bed sheets that dry on the line on a breezy and sunny June day.



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