Clothesline Trivia

Clothesline Trivia

Bob
Bob

December 21st, 2010, 2:41 pm #1

A co-worker sent this to me . . one of those nostalgia things. I remember when I was a small child that my mother hung clothing on the line, but by the time I was 10 or so we just used the electric dryer. Of course, I don't remember most of these "rules". (One of the things from my son's visit to France: Few people in the town he stayed in (Pau) had or used clothes dryers. They hung clothes to dry. When he expressed surprise at this, he was told that hang-drying was more economical, conserved energy and was better for the ecology. Those French are always thinking!)


1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes by walking the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain way and always hang "whites" with "whites" and hang them first. (And start with short white socks and work your way to the longest pieces!)

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail. (What would the neighbors think?)

4. Wash day was on Monday. (It was like they didn't get as clean on Wednesday.) Never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday, for Heaven's sake.

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (from the perverts and busybodies, you know).

6. It didn't matter if it was subzero weather because clothes would "freeze dry."

7. Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines was a "tacky" thing to do.

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothespins, but shared one of the clothespins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes were off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. Ironed??? Well, that's a whole other subject.



A POEM ABOUT CLOTHESLINES

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.


It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.


For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels hung on the line;
You'd see the "company tablecloths"
With intricate designs.


A line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.


The ages of the children could
So readily be known;
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown.


It also told when illness struck
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.


It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare;
It told "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.


New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows
And looked the other way.


But clotheslines are now of the past
For dryers make work much less;
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess.


I really miss that way of life...
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!



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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

December 21st, 2010, 2:55 pm #2

Who would think such a trivial subject as a clothesline would trigger such a flood of memories?

My daughter and I both hang up clothes to dry in the basement. They dry in no time in the low moisture of the house in the cold weather. In warm weather they go outside to dry in the sun, though we don't have a clothesline outside. I just drape them over lawn chairs.

I remember vividly a neighbor who was a careful housekeeper and did everything by the book, so to speak. After the laundry was done, hung out and dried, it was folded and brought inside. The next day it was taken out and sprinkled, then refolded and (I think) either put back in the basket or inside a plastic bag or something. That's how the clothes was dampened for ironing. I don't remember that being done at our house but my father also was a driver for a laundry. We still did laundry in one of those old-fashioned wringer washer.

A relative and her family just moved to Germany a few months ago. They inform us they have a small washer/dryer combo that actually heats the water in the washing machine. Don't know how well it works but it's different.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 21st, 2010, 4:00 pm #3

A co-worker sent this to me . . one of those nostalgia things. I remember when I was a small child that my mother hung clothing on the line, but by the time I was 10 or so we just used the electric dryer. Of course, I don't remember most of these "rules". (One of the things from my son's visit to France: Few people in the town he stayed in (Pau) had or used clothes dryers. They hung clothes to dry. When he expressed surprise at this, he was told that hang-drying was more economical, conserved energy and was better for the ecology. Those French are always thinking!)


1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes by walking the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain way and always hang "whites" with "whites" and hang them first. (And start with short white socks and work your way to the longest pieces!)

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail. (What would the neighbors think?)

4. Wash day was on Monday. (It was like they didn't get as clean on Wednesday.) Never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday, for Heaven's sake.

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (from the perverts and busybodies, you know).

6. It didn't matter if it was subzero weather because clothes would "freeze dry."

7. Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines was a "tacky" thing to do.

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothespins, but shared one of the clothespins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes were off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. Ironed??? Well, that's a whole other subject.



A POEM ABOUT CLOTHESLINES

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.


It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.


For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels hung on the line;
You'd see the "company tablecloths"
With intricate designs.


A line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.


The ages of the children could
So readily be known;
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown.


It also told when illness struck
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.


It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare;
It told "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.


New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows
And looked the other way.


But clotheslines are now of the past
For dryers make work much less;
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess.


I really miss that way of life...
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!


Even in the "Sunshine State" clotheslines are a rare sight- found only in the rural areas and poor parts of town. I don't think they are even allowed in many areas because they are considered "unsightly".

And I must admit I prefer dryer-dried clothes- besides not having to worry about a sudden shower (common in summer) the clothes feel softer and less wrinkly when machine-dried.


New York city in the 1930s:

. . . ; .


Crap!- Shorpy has blocked my photo drafts again! - I had some great pictures of tenement buildings in NY with six layers of clothes on lines stretch out between buildings. A amazing sight to see clothes dangling 6-floors up- they used clothes lines on pulleys which they loaded from windows. Seems very precarious to me but I guess this was very common in big cities.
Last edited by Nat on December 22nd, 2010, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bob
Bob

December 21st, 2010, 6:13 pm #4

I agree that having a clothesline in the yard tends to speak "poor" or "low-class", at least in U.S. It's viewed as: You dry clothes that way because you don't have money for an electric dryer (but, truthfully, a lot of the houses next to the clothesline reflected that poverty).

I know what you mean about the softness and wrinkles, but one thing I do like to have line-hung are bed sheets. It just seems like they smell fresher than out of a machine.

Another memory: Being chased by bigger kids, and I was able to run under the clothesline, no problem, but my pursuers would either have to duck down or strangle themselves against the line. I also remember hiding behind a sheet hung from the line . . i.e., game of "hide and seek" . . but you have to have the sun on the sheet side rather than from where you are crouching, or your shadow would give your location away.

Wow, the things we remember, if given enough chance!
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Marv
Marv

December 22nd, 2010, 6:44 am #5

Even in the "Sunshine State" clotheslines are a rare sight- found only in the rural areas and poor parts of town. I don't think they are even allowed in many areas because they are considered "unsightly".

And I must admit I prefer dryer-dried clothes- besides not having to worry about a sudden shower (common in summer) the clothes feel softer and less wrinkly when machine-dried.


New York city in the 1930s:

. . . ; .


Crap!- Shorpy has blocked my photo drafts again! - I had some great pictures of tenement buildings in NY with six layers of clothes on lines stretch out between buildings. A amazing sight to see clothes dangling 6-floors up- they used clothes lines on pulleys which they loaded from windows. Seems very precarious to me but I guess this was very common in big cities.
I would say that you never had the pleasure of crawling between sheets that was made from Purina feed sacks and was freshly dried out side on a clothes line (felt so goooooooood)
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 22nd, 2010, 12:58 pm #6

Er, you're right Marv, thats a pleasure(?) I've never experience.

I'll put it on my list of things to try before I croak, but down rather low.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

December 22nd, 2010, 1:01 pm #7

I would say that you never had the pleasure of crawling between sheets that was made from Purina feed sacks and was freshly dried out side on a clothes line (felt so goooooooood)
I even lived in what is now probably a 150 year old log house (no one called them cabins), used a wood burning range, a Warm Morning coal heater and an outhouse (we had a clothes line, too) but we had regular department store sheets. We also wore store-bought clothes.
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Marv
Marv

December 23rd, 2010, 6:00 am #8

You most likely would have to live on a farm to have cloth feed sacks but they did have flour in cloth bags, surly I not that old to be the only one to have experience cloth bags, burlap was also used for feed
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Thumper
Thumper

December 31st, 2010, 3:07 pm #9

A co-worker sent this to me . . one of those nostalgia things. I remember when I was a small child that my mother hung clothing on the line, but by the time I was 10 or so we just used the electric dryer. Of course, I don't remember most of these "rules". (One of the things from my son's visit to France: Few people in the town he stayed in (Pau) had or used clothes dryers. They hung clothes to dry. When he expressed surprise at this, he was told that hang-drying was more economical, conserved energy and was better for the ecology. Those French are always thinking!)


1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes by walking the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain way and always hang "whites" with "whites" and hang them first. (And start with short white socks and work your way to the longest pieces!)

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail. (What would the neighbors think?)

4. Wash day was on Monday. (It was like they didn't get as clean on Wednesday.) Never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday, for Heaven's sake.

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (from the perverts and busybodies, you know).

6. It didn't matter if it was subzero weather because clothes would "freeze dry."

7. Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines was a "tacky" thing to do.

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothespins, but shared one of the clothespins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes were off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. Ironed??? Well, that's a whole other subject.



A POEM ABOUT CLOTHESLINES

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.


It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.


For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels hung on the line;
You'd see the "company tablecloths"
With intricate designs.


A line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.


The ages of the children could
So readily be known;
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown.


It also told when illness struck
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.


It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare;
It told "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.


New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows
And looked the other way.


But clotheslines are now of the past
For dryers make work much less;
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess.


I really miss that way of life...
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!


I live in a housing development where we are not allowed to have outside clotheslines. So I just use my inside electric dryer. A neighbor gets around the "NO Clothesline" rule by handing their clothes in one of the stalls of the garage, and then leave the door open while drying. Thought it a goood idea, but never did it myself.
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Marseil
Marseil

January 23rd, 2011, 9:54 am #10

A co-worker sent this to me . . one of those nostalgia things. I remember when I was a small child that my mother hung clothing on the line, but by the time I was 10 or so we just used the electric dryer. Of course, I don't remember most of these "rules". (One of the things from my son's visit to France: Few people in the town he stayed in (Pau) had or used clothes dryers. They hung clothes to dry. When he expressed surprise at this, he was told that hang-drying was more economical, conserved energy and was better for the ecology. Those French are always thinking!)


1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes by walking the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain way and always hang "whites" with "whites" and hang them first. (And start with short white socks and work your way to the longest pieces!)

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail. (What would the neighbors think?)

4. Wash day was on Monday. (It was like they didn't get as clean on Wednesday.) Never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday, for Heaven's sake.

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (from the perverts and busybodies, you know).

6. It didn't matter if it was subzero weather because clothes would "freeze dry."

7. Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines was a "tacky" thing to do.

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothespins, but shared one of the clothespins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes were off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. Ironed??? Well, that's a whole other subject.



A POEM ABOUT CLOTHESLINES

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.


It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.


For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels hung on the line;
You'd see the "company tablecloths"
With intricate designs.


A line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.


The ages of the children could
So readily be known;
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown.


It also told when illness struck
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.


It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare;
It told "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.


New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows
And looked the other way.


But clotheslines are now of the past
For dryers make work much less;
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess.


I really miss that way of life...
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!


I've just hung my laundry outside, so I think it is the right time to bring some additional stuff to this.....

> One of the things from my son's visit to France: Few people in the town he stayed in (Pau) had or used clothes dryers. They hung clothes to dry. When he
> expressed surprise at this, he was told that hang-drying was more economical, conserved energy and was better for the ecology. Those French are always
> thinking!
Very true. Most people here don't have and don't want a dryer. I totally agree with the arguments such as more economical, and better for ecology. Also, my feeling is that clothes wear faster when you use a dryer than when you hang them for drying.

> 1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes by walking the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.
Not any longer! With a folding clothesline, you put away the line when you take the laundry off. So it is not exposed to rain, dust, etc...



> 2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain way and always hang "whites" with "whites" and hang them first. (And start with short white socks and work
> your way to the longest pieces!)
Maybe this was true half a century ago. Nowadays, color does not generally comes off from clothes. I don't see the point in ordering stuff by length.


> 3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail. (What would the neighbors think?)
You learn fast that depending on the way you hang a shirt, ironing will be more or less easy. To avoid creases, you hang a shirt by one end (shoulders or bottom), but not by the middle.


> 4. Wash day was on Monday. (It was like they didn't get as clean on Wednesday.) Never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday, for Heaven's sake.
It's Sunday morning, and I've just done the laundry and hung it.


> 5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (from the perverts and busybodies, you know).
Who cares? I don't give a shit to my neighbors opinion. Contrarily it will be easier to take the clothes off the clothesline if you hang the small pieces outside.


> 6. It didn't matter if it was subzero weather because clothes would "freeze dry."
It's 4 centigrade (39 F) this morning, with a bright sunshine and wind. The laundry will be dry tonight.


> 7. Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines was a "tacky" thing to do.
With a folding clothesline, you have to take the pins off.


> 8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothespins, but shared one of the clothespins with the next
> washed item.
Doesn't work with small stuff such as socks. And I've even invested in extra clothespins.


> 9. Clothes were off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.
Clothes will be off by sunset so that they don't get wet again. The maid will iron them tomorrow.


> 10. Ironed??? Well, that's a whole other subject.
Subcontracted.



Marseil.
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