Did you have a clothesline as a child? I did, in both of the childhood homes I really remember. This photo is at the home where I lived during my teenage years. It shows my Italian penpal and her friend hanging out our clothes during their visit to America. Yes, we gave them a true American lifestyle experience 🙂
The clothesline at my first childhood home was similar — long, and with several lines. I often hung out clothes, and there was a process. First, I had to take a rag and wipe off the line (sometimes I would not do this. Shhhh! Don’t tell Mom!). Then, I brought out the fabric bag full of wooden clothespins and hung that on the line. And finally, I would lug out the laundry itself. Sometimes it was in a basket, as in the photo above, but often it was in a contraption we had with criss-crossing metal legs and a fabric bag hung at the top.
I usually tried to hang large items first, like sheets. This made the load go down quickly, so it looked like I’d made progress. But then the smaller stuff took much longer — individual socks, etc. I often tried “double hanging” a couple of socks with a single clothespin, but this was frowned upon because the items then took longer to dry. I also always found it embarrassing to hang out underwear on the line — but I did it anyway (not that I had a lot of choice, really!).
Our Italian friends appear to have a different method to their hanging from what I used — I would never have put a single clothespin in the center of a piece of clothing, as they did. No, I pinned each corner, although often one corner of one shirt and a corner of another were clipped with a single pin. I always preferred the “clip” type of clothespin to the non-clip ones, and used all the clip ones up before resorting to their less-springy siblings.
No clothesline for me today. In fact, they’re against the rules of our subdivision (and really, how rude!). This is one of several things I have against subdivisions.
Clotheslines in Italy
The photo above is what inspired me to write this post. As you know, I’ve been converting my old negatives to digital images. The one here is from my 1991 trip to visit my penpal in Italy. This is the scene that greeted me each morning when I looked out of my window at their apartment in Florence (or Firenze, as they say in Italia). Everyone hung out their laundry, but on these small clotheslines on their balconies. Also, my penpal’s mom informed me of how to deal with the heat — an important considerations, since hardly anyplace was air-conditioned there. She opened the windows and blinds in the early morning, but closed them up as soon as the sun began making an earnest appearance. In many ways, European lifestyles were kind of like American ones from 50 years or so ago.
Do you have a clothesline? Share some memories or thoughts in the comments.