Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Nostalgia Versus The Norm
Pia Hansen editor of the Spokesman Review's Home section wrote a wonderfully nostalgic piece on clothes lines for this morning's edition. Ah, memories.
There are two kinds you know. The first being a line or lines strung between various style posts; the other the umbrella style. We had both when I was growing up. Mom used the long lines for the sheets and the umbrella style for clothes.
Doing laundry in those days was really labor intensive. First, we had the old "wringer" washing machines. Using one of those babies in itself was a chore. Then the laundry had to be basketed and lugged to the outdoor lines and hung - all while soaking wet. And I had the audacity to complain when all I was asked to do was some ironing.
Yes. We ironed in those days too. Mom starched and ironed five white shirts a week for Dad plus just about everything else. I was supposed to do my own. There was no drip and dry or wrinkle resistant what's more wrinkle free!
When the laundry came in from the line it smelled wonderful. It was also stiff. Mom would sprinkle it, then wrap it in towels for a time so it would dampen evenly. For the large pieces she had an ironer that was called a mangle. I actually still have one. Mom couldn't sell it when she no longer had use for it but I still had large table cloths and some 100% cotton sheets for which I thought it would be useful.
Trouble is its stored in a closet in the office. The office is in our shop. The floor at its cleanest isn't something onto which you'd like your holiday linens to be cascading. Sheets skitter around too much and from the looks of my lap after reading the stack of daily papers, gray with smudged ink from newsprint, papers don't work either. The $13 the cleaner charges to launder and iron seems eminently reasonable!
Back to drying, however. I know of three neighbors who hang out clothes on a regular basis. I've never quite figured out why. Oh, I know the fresh air and sunshine scent is wonderful. But we live on the prairie where, when the sky isn't hazy from the smoke of field burning, is hazy from blowing dust. The wind is wicked nearly all the time and one day I truly expect to see a casualty .
I know these gals don't work anywhere nearly as hard as my Mom did. She never had a bad back and lived to 95. But one thing I do know - these gals more often than not have "True Grit"!