Two Clotheslines

One clothesline in the kitchen hung for warm rainy weather and the cold blistery wintertime.  Then there was a second line outside that started at the kitchen window and went to the “pole.” Mama liked the outside one better, because the clothes were brightened by the sunlight and being outdoors added a fresh smell to them.

The outside one had large pulleys on either end and the clothesline was tied on the bottom and at the far end of the loop.  Mama told us to always have the knot on the far end so that as we put the clothespins on the clothes, sheets and towels the knot would move toward the kitchen. 

Occasionally, one of us boys was not paying attention and the knot ended up in the middle. 

As we loaded the clothes on the line, the knot would reach the kitchen window too soon.  We could not load any more clothes and would have to take them outside and stand on a ladder to finish the job.

There were separate loads for towels and sheets and another for our underwear.  I still see Mama’s large pink bloomers fluttering in the wind.   

Papa and we boys wore only boxer shorts.  Once, Papa brought home tight, short, white briefs, but they cut into our skin when we bent over.

Mama washed all of our clothes and most all of them were hung on the clotheslines.  The only clothes that never were hung outside were her brassieres, girdles, and corset. 

We never had the new clothespins with the metal springs.  Our clothespins were the old fashioned wooden ones that had a round head and the tapered slot that held the clothing onto the clothesline.  We used two clothespins on every item except our socks which used only one. 

Finally Mama got her electric washing machine.  It had two rollers that rotated and squeezed out the excess water.  Mama was very happy with the washer. 

Later, Papa bought Mama an electric dryer and she used the dryer only when there was rainy or very cold weather.  From then on there was no drying inside during nice weather.

When the roomers and boarders came during the summer, they always used both the electric washer and dryer.  The city folks wanted their luxury and would not hang their clothes on Mama’s clothesline.