Friday, March 13, 2009

Blowing in the Wind...

What is it about washing billowing in the breeze on a washing line ?

Is it not just so gloriously suburban and romantic, to see white pillowcases and children's clothes, strung out in rows, telling us that this is a house where it's occupants are loved and cared for ?
Lacy underwear, towels and sheets, soccer shorts, table linens; it's so uninhibited, and they tell volumes about the occupants of the house they are adorning.....

This theme is repeated in other cultures. But why ?

Were we all pushed out into the garden in our prams as babies to watch the gaily-coloured garlands of washing dancing in the breeze?

Is it that there is something reassuring about linen being washed and cared for?

Is it the thought of snuggling down in a bed, or pulling on a shirt which exudes the fragrance of fresh air?

Is it the feeling of abandon and unadulterated joy we share with the clothes as they regally wave and happily flap about?

It is probably a mixture of all of these, the impressions which invoke the childhood we had (or would have liked to have had) coupled with the fact that mothers or, in past centuries, maids and washerwomen, spent many hours doing the washing, while at the same time entertaining the small children of the household.

Rhymes from our childhood call images of it to mind.

The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose.
She made such a commotion that little Jenny Wren
Came down into the garden and pegged it on again.

What's the time? - Half past nine
Hang your knickers on the line.
When they're dry, bring them in
And iron them with the rolling pin

Photo credits: Walter Crane, Wikipedia


donna baker said...

There is nothing better than smelling the sweet outdoor smell of linens dried out on the line. I just heard today a conversation that the washer and dryer is what gave women equality (the time to pursue it).

Anonymous said...

Now there's some rhymes I haven't heard in a while!

You are right about washing being out on a line. I grew up with that and now that I am single I miss having a rotary dryer I could put in the garden. You don't see them over here.

Carol Murdock said...

I love the rhyme Josephine! I love my clothes line! Nothing smells better than sheets dried on the line!
You have an Award waiting at TWP !

Frank Baker said...

A very clever posting. I like it very much, however. out door clothes lines are not permitted in our retirement community. Guess that's life.

Winifred said...

Oh yes I totally agree. I love it when the weather's fine and I can out the washing out. Nothing like the smell of it either it's glorious, better than any artificial fabric softeners.

Another thing is you're saving the planet and also saving on the electricity. Our last bill was horrendous & I blamed the tumble drier! Glad we don't need air conditioners here in summer. The winter heating bills are bad enough.

Patsy said...

Washing on a line has lots of memorys for me. Remember the cute clothespin bags?

Patsy said...

I forgot to tell you I got the book Dewey by Vicki Myron today.
Thanks for the book review.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Jo, We are home from Arkansas --after a great trip, despite the weather. We had a terrible Ice Storm while there (check out my blog today). BUT--because of all of the rains, the waterfalls were flowing nicely. SO--we loved that..

My mother used to hang all of our clothes out on the line. I LOVE to smell sheets and pillow cases after they have been dried outside... We can't do it up here (against the 'rules' of our community)--but my friend in Atlanta still hangs clothes out on the line to dry...

Neat post. Hope you had a good week.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

My farmer friends used to put their children out in prams in all weather including snow. The old cliche 'it doesn't seem to have done them any harm ' springs to mind.

George said...

It's too bad that some places (like the Glade) forbid hanging out clothes on a line. But thanks for bringing back memories.