A clothesline is similar to a tree that changes with the seasons. When I was young we had a clothesline that looked like a maple tree. It had a center pole like a trunk, and metal bars like major branches running horizontal to the pole. Cord was strung between the bars like ancillary branches to hang the freshly washed clothes.
There was an old canvas bag that hung from the pole that resembled a tree hollow with a place for an owl to nest; it was filled with wooden clothespins. The older clothespins were made from a single piece of wood divided part way up to hold the wash to the cord. Newer pins were two pieces of wood with a metal spring to pinch the clothes to the cord.
We had a dryer, but in the summer Mom would wash the white sheets and hang them outside to dry because, she said, they smelled better. I ran between the rows pretending they were drooping weeping willow branches. I remember sniffing, she was right. The memory of clean white sheets freshly dried in the summer air calls to the senses – the sound of the sheets whipping in the breeze, the whiteness and the brightness, the faint whiff of bleach and lavender.
When the sheets were dry she would release the pins from their duty – snip, snip, snip – collecting pins in one hand while folding bedding in neat rectangular piles. With the harvest of sheets collected in laundry baskets, the pins returned to their bag, we went inside the house leaving the clothesline bare once again.
I joined Writers Bloc, a group of writers from Monmouth County, NJ, whose styles are as diverse as their backgrounds and interests. Here are some of my writings from our meetings.