When you were growing up, did you have to help your mom do laundry? Well, I did; but somehow, my sister always managed to get out of that little chore. In her defense though, she always had to help our dad mow the lawn and it was a huge lawn.
Mom didn’t have a dryer so all the clothes, from towels and sheets to underwear and socks, had to be hung outside on the clothes line to dry. The clothes line was stretched from the persimmon tree to a big maple tree and then to another big tree. There were sticks that had a bent nail in it so we could raise the clothes off the ground once we got them on the line. Mom wouldn’t let either one of us use the washer; I guess she was afraid we would overload it with soap and the basement would be a soapsuds rink.
During the summer, she would wash the clothes but I had to hang them out. I really didn’t mind hanging sheets and towels; they were the easiest to hang. The absolute worst things I had to hang out were my dad’s work pants. He worked at TVA then and wore those khaki pants and matching shirt. Mom had these pant stretchers that had to be placed inside the pant legs so they would not need ironing. Now, if you have never used those things, I’m here to tell you they will pinch the crap out of your fingers if you don’t get them fastened right. And believe me, I had my fingers pinched a gazillion times and it really hurt. Not only did I have to place them in the pants to hang them on the clothes line, but I had to take them back out when the pants were dry. It didn’t matter – I got pinched every single time I used them.
Even when we were in school, my job was to bring in the clothes as soon as I got off the bus. When it was warm, I didn’t mind too much (like it would have done any good if I did), but in the winter when it was so cold, I still had to go out there and take those stinking clothes off the line. My hands would get so cold that they hurt. And, sometimes, Dad’s pants were frozen so we had to hang them in the basement to finish drying.
One of the fun things to do when clothes are hanging on the line is to get a good start and run through them, especially the sheets. The not-so-fun part would have been if we had gotten caught. I think Cheryl, Greg and I were pretty lucky there because I don’t remember us getting caught at all. We really didn’t do it a lot, but every once in a while, the urge would hit us and off we would go flying through the sheets pretending we were flying an airplane.
I remember how scratchy the towels were after hanging outside; you just about rubbed your skin off drying with one them. But, I tell ya, there is nothing any better than crawling into your bed with fresh clean sheets that have been hung outside.
See ya next Wednesday.