Sunday, June 7, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

Since I love finding out bizarre & random stuff and passing it along to you, I have an important question:

Do you know what week this is?

International Clothesline Week.

Seems there's a growing segment of the population that is urging us to air our dirty laundry let it all hang out to dry. Some feel it's important for the environment as well as the economy because of the amount of electricity used on dryers.

Now I'm all for saving money, but since the claim is that dryers account for 6% of a family's electricity usage, I'm not in too much of a panic. (The clothesline proponents act like it's 60%!) I'd much rather bump the thermostat up a couple of degrees! Besides, this movement is apparently geared for a different and much younger generation, as one site urges consumers to put up "a clothesline, just like your grandparents did".

Well, even though I'm not older than chocolate chip cookies, I do remember the days without a dryer, or at least when the dryer was new enough to only be used on rainy days. And rather than being a pleasant nostalgic memory, I mostly remember it being a lot of work, and I also remember the laundry (especially the sheets & towels) being stiff and scratchy. Experiencing a memory at your own house where your mom assigns the chores is just a tad different from a memory when you go to visit your grandmother!

And with all the pollen that Central Texas is known for, I imagine that most of the time the laundry would have to be re-washed as soon as it was brought in, if I had a clothesline today. I'm not sure I could breathe if I had to sleep on sheets that had hung outside when the oak trees are dropping their flowers. My MIL grew up on a farm, and she talks about how dusty the laundry was when they brought it back in. I suspect West Texas with its dust storms and some other midwestern states have the same problem!

Oh, and the reasoning on that website that asks "Why spend on artificial products to make your clothes smell like mountain meadows, when you can get a better effect from your backyard?" Obviously those folks didn't grow up in southeast Houston, just a couple of miles from Stinkadena!

But if you feel the urge, go right ahead. There are even websites with instructions detailing how to use a clothesline! (I'm just wondering. . . .how much do you think those 20-somethings are spending at Starbucks with their laptops while they read about saving a few dollars and how to hang clothes on a line?) It's also apparently been a hot item of debate & contention in some neighborhoods, and some homeowner associations have even banned them or at least put heavy restrictions on them. (This has sparked the Right to Dry Campaign, and they even have a petition asking the First Family to line dry their clothes on the White House lawn one day! Sorry, but I think there are many issues with greater urgency facing our country than how we dry our clothes!)

BTW, if you are going to be shopping for a clothesline, be sure to check out The Clothesline Shop - they even have one that puts the clothespins on your clothes for you!

What's your preference? The answer is blowing in the wind!

Ironically, one of my clearest memories as a very little girl involved both the clothesline and chocolate chip cookies. My mom was in the middle of making cookies, and toward the end of the stirring process had to stop and go hang another load out on the line. I was about 4 years old at the time, and I thought I would surprise her and finish mixing them. So I climbed up in the chair by the table and stirred the cookies. Stirred them right onto the floor. And in those days, Sunbeam Mixmaster bowls were glass. I saw my life flash before my eyes. But while my mom wasn't thrilled about the loss of her bowl and the cookie dough, she realized I was trying to be a helper, and I didn't get in trouble. I still like chocolate chip cookies, but I don't like clotheslines!

First, the clothesline; next it will be this.


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sara said...

LOL!! I can so relate to this post!!! the clothesline is not a fond memory for me either. I did laugh though while we lived in IN, our neighborhood had a ban on clotheslines in it's bylaws...never understood that!!

think I'll go make some cookies!!

Kim said...

One of my favorite memories is helping my grandma put clothes on the clothesline and taking them off and folding them. I don't have room for one here, but we're praying about the possible purchase of a house...and it already has a clothesline in the backyard. yay! :)


Mel said...

I am not, let me repeat not a clothesline gal...we used them occassionally when we were younger at my grandmom's in the summer...however I prefer downey softness that can only be achieved with fabric softner (liquid) and the dryer..

Clotheslines are however wonderful for drying things like blinds and also beating rugs

skoots1mom said...

I'm with mel...they have uses for other things, but for my clothes? no, No, NO!
i used to have to fold those air-dried, scratchy things...and that's enough for me.

The 20 somethins have a lot more to worry about...some of them just don't know it yet

2Thinks said...

Thanks for all the educational notes in your post- I like to learn something new every day. As for clotheslines- I have one. Here in the suburb from 1970 where most houses still look like the Brady bunch lives there, we're allowed.

I don't like hanging jeans out, because they get stiff and feel terrible on the legs then. I don't like hanging out the personal stuff b/c I live in the burbs and others can see my stuff hanging there. I don't like hanging towels b/c they get stiff and scratch you when you try to dry off with them. I hang sheets out there on that clothesline. Then they smell good and it appears that I am doing something useful and environmentally friendly and gives me just the right amount of that Waltons family feeling, like I'm connected to my roots.

Unlike the 20 somethings, I make my own coffee and don't have a laptop- but I do want one.


Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I'm shuddering at the thought of line drying my clothes. We did that for a week after Rita and then thank you.


pragmaticcompendium said...

I'm a city girl, right down to my dryer. Our homeowner's association doesn't allow clotheslines and the pollen would make the kids MISERABLE. I love the smell of air dried sheets, but they aren't soft at all!

Lisa writes... said...

Line dried sheets are the BOMB! I don't have a clothesline here at this house but my mom does; some of my favorite memories are bringing in the clothes off the line--they smell so good!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I have been hanging my jeans on my deck fence and have been astonished at how quickly they dry as compared to drying inside, and that's here in Indiana, where it's not so hot yet. I have great memories of clotheslines when I was little. If I had one, I would use it. If/when I get a privacy fence, I may use put one up.