“This Is the Way We Wash the Clothes”

laundry

Doing the laundry this morning, I thought back about all the different places I had done the wash and all the different machines and lack thereof that I had used. I will start this wash day series with a poem about my neighborhood. When we first moved in, my next door neighbor actually said the quote that starts this poem.

Reading the Lines

“I can’t believe you pay to dry them. The sun is free.”

Pampers won out so

Diapers no longer announce new births.

But the lines still tell stories.

Flannel pajamas reveal a marriage chill.

Khakis replace work overalls.

Lacy bras give way to sturdier support.

Men’s clothes suddenly disappear.

Make of it what you will–

Here we still value thrift over privacy.

22 thoughts on ““This Is the Way We Wash the Clothes”

  1. We now have a line out on our back porch/deck to get all that free sun here in hippieland, and I think people can indeed tell a lot by what goes out there and what doesn’t–

      1. We used to do it in New Jersey, where I grew up. It wasn’t a wealthy area, more working-class, and generally acxcepted as practical in the 1960 and onward. There are places now in the US anyhow where it is banned as unsightly, mostly condominium communities. I think opinion is still divided here anyhow if it is practical and rural-charming or low-class, but since no one can really see it anyhow except folks living over the hill a bit, or at least through trees, we are happy to do it.

        1. I think its like chickens. Now they are ok in upscale neighborhoods, but not in older working class neighborhoods where they were considered low class.

        2. I think it’s a bad idea for anyone other than in rural places to have chickens, usually, since they seem not to get the care needed and they make such a poopmess that it can stink up things,a nd there can be noise. People sometimes don’t think it through, and then the poor creatures suffer unnecessarily. People are dopes sometimes, I think!

        3. Yeah. it’s a whole life cycle. I’m vegetarian so am not personally prepared to just kill some birds from the backyard when they stop being convenient, but a lot of folks don’t think it through.

  2. Boy does this bring back memories! Your poem says it all, so well, so briefly and so poignantly.

    When I was growing up, and later, when I was lucky enough to have a yard with a clothes line, there were always four lines strung parallel between the poles. Mom taught me to fill the two outer lines first, with bed and kitchen linens, jeans and shirts. Then, with the damp clothes slapping our back and face, we’d hang our “unmentionables,” rags bleach couldn’t clean but still too useful to discard, and anything else we might not want the neighbors to chat about on the party line. : )

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