Appalachian Thursday – Clotheslines

laundryWhen I was a kid, being assigned to hang wet laundry on the clothes line was NOT my favorite task. I didn’t much appreciate bringing it in when dry, either. Especially since that meant I’d be folding all that stuff.

But now, I long for a clothes line. Towels dried in the sun are more absorbent. Sheets smell better. And t-shirts are crisper. Blue jeans . . . well . . . honestly they aren’t much good dried on the line getting all stiff and rough. But still, I miss those fresh sheets!

While at the farm recently I caught my brother using the same clothes line I’d hung many a wet item of laundry upon. It’s funny, the things we covet.

I find clothes lines so iconic, I even wrote a poem about one. Enjoy. And as summer rolls over us, see if you can’t find a way to dry your sheets in the sun.


There’s a line stretched between posts
like telephone poles or almost crosses.
Sheets, an under-shirt, a cotton dress
flutter in the breeze, flags announcing
a man, a woman, a bed.

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

11 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday – Clotheslines

  1. Funny, it was one of my favorite tasks, as a child and as a grown woman. In childhood we shared a “dryer lot” with multiple other families in surrounding apartments. On a sunny morning it was a contest to grab the lines early before space ran out. We used a wringer washer and very few people had dryers. As a young mother, I loved drying cloth diapers on the line because it ridded them of offensive odor and bleached them better than any clorox could. I have always hung my laundry as if a judge was watching to see that it was done right… things in the right order and the right number of clothes pins holding everything snug. The only part I hated was bringing in the frozen sheets in the winter!! BTW: love the picture.

      1. always by the toe, paired up next to each other and facing the same direction! now undie things were a different matter. and BTW; if it was really a must do to wash on a rainy day, the stuff got hung on a line strung around Johnny’s bedroom (because he had bunkbeds, and he HATED that.

  2. I grew up with a clothesline and it’s true–there’s nothing like sun-kissed sheets. It’s too dusty where I live now, but I still long for the essence of fresh air dry.

  3. I didn’t do a lot of hanging laundry, but adored walking between the cool wet sheets as they dried in the hot sun. I probably ran my dirty hands along them…aww memories.

  4. We grew up with hanging laundry too. Now, I’m fortunate to do the same, though for years it was with portable racks that always wanted to collapse and pinch a handy finger. My mom had an umbrella clothes line in the yard, and had clothes line strung up on the covered porch, so she could hang clothes outside no matter the weather. (In winter, she also used portable racks, usually near a heat register.) Like mother, like daughter…almost. 😀

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