An item in a recent edition of The New York Times caught the eye and caused a momentary pause. In some areas of our country, hanging clothes on clotheslines in the yards has been outlawed. Some communities simply wrote those lines out of existence and would not permit their use. Some realtors even reported the loss of home sales when the prospective buyers looked into the neighboring yards and saw clothes hanging on wires.
Because environmentalists have become excited about our using too much electricity, a few states have now enacted laws repealing the old laws forbidding the use of clotheslines. Some brave souls have erected clotheslines despite various rules and laws in to lower their utilities bills. As usual, suits have followed, but some of the areas are having to “lower” their standards and to allow those natural clothes dryers to be installed.
I guess I wasn’t aware that the use of a clothesline let the whole world know that I couldn’t afford an electric or gas dryer. It never occurred to me to question the use of a clothesline or to equate its use with a person’s economic status. In fact, some of us have discussed our using said lines at times because we still prefer to place those fresh-smelling sheets on our beds. Of course, one of us is a bit too lazy to wander into the backyard to hang the laundry, but I am most fortunate to have sturdy lines and to be pleased to use them when the mood arises.
Those of us in the over-the-hill gang remember well the many years we lived before the coming of the indoor dryers. We had all sorts of lines outside and hung the clothes no matter what the weather might be. We have watched items being blown from the lines during our windy days. We have also watched each item freeze almost as soon as clothes pins were attached. In my childhood, I had a hard time understanding how those clothes would freeze dry, but that they did, and I quit questioning some facts.
Some of us even remember when we did not have real clotheslines and used the bushes as our natural dryers. We also learned from that particular activity that the sun was just about the best bleach ever invented. A few of us still use that method in the event we have let some of our white items become yellow. You may even see some such items spread on the grass for a few hours. I donl mind using the clothes lines again, but I’d rather let the rub board remain in retirement!
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted by caling 575-461-1952.