Pat Shingleton: "Holding the Line..."
One of our summertime tasks was "stretching the clothesline." The assignment began by connecting or "hitching" a small rope to the back porch. The next connection was the flagpole, then a hook attached to the garage, an adjacent maple tree, then back to the other side of the porch. This is where Mom, "hung out the 'warshin,'" as she called it. Laundering the family clothes was conducted in the basement with a washer or "warsher," as she called it. Soapy clothes needed to be rinsed and dual rinse tubs completed this task. To "ring-out" the clothes it was necessary to load and slide them onto rollers that squeezed out the excess water as they dropped into wicker clothes baskets. The baskets of clothes were then carried to the back yard and hung "on-the-line" to let Mother Nature complete the process with wind and the sun's warmth. The clean items were kept off the ground by a "clothes-prop." This was a long, sturdy, wooden stick with a notched "V" at the end to elevate the line. While we were watching the Three Stooges, an afternoon shower emptied the living room. Kids, a grandfather and neighborhood buddies scrambled to retrieve the clothes before Mom Nature caused another rinsing. My brother Denis was never alert when it came to bike riding and often strangled himself on "that, thar clothes line," before it was taken down; as he sped through the backyard. Clotheslines and clothes-props are returning, prompting a different version of "hanging-out."