Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SHEETS DRIED ON THE LINE--A PERSONAL HISTORY STORY


When I was a kid I was often Mom’s partner in the weekly sheet changing. As the clean sheets were shook out into the bed they released the dried-out-of-doors smell. We both breathed deep. I knew when I climbed into bed that night it would smell the same.

When the bed was completely made I lay on the bed. Mother stood there shaking her head with a smile on her face. As we went from room to room I christened each bed with a trial run. After I got up I had to re-fluff the pillow and make everything look nice again but it was worth it.

Mom finally got a clothes dryer. She dried everything in it for a month or two and then, gradually used it less and less. Soon breakfast cereal was stored on top. She used it to fluff almost dry towels or if the weather was bad, but really, it became the cereal storage shelf.

When Mom died, all of the out-of-town family stayed at Mom and Dad’s. Every bed was used, every couch made up with fresh sheets and blankets. The day after the funeral, as we were loading sheets into the washer, I told my niece, Lezlie that even after Mom got a dryer she hung all the sheets on the clothes line.

“You're kidding," Lezlie said. "Why?”

“She loved the smell of sheets dried out of doors. And she was thrifty,” I said.

“Hum,” Lezlie said, a little frown forming between her eyebrows. Her mom always used the dryer and so did I. Lezlie had never "pinned" clothes on a line.

I went upstairs for another load of sheets and towels and to tidy the bathroom. It took me awhile to get back downstairs as I kept finding things that needed to go in suitcases.

When I got to the back porch the washer was empty and Lezlie was gone. The dryer was silent. I went out the back door and peered through the breezeway.

I saw several pink sheets, hanging next to white pillowcases embroidered with blue flowers. The wind was playing tag around them as I saw a yellow sheet being hung with weathered clothespins.

“What are you doing,” I called to Lezlie.

She peered around the sheets with a grin on her face. “This is what Grandma would do,” she said. “She liked sheets dried on the line.” She paused for a couple of seconds. "And I like what Grandma liked."

I grinned back at her. "Me too."

I always will.

18 comments:

Bonnie said...

What a lovely story. You wrote is so well that you make me want to start hanging my sheets outdoors again, like my mother and grandmother did when I was a child.

There's one problem, though, I would need someone to build me some clotheslines in my backyard.

Zing said...

Love the photo, nice blue sky!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

lol i sometimes miss the clothes line... but have not bothered to ask mike to build me one....

Mental P Mama said...

There is nothing better. We should all do this more often;)

Marsha said...

What an awesome story.

Mom2BJM(Amy) said...

Sadly our out of doors clothes doesn't smell so good - but I still dry some stuff outside, because it takes too long in the dryer... guess I'm being a little thrifty.

Muum said...

thanks for sharing a great memory. I love sheets dried on the line, too.

hillary said...

I should not be crying this early in the morning. You got me at "breezeway".

I have so many good memories of Grandma's house. I just don't remember them until I read yours.

Jessica said...

I love that story. When I moved into my house, there was a clothesline. I took it down. Hillyerie informed me of the wonders of outside-smelling-sheets. I now know where it came from. I have regretted taking it down ever since.

Michael Rawluk said...

You bring back memories.

Glennis said...

I always dry my linen outside in the sunshine and breeze if it is at all possible. Nice story.

whirligigdaisy said...

I've been meaning to blog about this very thing!!! It was my goal to do it today and look, you beat me to it. (I probably won't get it done today, anyway). Way to keep the blogging up. I miss you.

Lee W - The Way I See It said...

The best! Lovely story. Lovely memories. Lovely sheets.

Shan said...

I was always sad about having outside dried sheets as a kid because the dryer ones were softer. I know better now.

Meg McGraw said...

Yes, my Mom and Granny did the same. What a wonderful time that was. Thanks so much for sharing this and bringing warm memories back.

Cheryl said...

Another great story...I had to shed a little tear as I read and remembered learning the art of hanging clothes on the line by my grandmothers and mother. I did the same from time to time when I was first married. It was great until the deep fall weather came and not so dry and frozen clothes would finish drying all around the house inside.....anyway thanks for the memories..love ya, Cheryl

Lorraine said...

What a beautiful memory to keep, a real essence to remember, I like this very much!

Astromom said...

Maybe this story got you on the eulogy thing. I loved this little personal history story. I just went to a funeral today, and how theraputic for your niece to hang up those sheets, to do something Grandma would do. What a wonderful way to remember her.