It’s National Hanging out day. The title got me. I expected to have to explain spending time doing nothing with a friend. Instead, I get to remember how my mother taught me how to hang out the laundry.

We had two clothes lines in our back yard when I was growing up. One ran from the barn to the back of the house and the other from the back of the house to the corner of the side porch. Underwear was always hung on the latter one so it couldn’t be seen from the street or the parking lot next door. Underwear was still unmentionables in the ’50’s and ’60’s. The other line was for sheets, towels, and regular clothing. That line also got more sunshine. Sheets hung  in the sun and breeze felt and smelled good when you put them back on the bed, but they were stiff.

I can say if I hung laundry like the picture shows I would have been reprimanded. We had a clothespin bag you could hang over the line by its hook and push it along as you took out a pin. If hanging wash cloths, you would secure the corner of two wash cloths under one pin, pull the cloth our straight, then add another. If all the wash hung in one layer it would dry faster. I liked the snap clothespins better than the push on type. You youngsters might have to google images of clothespins to see the difference.

My sisters still have clothes lines. They live on “back” roads outside of their respective towns. I live in the city suburbs and have heard the town frowns on clothes hanging out.  I have some neighbors that do it, all over the age of 75. I have succumbed to the easy way of laundry, the clean wet clothes and sheets go right into the dryer that sits next to the washer. They don’t smell fresh when they are dry, just hot. And no, I don’t use scented dryer sheets like you might suggest because I’m not into chemical fake smells. Some parts of me are pretty fussy.

When my son was an infant I used cloth diapers (Jeez, I’m old!) and we didn’t have a dryer. I would hang those diapers out in the wind, freezing temperatures and standing in the snow. He was born in February. When I would take them inside they would be frozen stiff, but when they thawed out, naturally, I would shake them, smell the freshness, and fold them with love. It was a good time in my life. Pampers or Huggies were available in the early ’70’s, but were only used on vacation or for the babysitter. How times have changed.

When I go for a drive and see laundry hanging out, I admire the person that took the time to do it and remember my younger years.