Monday, March 7, 2011

What's Old is New Again

Thought for the day: No man has ever been shot while doing the laundry.

I just came in from hanging a tablecloth on the clothesline. Perfect day for it, too. Wall to wall sunshine, and a nice breeze blowing, the kind of day that does a lickety-split job of drying, and leaves everything smelling like the great outdoors. As I hung it, I thought about all of the clothes I've clipped onto clotheslines over the years.

We lived in a row home when I was a kid, and had a fold-up umbrella type clothesline. In those days, every back yard in the whole neighborhood held a clothesline of some sort, and hanging clothes outside wasn't just a necessity; it was a time for bona fide over-the-fencetop socializing. It was a time for gossiping, political opining, recipe swapping, and talking about the latest guest on the Ed Sullivan show. I was a latchkey kid, so most of the time, I was the one out there hanging clothes behind our house, and for some unfathomable reason, the neighbor ladies accepted me as their pint-sized equal. Now, not all the memories of those times are rosy. Trying to fold frozen clothes with equally frozen fingers wasn't a whole lot of fun. Wasn't too great when one of our dogs shredded all of the clothes, or when a flock of mulberry-eating birds selected our humble sheets as a primary bombing target, either. But all-in-all, I remember those days fondly.

The first house my husband and I bought boasted a killer clothesline. Big sturdy metal tees with half a dozen long lines stretched between them. (As Tim Allen would say, "R-R-R-R!") The thing was, it was a pretty big yard, so there was never any socializing over the fence while hanging clothes. Then, most everybody got clothes dryers, so it became a rarety to even see anybody outside with a wet basket of laundry anymore.

When we moved here to the sunny South, there were no clothesline to be seen in our neighborhood. Zip, zilch, nada. I reckon it was considered "common" or "old-fashioned" to hang clothes on the line in 1971. Anybody who was anybody had the latest, greatest clothes dryer by then. Even me. But I also had a clothesline in the back yard. Something big enough to hang sheets, because, really, is there anything that smells as wonderful as bedclothes filled with the smell of sunshine? Alas, in time, I too, grew weary of hanging clothes. It's too bloody hot here in the summertime. And well, yeah, a dryer really is convenient.

But I still have ONE line strung out back, and always will. And when I was out there hanging that tablecloth this morning, lo and behold, the man who lives behind us was hanging something on a line in his yard, too! He's a new neighbor, and it's a brand new line. And get this: we exchanged greetings. It wasn't exactly heavy-duty socializing like days of yore, but it sure felt good. And I've noticed that some of the young familes moving into our neighborhood are putting up clotheslines, too. Going green, they say. But I say, what's old is new again.

Like lots of other things. My daughter used to tease me unmercifully because of the old out-of-fashion clothes I liked to wear. Like clam diggers. She teased me so much, I finally got rid of them. And wouldn't ya know, they're all the rage now. They call 'em capri pants these days, but as far as I'm concerned, they're just good old clam diggers with a fancy name and attitude.

Hmmmm, maybe I should teach my granddaughters how to play jacks. We could be starting a new trend ...

How about you? Are some of the "old things" from your past becoming new again? (Face lifts don't count!)

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. Think I'll go pull out my old bag of balls and jacks. My skills could use a little brushing up.


  1. See, this is why my basement it so overstuffed -- I'm afraid to throw anything away. ;)

  2. Boy this is so true, isn't it? I swear, I could have saved TONS if I kept fashions from when I was a teen and passed them on.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  3. Smart lady! It's a known fact that whenever you get rid of something, no matter how many years it's been gathering dust in the darkest corner of your basement, you'll need it the very next week.

  4. Hi, Angela. Thanks so much for stopping by. By the way, your blog is terrific, and performs a much-needed service for other writers. (Yay, you!)

    Yeah, if we only knew then what we know now, huh? I don't even want to think about all the stuff I let slip through my fingers. (But hey! if the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff is ever worth anything, I'm ready! I have a bubble bomber, still in the box ... and shhhhh, none of my grandchildren know anything about it!)

    Take care.