Friday, September 22, 2000

She Bought a Clothes Line

After she’d been here for a couple of days, Peggy said she wanted to rinse out a few things and asked "Where’s your clothesline?" She was amazed when I told her I didn’t have one.

"No clothesline?" she asked

"No clothesline," I responded.

I explained that I do everything in the dryer. She talked about how she preferred to hang clothes on a line, but eventually agreed to toss some things in the dryer.

When we went to the Bay Area, she said maybe she could do a wash at O’s and hang things on her clothesline.

"She doesn’t have a clothesline either," I told her, explaining that O sends her stuff to the laundry to be done.

"No clothesline?" she asked?

"No clothesline," I responded.

My mother had a clothesline. Our back yard was a concrete slab with a pathetic wannabe garden in a concrete planter box. But from wall to wall were strung several clothes lines and I remember as a kid putting up and taking down clothes from the line. Then the things you just dried outdoors had to be sprinkled to soften them a bit and then you ironed them. (I remember ironing...vaguely... Peggy irons too {shudder})

When Walt and I first married, we lived in an apartment and I did my wash across the street in the Laundromat. I remember that my first big outing after Jeri was born was across the street to do a load or two of laundry. I never dreamed doing laundry could feel so good—to get out of the house for an hour or so!

Then we moved to our first house, which we rented, in Albany, next door to Berkeley. It had a regulation clothes line. We now had two kids and these were the days before Pampers. Every day I was washing baby clothes and hanging them on the line. It was a power struggle between me and the then-family-dog, Ho Chi Mutt. Mutt would sit there with this huge grin on his face watching me hang up all the laundry. Before I had even gone back in the house, he would have that laundry on the ground and be dragging it through the dirt. I hated that dog.

We didn’t get a dryer until we moved to our first purchased house, in Oakland. There was no turning back. We didn’t put up a clothesline in Oakland and have never had one here in Davis. If something needs to be hung up to dry, I hang it from the shower door in the bathroom or if it’s not dripping wet, from the bar that Jeri and Paul installed in the family room from which to hang theatre lights.

When we visited Walt’s cousin in Ireland, she had a clothesline. Drying clothes in Ireland is a real art, because you have to know how soon to put them out, gauging how long it is before the next rain comes. If the clothes don’t get all the way dry, then you hang them over chairs, near the heaters, to continue the drying process.

There are those who prefer the smell of line-dried clothes. I am not one of them. Line dried sheets are kind of nice--crisp and fresh smelling--but the trade off of nice fluffy, fresh-from-the dryer sheets is a good one and I’m willing to make that sacrifice in the name of convenience.

However, Peggy is happy as a clam now. She went to the store about bought a clothes line. And clothespins. And she's hung the line in the back yard. Her clothes are now washed and hanging out on the line to dry. Anything to make my guests feel at home!


This morning we went in to Sacramento in search of squirrels. It’s always surprising to me when people get excited about squirrels since they are so prevalent here. But then, I suppose the Aussies feel the same way when we yanks get ga-ga about kangaroos, which are a larger version of our squirrels for them, I guess.

We went to the grounds of the Capitol, which has a lovely rose garden and trees from every country in the world, as well as the exhibits inside, and the newly refurbished capitol building itself. What did we do. We sat for an hour drinking coffee and photographing squirrels.

We were within spitting distance of the rose garden, but we were both having such fun watching the squirrels that before we realized it, the time was about to expire on the parking meter (we made it back with literally 10 seconds to spare) and we had to leave.

We will return another day. We would have re–plunked the meter and stayed longer, but we had a lunch date with a mutual friend back in Davis, so we had to be getting back. En route we drove through Old Sacramento and ear-marked it for a return trip as well.

I’ve decided that six weeks isn’t nearly long enough. I may just have to take away her return trip plane ticket.

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