Monday, July 15, 2013

Clothes on the Line

If you were born on the Gaspe Coast, you probably know what it is to see clothes blowing  on an outdoor clothes line.   I can remember my mother filling the clothes basket with  neatly divided piles of laundry. She would separate the clothes by colour and size and hang them accordingly on the line. It was a lot of work but I know she took pleasure in watching them blow in the wind. It meant clean beds and clean children sent off to school. Mom took  pride in making sure that we looked presentable at all times. We weren't rich but Daddy said that there was no excuse for us to be dirty.
I remember in the winter, poor Mom would hang the clothes out in the cold winter temperatures. I never could understand why because when she would bring them in, they were completely frozen.  As kids we would laugh because the frozen pants could stand up by themselves. She would then  have to hang them again on clothes racks to dry  in an upstairs bedroom that was near the chimney. 
Today when I hang my own clothes on the line, I make sure that I divide them  carefully by size and colour as well. I remember Mom telling me  that people judged you on  how you hung your clothes outdoors. It they were placed haphazardly, then you were said to be a messy housewife. It makes me laugh now, but  I still make sure that my pants are hung by the waist and not the legs.  Shirts must be hung by the bottom and not the shoulders.  Mom would be proud of me for I have never forgotten this and so many other lessons that she taught me.
Today hanging clothes on the line has also became a symbol of freedom. It gives me a sense of stepping away from the busyness of life where there isn't time to do anything except the basic rush  necessities.  I stand back and watch them blow in the wind and  feel a sense of connection to my upbringing.
Yes today my life on the Gaspe is about doing things that matter.
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