Monthly Archives: July 2014

Slow Living

laundry
We don’t own a clothes dryer, haven’t since our New Bedford move. We got used to line drying our clothes in the loft bathroom when we lived there, and decided to skip the dryer when we moved in here. I love hanging laundry on the line. During wet and colder weather I dry the clothes on the lines in the basement, but as soon as it hits the 40’s or 50’s, and it’s a sunny day (breezy’s good, too), I hang the clothes outside to dry. It’s an excuse to be outside, it’s meditative, there’s method to it for me (I hang lingerie out of sight), and it connects me to a slower pace of life I miss more and more — these hyped up-plugged in-tuned in- but- oh so out-days. Plus, our clothes will last longer drying in a breeze gentler (usually) than a dryer’ shot air could ever be.
Some of the clothes pins — actually all of them — I’ve had for decades, from when I used cloth diapers on my kids and didn’t have a dryer then either. And some of them are clothes pegs from Mrs. Ross, our 80-something neighbor of the time, who also used to enjoy hanging her clothes out. It was one of those twirly clothes lines, and she would go out with her basket, and her cane, and being short, use her cane to move the lines around and to where she could reach them. I never helped her, thinking it was good exercise for her, to keep her moving and strong. It didn’t occur to me that maybe I could have asked if she wanted help at least, rather than assuming she didn’t. Tough love, huh?
No, more like selfish love because I used to also get irritated if she got her clothes on the line before I did. But love Mrs. Ross I did. We did. My pre-K son and I would visit her in her two room apartment with her soaps on the television on an occasional afternoon. I’d have tea, and she’d give Anthony his favorite Little Debbie Nutty Bars. She’d tell stories of how she cried when she was 10 and couldn’t go to school anymore because she was the oldest and had to help support the family by going to work in the mills (she was French-Canadian). She had a daughter who had a stroke, whose husband would drop her off every Wednesday to visit her mother. I thought he was a jerk as rumor had it that he had a girlfriend, too.
I snagged some of Mrs. Ross’s clothes pegs that fell behind when she hung her laundry. When I hang my laundry, and I use her pegs I remember her, I remember her story, intertwined with my story, my son’s, LaFountain Street, and Little Debbie’s.