Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Memories about Grandmothers, and Mom's

by Dawn Thompson
(Heartwarmers story)
      It's July, mid-summer and it's HOT.
      I walk into my garage to do laundry and am bowled over by how suffocating the air is in there!  I feel guilty running the dryer in such heat.  I think of the  commercials on TV asking me to "give your appliances the afternoon off".
      Growing up, we never had a dryer in the house.  My great grandmother lived with us, and she wouldn't have one.  She thought dryers were for lazy people and a waste of money, and anyway, she liked how the laundry smelled so fresh hanging out on the line. Besides, it really wasn't necessary to have a dryer in  Southern California -- there were always enough sunny days even in the winter to get the laundry done.
      Now with 3 boys in my house I am washing at least one load of beach towels, swimsuits and pool towels everyday.  So, I decided to put up a clothesline in my backyard for the first time ever.
      I went down to the local Kmart and looked for clothesline and clothespins.  I wasn't too sure they still made them, but I thought if they did they would surely have them at Kmart.  I was pleased to find they did.
      I don't have the poles for the line in my yard like I did in my childhood home,  so I set my clothesline up in the corner of the yard using the 45 degree angle of the fence to hang my line.  When I was finished, I stepped back to admire my work and I was pleased with myself for thinking of it, conserving energy, and doing my part.
      What I wasn't prepared for were the feelings and the memories that came flooding back to me as I hung up that first load of laundry.
      Being out in the yard, smelling freshly washed towels, and with the sun on my back, I was suddenly in my yard I grew up in -- helping my grandmother hang out the clothes.
     She was always barefoot, dressed in a Hawaiian print mumu with an apron tied around her waist, safety pins on her dress front and a rubberband or two around her wrist (just in case someone needed one.)  She would have her wicker basket full of clothes at her feet and a few wet items thrown over her shoulder as she hung clothes.  Usually
she would be singing a song or talking to the cats in the yard.  Or sometimes she'd tell me a story about her childhood or her mother.

If she had a bad day or something was bothering her, I remember she would say, "I sure wish I could sit on my mama's lap for a minute."
      All of that came rushing back to me crystal clear, like it
happened yesterday.  I could see her, feel her standing there with me.
      It has been at least 25 years since I have been in that yard with my grandma.  I remember my grandmother often, think of her and miss her, but that first day in my backyard hanging clothes I felt like I had visited with her.
      I've never had that feeling going to her graveside or even looking at pictures.  Hanging clothes used to feel like a chore.  But now, I look forward to it.
      I enjoy going out in the yard to hang my laundry and use the time to just take a moment out of my busy day and think about things, or nothing at all -- and, have a little visit with my grandma.

                -- Dawn Thompson    <nativedawn @>


barbpinion said...

Oh I loved this entry; especially reading about clothes lines. Some of my most favorite memories are about Mom and the  great times we had while hanging out clothes. I use a dryer now, but miss being able to hang clothes outside. Boring as it might sound, I enjoyed folding them too. Writing this entry must have brought back some wonderful - very precious memories.

sugarsweet056 said...

Nice entry. Stopping by to say hi.
Hugs, Sugar

tpiez4me said...

Very nice....I remember that too.  I find myself wishing for a clothesline again, just to hang out the items that I refuse to put in the dryer.  Even the sun is warm enough here in the winter too!  My Nanny still hangs out clothes....when I used to hang mine out, she'd call to remind me to bring them in!! LOL!!!

yankeygr said...

Wonderful story, Merry! Thanks for taking me down that wonderful road.   Love ya, Rhonda