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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Clothesline Under the Apple Tree

By By I. S. Kipp

“Which came first,” I once asked my mother, “the clothesline or the apple tree?”

“The clothesline,” she answered. "The apple tree just grew.”

The clothesline was an older umbrella style positioned next to the basement door, and it never got folded.

The tree, as it grew over the years, formed branches that hung over the clothesline and in one corner, through it! At a time when I needed to take care of my mother’s property in addition to my own, I often put laundry out on the line, then worked on necessary projects.

The bare branches were no big issue and the apple blossoms were pretty but by autumn, the tree was so full of leaves and apples that I was weaving my wash through the tree.

I could pick the lovely apples within my reach but the highest ones were golden orbs that I could only admire. Well, left unpicked, they eventually dropped, and more than couple of times I was nearly bonked on the head as I put up or took down the laundry.

The deer would feast but even they didn’t eat all of what remained unpicked or what was turning to mush on the ground. My mother was never one to waste and oh my goodness, she would have been mighty unhappy to see the applesauce dance that I did in this space.

Within the year, Mom’s house was sold. Her umbrella clothesline is down now, propped in my carport waiting to be cleaned and restrung. It will go up in my own backyard and you know that I’ll just have to plant near it the perfect apple tree.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I loved your story. It's those little pieces of life that can be resurrected/duplicated that are so important as I age. Thank you for sharing.
Michigan Grandma

Such a well written yet succinct story about just one small remembrance. But yes, clotheslines were so important then, a great time before dryers were invented and we had fresh, outdoors smelling sheets.

Housewives hoped "speedy" Kenny with his sporty car wouldn't go to town Mondays. Hanging laundry was an art. White and light colors hung in the sun, darks in the shade of the orchard and maples. Neatness counted. Sheets hung with sheets, shirts with shirts, socks, socks, underwear, underwear, etc. One neighbor went beyond neatness all the way to modesty by hanging unmentionables inside pillowslips.

That was a nice memory. I am glad you still have your mother's clothesline and intend to use it.I am sure she will be looking down and smiling.

I loved your story. I think memories warm the heart, I know this one did for me. Thanks.

IT is like your mother is still here is still remember her like yesterday especially her beet soup. Love the story

This is so perfectly you and I loved every word.

So glad to get my computer fixed so I could read your delightfully charming story. I really miss hanging clothes outside.

Thank you, friends, for your kind comments. I love the additional clothesline stories! Carol, you were always a special neighbor to my mom and to me!

I love this story so genuine and written with love. The symbolic memory of Mother's clothesline. Yes I suppose washing on the line is part of our life story. I was shocked some years ago when a new neighbour who moved in to the house at the back of mine came and rang my doorbell the following morning not to say hello but to tell me, not ask me, to remove my unsightly 'umbrella style clothes line' as it was an obscenity for her to have to look out of her kitchen window and see my washing hanging out to dry. I am sad to say she was Canadian, I realised she had possibly never had the joy of hanging out her linen and whatever to dry in the sun and fresh air.
I felt like hanging her out to dry,we never became friends which was a shame as we could have learnt so much from each other.

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