“I can’t live with these lies anymore.”
The words made him look up from the book he was reading. His heart lurched seeing the anguish on her face, tears pooling in her eyes. Did he dare ask, or let her say her piece and see where the conversation went? He thought better of reaching out for her when she walked past to sit in her favourite chair. Legs curled underneath her, shoulders shaking with sobs.
“Should we talk about this?” He ventured, not knowing what else to say.
She nodded. “There has to be a way to resolve this.”
Sniffing, she searched for the hankie she always kept in her pocket. Looking at him, she started to laugh.
“You think this is about us?”
“I’m not sure. I didn’t think we had any lies between us.”
“We don’t!” She hiccuped.
Relief settled across his face and he reached across the end table to take her hand in his. She clung to his fingers, letting the words fly out of her mouth unchecked. They sounded silly when she spoke then.
“Every product in our laundry room is a lie! I am so tired of white lies. No pun intended.”
They were both laughing. “Nothing’s white. Everything’s dingy. I want our linen and clothes to look and smell like my Gran’s used to.”
He stood, pulling her up into his arms.
“I think we can do that,” he said quietly.
“How? I’ve tried all of the products.”
Remembering the stories his own Gran and Mother swore were true, a plan started to formulate in his mind. It would take some doing, but where there is a will, there is a way. He couldn’t wait to get started on the upscale, outdoor laundry space showcasing none other than a clothesline.
It was the age of polyester fabric. A cloth that did not bode well when dried outside after the spin cycle. Still, even with the inception of the dryer, the clothesline maintained its status quo as a staple in our home. It continued to be used to dry the towels, sheets, underwear, jeans, work shirts, and any other items that could get away without needing an iron to finish its laundering cycle.
Winter laundry days often lead to being more than one day. The linens still needed to be washed and dried; however, they were often brought into the house from the line, literally frozen. They had to be draped over a makeshift rope line, or any piece of furniture, until they were at least, what mom called damp/dry. That meant they were dry enough to be iron-dried, which meant you used an iron on a hot, non-steam setting, until the item was dry. The electric dryer ended the process. However, there were still warm winter days when the linens were hung, brought in before nightfall, and thrown into the dryer to finish the process, excluding the fabric sheets that were supposed to make them smell like the great outdoors. They already had that from being outside for the day.
In the summer, there wasn’t the rush of getting it off the line, folded, and put away before the next load needed to be hung. It may get to stay out on the line for a few days if you missed the signs that rain was coming; which undoubtedly meant a second, or possibly a third au naturel rinse before the sun came out and the wind came up to dry the items.
The thing I remember most about the linens that came in from their stint on the clothesline (every season) is the fresh scent. The one that was there to nuzzle your face in. The one that went to bed with you, and was there on the towels after a bath.
And, does the myth that the sun, moon, and morning dew remove stains from diapers? I am here to tell you, from personal experience of using cotton cloth diapers with our children, that it is not a myth. But, that is a story for another day.