Second World War: Humorous Clothesline Mishap

Californian relates a story about a neighbor's clothesline faux pas during the Second World War.

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Here is a humorous story from former neighbors about the Second World War. They both worked in the shipyards; she on the day shift, he on the late-night shift. They lived in a very small one-bedroom kitchenette apartment. The only entrance was the screened service porch. 

One night the husband quietly got out of bed at 11 p.m., dressing in the dark so as not to wake his wife. He walked toward the rear door while putting on his heavy jacket against the cold, slipping his last arm into the jacket as he ducked under the small clothesline strung across the service porch. He quickly walked to the trolley-line stop, arriving just as the trolley arrived.

He walked toward the rear of the trolley, where he saw an empty seat. When he was seated, he saw other passengers he had passed were smiling. He smiled back, wondering what the humor could be at that late hour. Arriving at the shipyard, he went to his work area, and noticed after passing other workers that they were smiling, too.

He removed his jacket and found the answer to the smiles on the faces of people he had passed. When slipping on his jacket in the dark, he did not see his wife's nylons on the small clothesline. The nylons were hanging from the collar down the back of his jacket, bringing smiles to everyone he passed.

His wife had a hearty laugh when he told her, but she almost repeated the incident at a later date. She arose early one morning in the cold pre-dawn darkness, quickly dressed, and hurried to the trolley stop. No one looked at her with laughter. But on arriving at the shipyard office where she worked, she removed her coat, gasped, and quickly put her coat on again.

She had on her shoes, slip, and blouse, but had forgotten to put on her skirt. She quickly caught the next trolley home to finish dressing.

Lucile Hebert
Yucaipa, California


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.