Laundry Day, Grandma's Way

| 10/14/2013 9:30:00 PM

Sheila JulsonMy grandma was an urban homesteader well before the term became popular, or even before the term existed. Besides reusing and recycling almost everything, as well as gardening and baking, I remember how on any given summer day Fels-Naptha-cleansed laundry flapped from the clotheslines as we kids darted around the yard, dodging flailing slips, housecoats, and Turkish towels. Grandma never explained to us why the towels were called “Turkish.” They were just Turkish towels, so there. (I later learned that they’re basically just any towels made from cotton terry cloth, and I was a bit disappointed by the blasé definition.) 

Grandma had these neat wooden clothesline poles - or props, as she called them - that propped the line up high to keep sheets off the ground and allow for maximum air flow. She even painted the props her signature “aqua” shade, a color she made up by mixing two paint hues. Don’t ever call it blue or green in front of Grandma.

Dennis rides his bike beneath Grandmas clothesline.

Our family cousin Dennis rides his bike past one of Grandma's clothesline prop poles during the 1950s.

“Aqua,” she had always corrected. Everything in the yard and home was accented with “aqua,” from the clothesline props to the decorative bricks in the yard to the trim on the house. Her neighbors had tried to imitate the color, with little success.

Unfortunately, Grandma’s cool aqua clothesline props were lost over time. I’ve been hanging laundry outdoors for years, but had trouble finding clothesline props like Grandma had. Metal or aluminum props were available at hardwood stores and online, but they just weren’t the same. They also averaged around $25.