By Cass DuCharme
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 18, 2016
When I was a little boy growing up in Florida, we had a clothesline in our backyard. We lived right next door to my grandmother, and Granny always did our laundry while Mom and Dad were at work. I remember coming home from school and watching Granny either hang or unhang all of our laundry from that clothesline. By the way, if you’ve never slept on sheets that have been dried on a clothesline, you’ve missed a treat. Often times I would help Granny take the clothes off the line, fold them and put them in the laundry basket. Granny would always ask me about my day and give me advice on whatever I needed her help with. We had some great conversations at the clothesline that I will treasure forever.
My kids have no idea what it’s like to hang clothes on a clothesline, after all, we have a clothes dryer in our laundry room. Who would want to take clothes outside to hang on a line where they could get dirty or wet when it rains? Some housing developments in our own town have banned clotheslines because they don’t look good and the neighbors don’t want to see each other’s “laundry”.
Last month, I had the privilege of traveling with our youth group to Passport Averett in Danville, Virginia. The group that I was assigned to drive for went to a low-income housing project in Danville, where we played with the children in the complex, cleaned up trash and debris, and yes, hung new clotheslines in the backyards of many of the units. For you see, in this complex, every apartment had a clothesline behind it for the residents to dry their clothes. I worked with three boys from other churches hanging new, green plastic-covered, clotheslines all over the complex. While we were hanging the clothesline, I noticed people, mostly ladies, gathered around their clotheslines, hanging their clothes, talking, laughing and even singing. One lady came out of her apartment
and thanked us for taking the time to hang the new line, to not only make it easier to hang her clothes but to make her yard look prettier.
Next Wednesday night, August 24, the youth and I will share stories and present a “slide show” from our trip to Passport Averett. I hope you’ll be there to hear all about it and see it for yourself. I want to thank Rachel Greco, Bill Bowden and Taylor Chestnutt for helping to drive, lead and chaperone this trip. The youth and I are forever in their debt for all they did. I would also like to thank all of you who supported us through our fundraisers, monetary gifts to the youth, and especially with your prayers.
I miss the clothesline in our back yard but I’m glad the people of Danville still have them. Maybe Ruth will let me put one up. I’d love to feel those sheets dried on the line one more time.