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Life as a Scot in California

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Clothes pin power!

Posted by berkeleyscot on September 26, 2007

I hang my laundry out on a clothes line in my garden, but till my friend, R, sent me a news cutting from the Wall Street Journal of September 18, I never knew that 60 million Americans can’t hang out their laundry because they live in communities that ban this mundane domestic activity.
The article, “The Right to Dry: Clothesline Movement Roils American Neighborhoods” was written by Anne Marie Chaker. It is about a community, Awbrey Butte, in Oregon, where the home owners association bans hanging out laundry.
A resident, Susan Taylor, moved there with misgivings, but thought that she could deal with the restrictions. Then she heard an environmental lawyer talk on the radio about the narrow window of opportunity to deal with global warning and was moved to install her clothesline.
Many of her neighbours reacted with fury and one said, “This (the act of hanging out laundry) bombards the senses!”
Well, that expression bombarded my own senses!
Yes, Susan Taylor has broken the rules of the housing association in which she lives, but what is really so offensive about hanging out laundry?
I grew up in a household with no washer or dryer and the laundry was dried on clothes lines on a communal drying green.
Neighbours helped neighbours hang up sheets and heavy blankets. Cloth diapers on the line signaled the arrival of a new baby in a household and neighbours happily called on the new mother to offer assistance.
For me, the act of hanging out laundry brings a sense of community.
A few years ago I wrote my laundry memoirs. “Monday. You mean you can’t hang out your washing in Washington!
I am so passionate about hanging out laundry and the right to do so that I have joined laundrylist.org and my laundry memoirs will appear in their next newsletter!
I wish you all a gweed drocht! (A good drying wind)
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