Posted by: Dee Andrews | February 10, 2009

Life on the Laundry Line

mediterranean-laundry1 I am obsessed with laundry. Taking pictures of it that is. This is not an opportunity I frequently get in the United States, but all kinds of life takes place on the laundry lines of Europe.

The obvious… clothes. But it’s more than wet clothes hanging out to dry. If you stop and consider, there are all kinds of stories in those clothes and the way they are hanging on the line. School uniforms, men’s work shirts, designer jeans, a housedress, tea towels, little white undershirts all in a row. Pink panties. You get an idea of who lives in that house, what kind of work they do, if they are messy or organized, proud or carefree. Laundry on the line always reminds me of my Grandma Martha. Though she died almost ten years ago, I found her again in Italy, deep in concentration hanging out her prized tea towels. She made me remember and smile.

tidy-white-shirts-hanging-on-the-line2 a-grandmother-hanging-out-tea-towels pink-panties-drying-on-the-line-in-portugal drying-fish-and-socks-on-the-laundry-line dried-fish-sabillinas-spain octopus-hanging-out-to-dry-on-laundry-line

The dried fish next to the socks and panties made me smile too! They were in Sabillinas, Spain, a small town on the Mediterranean Sea. I imagine the people who live in those houses were fishermen! There were also fishermen in Denia, Spain hanging out their octopuses. Since this clothesline was outside of a seaside restaurant, I was not sure whether the octopuses were for personal use or would perhaps be served on my plate should I order the fish of the day! So, it pays to consider what’s hanging on the line. It could be lunch!

Eventually I have to quit taking pictures of laundry and hang some of my own. But that’s another story!


  1. What a fun page. I love reading your writing. Have a safe trip to Moroco.
    Love Mom

    Thanks, Mom!

  2. running through the yard between the laundry is one of my favorite memories! Fresh laundry always smelled so good.

    Oh, Aunt Janet, I remember that too at Grandma’s house! I’m going to have a clothesline at my house when I move back to the States. No octopus though, just clean sheets! Thanks for commenting here and for the Eudora updates you send via email! I love them!

    ~ Dee Ann

  3. Funny….we’ve had an old clothesline in our backyard of our house and we just recently took it down. It had been there since the house was built in 1962 and was starting to get pretty rusty. We do still have an indoor clothes line in our laundry room. I use it all the time because my mom taught me years ago to air dry most of my clothes. Dee, you just made me look at and appreciate those clotheslines in a whole new way!

    Sheila, Funny you just took yours down! I think I will make sure my next house has one, preferably an old one from 1962! I just discovered that hanging your laundry out to dry is ILLEGAL in many parts of the USA! Isn’t that silly?! Apparently HOAs don’t like the looks of laundry! Glad you enjoyed reading! ~ Dee

  4. This was a fun entry, Dee! Great photos! I remember our first house in Boulder…February 1967….Scott was 5 months old. We had a narrow, paved sidewalk next to, and parallel with, the clothesline. The sidewalk also led to a 4′ high cement trash burner at the back of the lot; and we did burn trash in those days! The clothesline was usually full of diapers!!
    XOXO Janet

    Perhaps there is less fun in it Janet when you don’t have a choice, and it’s diapers! Though I suppose you had to wash out the diapers first, which must have been much worse than hanging them up to dry! I am enjoying all of the stories people have about their laundry line memories. Thanks for sharing yours too! Love, Dee

  5. Love it, Dee. Great way to view the diff people and areas you experience.

    Hi Janet!

    Thanks for commenting; fun to know who’s reading! I realized as I was hanging my own laundry out early this morning that I will be art directing clotheslines now for the rest of my life! I suppose it livens up the chore!

    Hope you are well, Dee

  6. we don’t see school uniforms or any other clothes out on the line much any more. Thanks to the modern wold I guess.

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