Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hanging Memories on the Clothesline

We have great accommodations here in Kampala. We are on the fourth floor of an apartment building of 8 apartments. We have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. We don’t have air conditioning but we have lots of windows and can open our windows and doors for great cross ventilation. We have a stove that has 2 electric eyes and two gas (propane) burners so we are good even if the power goes out. We have a little washer but no dryer.

Now most people here wash their clothes in a bucket or sink with a great powdered soap called OMO. It is like Oxyclean and works well except on the red mud stains which truly are stains as no matter what you do the mud stains are with you for life.

So, every few days I throw a batch in our little washer and then hang the clothes on a line stretched across our patio. Today when I was hanging out the wash I had a great flashback to my childhood when I use to hang the clothes on the line with my mom. We didn’t have a modern washer or dryer back then but we did have a wringer washer; and I was scared to death I was going to catch my arm in those evil wringers.
But. . back to my nostalgic experience. There I was hanging out the wash and thinking of my mom and all those lessons learned while hanging out the wash.

I remembered having to stand on a wooden box to be able to reach the line, the wooden clothes pins that had to be kept in a bag so they wouldn’t get dirty, the old diaper used to wipe the line off before you hung the clothes, and mom always hoping for a good breeze to snap those sheets and towels in the wind which would assure they were soft and smelled clean and fresh.
(There's a storm rolling into Kampala)
Oh, and then the mad dash out to grab the wash off the line when you saw the storm clouds gathering.
All these ancient memories came to mind as I hung my little one batch wash out this morning. Along with the lessons learned on the proper way to do the wash I started realizing other lessons taught during those times with my mom.

Choose strong anchors for your life:  Hang those clothes by the seams so that they are secure and iit won't stretch the fabric out.
Take pride in your daily work: “I love to have a clean wash with something for everyone to wear – aren’t we blessed Marilyn to have such a beautiful day to do the wash.”

Be prepared: While looking over the white picket fence into the new garden just starting to show the tiny shoots of peas, beans and carrots pushing up through the soil, “Look Marilyn the garden is starting to grow. It won’t be long and we will be canning beans and that will be a good thing because last year’s beans are all gone.”

Patience has its own reward: “Ah, look how pretty the tulips are. Let’s take some in to enjoy in the house. Aren’t we glad we planted those bulbs last fall.

Have joy in being a woman:   Way before woman’s lib mom always looked at her role of mother and wife as a calling, a good place to be, a worthwhile venture.  The wash was a thing to take pride in - a job done well - a service to the family (granted we never appreciated it as we should have).

Just a few of those teaching moments grasped while doing the wash.  Such sweet memories - so many lessons learned when I didn’t even know I was being taught.   Think those day to day chores with your children are just a part of a mother's duties?

Thanks mom for teaching me how to hang clothes on the line.


Scarehaircare said...

Loved this post, Mom. Things I never knew about Grandma before. I hope Daddy also posts about things he learned from his parents that have been good to know for your mission.

Angela said...

It looks like you have a beautiful view from your balcony.

Tiffany said...

What a beautiful post. It's reassuring, at times, to remember our loved ones and the things they've taught us. It helps them not seem so far away! We love you!