a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland

I grew up without the convenience of a clothes dryer.
Not that we were deprived in the least. It was a period of time when many households were without this advantage.

Mom grew up in a three story flat in Chicago, so the process of clothes washing; toting bushel baskets of heavy, wet clothes outdoors or to the attic was second nature to her. Mondays were washday in our family. As my brother and sister and I went off to school, Mom began the ritual. Washing, feeding the clothes through the wringer, and carrying baskets from the basement to the outdoors.

To give our clothes that extra "glow" a bluing power was added to the water. And did they glow! Pulled tight in methodical fashion, clothes were hung with wooden clothespins; sheets flapping, towels fluttering, and clothes waving in the wind. Sun-dried, fresh and bright,
The day's laundry was folded, ironed and fresh linens placed on beds and towels in the bathroom. We only had one bathroom with five people. How did we ever manage?!

At bedtime, the true magic unfolded. Mondays ended with us kids getting into our beds with linens kissed by the sun and caressed by the wind. As mom kissed one cheek, we were embraced by the delicious scent of fresh air and sun.
Never to be duplicated by any commercial fabric softener yet.

And so, magically an ordinary day was transformed into something very special. That once a week union of nature's gift of the sun and air and mom's dedication and love.

Nancy Ellen Crossland

***Dedicated in memory of my Mother who gave us the whitest, brightest and cleanest clothes on the block.

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