I remember when we moved to Northern Virginia in 1969. It was a typical suburban neighborhood with sidewalks and every single house for what seemed like miles, was one of four floor plans. Even if the neighborhood was pretty bland, I discovered a strange contraption in the back yard unlike anything I have ever seen that was quite interesting. Just outside of the laundry room door was this tall (I was only 5 years old) pole that was stuck into the ground. On top of the pole were four more poles attached to the center pole radiating out to the four compass points. Between the upper poles ran this plastic coated wire forming the shape of a square. There were many rows of this wire running in concentric squares that got progressively smaller.
I had never seen such a device before. What was this strange contraption? I stood under it staring up trying to ascertain what possible use this device could fulfill. As I got closer and touched the central pole, it swung a little, rotating around. Whatever this thing was, it was adjustable. Maybe it was a second TV antennae, or an antennae for something altogether different! What kind of strange beings did these Northern Virginians find the need to communicate with?
As I stood there spinning it, presumably tuning something or somebody in, my father came out and informed me that that would be leaving shortly. Seems Mom thought it was an eyesore and wanted it removed post haste. “But, what’s this antennae for?” I asked. “Antennae? This is no antennae, it’s a clothes line.” Mystery solved, it’s a clothes line, and, I now learned, an eyesore.
Well, today my mother would be rolling in her grave because I have a clothesline of my own. Not a pretty compact one like we had in 1969, this one is just a rope from my deck to a tree. But is it an eyesore? Seems lots of communities and homeowner’s associations think so. Many of them across the nation have specific regulations banning them completely from your yard. In fact, so many communities have banned them, that in our new, more energy conscience environment, states like Utah, Hawaii, Maine, Florida and Vermont have begun passing legislation to permit the proud display of one’s attire on clotheslines of any kind.
So rather than a sign of poverty that will lower my property values, I choose to see my clothesline as a badge of energy efficiency. My outward statement that my clothes have sought and found emancipation from the drying cycle? OK, maybe that’s a little over the top. But I’m still very proud of my clothesline and I will display my clothes, underthings and all, with pride. Pride that I have lowered my energy costs by 7% by letting my clothes flap in the breeze.
I think it’s high time we just get over it. It’s not a sign of poverty, it’s a sign of shrewdness and since when is that a bad thing? Got a clothesline? Want to show it off with pride? Send me a picture of you and your clothesline, and I’ll post it on my Facebook page at Dan Guinn Homes and here on my blog. Thanks for reading.