Clothes hanging on the outside lines gave an opportunity for someone to hide between the lines of clothes. More than once, when I went to gather the clothes, the neighbor boy ran out from between the lines to scare me - which happened every time.
I also remember that when I was returning to the house to get another basket of clothes I would often come upon a snake - which to me represented evil - so I never picked one up, hoping that it would find it's way "out" of my way.
Two wooden or iron cross-tees posts secured clotheslines. Children loved to hang on these posts and swing back and forth for fun as well as exercise.
The following poem was sent to me by e-mail with no author listed.
A clothesline was a newscast, to neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep, when clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link, for neighbors always knew
if company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the "fancy sheets," And towels upon the line;
You'd see the "company table cloths," with intricate designs.
The line announced a baby's birth, from folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung, so carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could, so readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed, you'd know how much they'd grown!
It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.
It also said, "On vacation now," when lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!' when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon, if wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brow, and looked the other way.
But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home, is anybody's guess!
I really miss that way of life, it was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other bestby what hung out on that line.
And why do I keep the old clothesline in my back yard? I have a clothes dryer and never use the outside line maybe it is the memories of those past days.