Clothes Hangers

Recently I bumpted into a web site containing a poem entitled “Remembering Mom’s Clothesline” that was very well written. I have no idea who the author of this poem is, but I hope they don’t mind my posting it on my blog for others to enjoy. The photograph is an image I captured several months ago.

In Panama people hang their clothes on their backyards clothes lines to dry.  Electric dryers are almost non existent in this part of the world.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

To complement this shot, I decided to include a lovely poem about this long time tradition in many parts of the world.

A clothesline was a news forecast
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 design

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 brows
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 best
By what hung out on that line

Author unknown

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

After the clothes are dry, they are sent to a Chinese dry cleaners nearby where all their wrinkles are removed.  The next phase is to hang them again inside our closet, waiting to be worn.  And so the cycle repeats itself until the clothes are eventually donated to the church for charity.  Good Day.

12 thoughts on “Clothes Hangers”

  1. Oh, what memories! I love line-dried clothes, for the luscious smell as much as anything else. It just makes me laugh, to think that the eco-conscious people around here don’t want people hanging laundry out to dry in the sun, because it’s not aesthetically pleasing to see laundry strung through the neighborhood. Their commitment to solar needs a little tweaking, says me!

    1. Morning Linda,

      It seems to be that the eco-conscious people around you haven’t read this poem. They don’t know what they are missing. Clothes were meant to be dried up under the sun. That’s the natural thing to do, plus it saves a bit on your electric bill.

      We have never owned an electric dryer and never will. We don’t even know how it looks like. We prefer it that way. 🙂



    1. Hola Jim and Nena:

      As far as I know, the author’s name is unknown. I wish I knew his name, because it says so much about clothes hanging out to dry.

      As you know, In Panama we don’t use electric dryers to dry out clothes. The good ole sun takes care of those responsibilities and is absolutely free. 🙂



  2. I love this poem and what it implies! Learning about your neighbors through their laundry 🙂 Growing up my mother always used a clothesline and I remember helping haul the laundry basket out to the yard with a bag of clothes pins. She still hangs her sheets and blankets out to dry.

    Jim, thanks for the link!

    1. Morning Barbara,

      I enjoyed the poem as well. It is a tradition in Panama to hang our clothes out to dry using clotheslines. Electric dryers are almost nonexistent.

      We use plastic clothes pins now. In the past we used wooden ones, but I haven’t seen them for a while.

      Enjoy the rest of the day, dear Barbara.


      1. My mother still uses the wooden pins. I believe most warmer climates don’t use the electric dryer, I know I wouldn’t 🙂 I’ve not but very few in Puerto Rico or Jamaica.

    2. My pleasure, Barbara! I have been remiss in reading and not posting to your blog but enjoying the photos there nonetheless. 🙂

      Being the 2nd oldest and the oldest boy with 4 sibs, one of my jobs was hauling clothes to the line. My sis’s hauled the dry ones back. haha


  3. Hi Jim and Nena:

    So this means that Ms. Marilyn K. Walker is the author of this beautiful poem? If that is so, you have done a remarkable detective work. Thank you so much Jim for taking the time to discover the mysterious poetess.



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