loving WRITING

buried laundry

BURIED LAUNDRY

a sock fell from the laundry basket into our small garden and i thought of grandmother and the transformation of her home. it was handed down to her oldest son, who handed it down to his only living child. i’ve seen photos and heard stories but never did i indulge in experiencing it with my presence. i was once the one that kept everyone in touch but stopped when i realized it was i that needed touching.

the ‘line’ in my grandmother’s backyard has been replaced with a beautiful patio, stones and vegetation preened enough to grace the cover of home and garden magazine. it’s hard to explain the emotion that cowers between joy and sadness, but it’s what i felt when i saw the work that had been done to beautify the property.

when i was a girl, she’d take me in the backyard which could easily have been mistaken for a junk yard, and she’d fill a metal tub with water and lye, then ask me to help her wash clothes by hand, before wringing them out and taking them to the line with a bag full of clothespins. my favorite were sheets, because i could play hide and seek with her and the dog, who ran wild through the unkempt lawn whose weeds always tickled my calves. the only thing i loved more than washing and hanging those sheets was the way they smelled when i took them down in the evening, filled with the scent of the sun’s warmth.

even though we’re related, the folks that live there now will never know of that experience or of the toil we went through to sleep on clean sheets. then again, grandmother was gifted a washing machine one year and scrubbing clothes in a tub was for her an easy task to release. she was gifted a dryer also but didn’t use it. my guess is that she did use it at least once, and chose nature over efficiency. that’s a difficult treasure to leave behind for kids these days, just as difficult as it is for us adults to keep burying.

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