The Clothesline Said So Much 

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 on the line;
You'd see the company table clothes with intricate design.

The line announced a baby's birth to 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 said, "Gone 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 gray,
as neighbors raised their brows, and looked disgustedly away. 

But clotheslines now are of the past for dryers make work 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 on the line! 

Marilyn K. Walker