♥ Indelible Memories: My Homage to Laundry Day Italian Style ♥ has been a long time coming! Hundreds of photos taken over several years from north to south…of laundry! And I predict there will be many more! Why? Read on…
♥ One of the many things I miss about being in Italy, in addition to hearing church bells chiming and Italian conversation, walking by tempting gelaterie and stopping in for an espresso (usually brewed by a pretty good looking barista)…
♥ The list does go on and on but certainly when I see laundry hanging on drying racks and makeshift clothes lines on balconies, outside windows, across alleys and, well, just about anywhere, I know I’m in Italy! ♥
Why is something so seemingly ordinary and mundane so utterly irresistible and charming to me? I have to attribute it to my own indelible childhood memories and the fact that, not only do I absolutely know that I am in Italy but, it’s a tie to my roots and upbringing…
♥You see, my mother hand washed our laundry almost all of her life. In a large tub in the porch with strong hands she kneaded, washed, rinsed, rung out and hung it on the clothesline.
♥ I still have vivid memories of the ritual as she turned the clothesline (you know, the one that looked like an inverted umbrella that spun around on a metal pole), grabbed clothes pins and deftly hung everything out in the sunshine.
♥ All of our clothes, sheets, towels, etc. were hung out. As soon as they were dry or it looked like rain, she or my Dad would dash out to bring it in. (I remember occasions when outings were cut short to get home and get the laundry inside!)
♥ Everything smelled like clean sunshine. You just can’t duplicate that smell with any soap or detergent.
♥ I wish I had a photo but who knew that something so routine and part of my day-to-day childhood would become a precious memory and a connection to my heart’s home?
♥ As I saunter the streets and passageways of every Italian town and village, my eye is always caught by the washing…hanging here and there, basking in the sunshine, telling their stories.♥
♥ Waving unconsciously for all to see, everything from undies and overalls to dish towels and diapers, jeans and jerseys, socks and shirts…and of every size, color, and style imaginable are on display. Some faded and well worn, some bright and brand new but all revealing a little about who lives inside; gender, size, age and even their livelihood and pastimes. All in public and subject to speculation –no secrets here!
♥ Fluttering freely in the fresh air and seemingly without a care…caressed by Mother Nature, everything from slacks to sheets flap gaily in the gentle breezes. Whether they’re pinned upside down or right side up, they’re obviously not afraid of heights and obviously enjoy the best views!
♥ Basking shamelessly in the warm sunlight, stretching out, dangling and dancing before going back in the closet or drawer, ready for the next call of duty.
♥ I always have slightly mixed feelings about taking photos of other people’s laundry. It’s a little like peeking into someone’s closets or drawers. Sometimes I take them surreptitiously or hurriedly so as not to invade someone’s privacy but then again, the laundry is hanging out in public? Maybe, but their “public” is their neighborhood so it’s pretty routine. I mean, I wouldn’t have wanted someone taking photos of my family clothesline, would I? Hmmm…
♥ Well, I find it just too tempting. Stories and imaginings can’t be repressed. I can’t help but think that, what I find delightful and engaging is just another tedious, tiring chore to someone else. Were they washed by hand or by machine? Were they washed with love, in haste, begrudgingly or just because it had to get done? Were they carefully clothes pinned or just hung by habit?
♥ When I travel I’m often asked how I do my laundry while on the road—well, I do it by hand! And somehow from watching my Mother, something was learned about soaking, kneading, rinsing, ringing and hanging my own washing to dry…and I have to wonder what story someone else would write about my laundry? (Sorry no photos!)
♥ So, in honor of and as a homage to my own Mother and only with respect and praise for those whose laundry appears here, I thank you for being my muse. ♥
Won’t you Send Me a Postcard? (No, not your laundry!)
Do you have a favorite photo? What story would you tell about it? What does your laundry say about you?
Please share below!