Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
Clotheslines were a regular part of my childhood, like dinner tables and Hungry Hungry Hippos. When I think back, I remember my parents' clothesline, a high-tech contraption that stretched for about 25 yards, the rope strung between two trees behind our house. My dad rigged it so that you could stand in one spot, pin up a shirt, tug the line, and pin another, till it was full. The lines at our beach house were simpler, a classic T-Post setup draped with an ever-changing rainbow of towels and bathing suits. At my grandmother's farm you can still see the classic four-sided, tiered variety (Does anyone know what they're called? Colleague Susan Lund found me loads of "umbrella" clotheslines, and I guess that's what this one is, but it's really old), though she now prefers to toss clothes in the dryer. Though all three lines have fallen into disuse (or have been disassembled), I can still keenly recall the scent of clothes dried in the sun... it's like nothing else. In some communities, they're considered an eyesore, which I can't understand at all. Nothing says "people live here" — people who probably smell good, too — like a clothesline bedecked with fluttering sheets and overalls dancing in the breeze. What do you think? Does it bug you?