Monday’s Laundry

How white the Monday laundry
against a bright blue sky of summer
hung from a clothesline stretching
from a third floor window to the telephone pole

watching grandma hang the clothes
my feet pushing on the treadle
while sitting at her ancient sewing machine
“Non giocare con la machina!”

Her wrinkled hands now leaning on the sill
looking out across a yard of grass
forbidden to tenants of the third floor
no dogs or puppies allowed

perhaps dreaming of her mother’s small garden
the few chickens, almond trees and wild flowers
good things that may return some day
if not for her, perhaps for me.

A sigh a turn and then a smile
as we together water geraniums
in a window box erasing the gloom
from the brown bricks of a Brooklyn tenement.




About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to Monday’s Laundry

  1. Here in New Zealand, everyone (except for the filthy rich) hangs their washing out in the back yard. They do it not so much for environmental reasons, but out of a sense of frugality and working class consciousness. Even if they could afford to run a clothes dryer, they wouldn’t want their neighbors to see them as wasteful.


    • toritto says:

      Heehee – We’ve come a long way doc. In vast areas of the suburbs, including where live now, clothes lines outdoors are banned. Too unsightly I guess.



  2. beetleypete says:

    We have a rotary drying line in the garden, and use it when it isn’t raining. So not that often!
    I remember lines of washing like this across streets in London. They got the washing much whiter and cleaner back then too, without the benefit of biological washing powders, and electronic washing machines.
    I used to have the job of turning the handle of my Grandmother’s mangle on wash-days, squeezing out the excess water.
    Nice memories Frank, and well-expressed as always.
    Best wishes, Pete.


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