We Used To Hang Our Clothes To Dry

Remembering Mom’s Clothes Lines

        There were usually 5 or 6 lines, each about 14 feet long,  5 1/2 feet high, and with long wooden poles that could push the lines UP so that the ‘wash’ wouldn’t brush against the  ground and get dirty and yet allow  the lines to be within  easy reach for the one hanging the clothes.
         These were unwritten rules, but  every  woman  knew them by heart and followed them to the last word.

1. You WASHED the Lines each Monday, by  wiping their entire length with a damp cloth to remove any accumulated dust that would soil the just-washed clothes.
2. Wash day was on a Monday.  Only death or dying permitted any other day, and even then NEVER on a Sunday.
3. Even if it were sub-zero weather, clothes would  ‘freeze-dry.’
4. You had to hang clothes in a certain order, always hanging whites (bed linen) with whites, shirts with shirts, sox with sox, towels with towels, pants with pants and so on.
5. And socks were hung by the toes, NEVER by the tops; Pants by the BOTTOM cuffs, NOT the waistband; and NEVER a shirt by the shoulders, but always by the tail.
6. Sheets and towels were hung on the OUTER Lines so that your ‘unmentionables’ could hang unseen on the middle Lines and some women, modestly hung their underclothes INSIDE  pillow cases, shielded  away from prying eyes.
7. There were Clothes Pin bags that you nudged along the  Lines to be handy when hanging clothes, and to put those pins  back in again, when taking down the dried clothes.  It looked ‘tacky’ to see pins on empty Lines and also they would get dirty and so soil the next Monday’s wet clothes.
8. If you were efficient, you would hang the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but  would share  pins by overlapping the corners of  two items.
9. Clothes had to be OFF the line before dinner time, sprinkled  and neatly rolled, placed in a clothes basket, and ready  to be ironed on Tuesday. Never, never Monday evening.



A Clothes Line was a news report for people passing by,
For there could be no secrets, with clothes hung out to dry.
It also was a friendly Line, for neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.
For then you’d see the fancy towels and sheets,  upon the line.
And the special ‘company’ table cloths, with intricate designs.
And also of a baby’s birth, of those  who lived inside
As brand new infant clothes were hung so lovingly with pride.
The ages of the children could readily be known
And seeing how the sizes changed, you’d know how much they’d grown.
It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung
With nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too, haphazardly strung.
They also said, “Vacation time”, when Lines hung limp and bare
And , “We’re back” was told, when crowded Lines had not an inch to spare.
New folks in town were scorned if clothes were dingey, gray
And neighbors carefully raised their brows and looked the other way,
But today the Lines are of the past for dryers make work less
And now, all that’s there within a house is left for us to guess.
But I really miss that way of life, ’twas such a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other well, by what hung on the Line.

( anonymous )

Reach Ethel at: ethelbrad@comcast.net

Ethel’s books at: WWW.BradfordDesigns.com

You Tell Me Your Dreams, I’ll Tell You Mine

Was a good song,  but not a good idea.

        And so we dream.  Every night you go to bed and dream and every night, I also go to bed and dream.

        We laugh and often our first words the next morning are “My gosh, I had the craziest (weirdest, saddest, sexiest, wildest, most puzzling) dream last night” and then tell all about it. 

        But once you begin to  understand the meaning of your dreams, you stop broadcasting them to the world, for it’s most akin to undressing in public.  Rather, you share them with one you can trust implicitly, or save and ponder in your own silent  heart.

        For the fact is, if it’s a dream we remember, we can be sure it has a message. For us.  The dreams that are the result of eating, or drinking too much, a sudden noise, or getting twisted in the blankets, are meaningless and soon forgotten. But pay attention to those you remember.  It’s you, talking to you.

        I once had a horrible dream, repeated three consecutive nights.  Oh, there were differences, but all with the same message, bothered me, and finally sent me to a doctor.  Three days after seeing him I was operated upon and said TYG many times over.

        Our dreams, the experts tell, consist of the unconscious part of ourselves trying to communicate with our conscious part.  My dreams are me, talking to me, and yours are you talking to you. Well, except for the ones mentioned above.

        They are trying to give us a warning (see above) or where we could use help in our daily lives.  And everything, every T-H-I-N-G, in that dream is us. If we see ourselves in a messy, cluttered house, that house is us, and the dream is telling us that something in our life,  needs ‘cleaning up’.   

        And watch which room, bedroom, bath, kitchen, basement, garage, you’re in.  It all has meaning.  Your car is you, and if you are driving up hill, good for you, you’re on the right course, and if going downhill, pay attention, for in some way, you’re headed the ‘other’ way. Bathrooms are clean-up messages, and are worth pondering over.

        Our dreams reflect the culture and thinking of the era we live in.  When Freud first dipped into our dreams, he came up with the fact that  95% of dreams were concerned with sex.  And  he was right, too.  For that day and age.

        The world of his time was an inhibited place. with sex a big no-no.  Unmentionable. So, his clients,  in that locked-in-concrete atmosphere, had dreams of sexual freedom.  But, I understand,  in today’s world, where there is sexual freedom never before known,  our dreams are gradually reflecting a desire for change.  Of course there are exceptions, but I understand that ‘home, and  picket fence’  are beginning to be reflected in dreams.  Oh, not for you, or me, but that’s what the experts are finding. No fooling.

        Not Puritanism. but ’tis said, that when the pendulum goes too far either way, in any aspect of life, our dreams nudge us toward what is ‘normal’.

We too are told to look at our dreams, as was Joseph, in Biblical times. And the same as Joseph, everything is in symbols, left for us to interpret, and  dreams do not come with sub-titles.  To-day, the majority of our dreams  (like it or not), are not of sex.

        But remember, dream symbols are explicit.  Terribly explicit. Surprisingly   explicit. Sometimes horribly explicit.  So if  you decide to figure out what ‘You are trying to tell yourself’ don’t hide half your dream as being ‘not nice’, or shiver and say, “I would never do that”.  Take a second look, knowing it’s only a symbol,  and  that everything in that dream is you.  Don’t toss it aside, for some part of you is struggling to where  your dreams are pointing. And there are no Information Booklets.

        Get  your self  a good dream book, (not from the supermart), and begin to pay attention  to how you, are trying to bring harmony into your  life.  It’s sorta fun, and sometimes, as what happened to me, can be very good for your health.  It’s one great big eye opener as to how smart we really are.

“The Dream Book”, by Betty Bethards, published first in 1983 and still going strong, is  used as a textbook, and highly  recommended.  It cost  $13.00  about 25 years ago.  Try Amizon and get one for less than $5.00.  It’s good stuff.

A Different Path For Ethel


        Today’s words began coming to my mind as I relaxed on my patio swing, and for some reason, I began remembering that right where I sat, and really not too long ago, is where Indians lived.  And I mean my home-site is  exactly where they also lived, sat,  ate, walked, worked, loved, and slept. Yeah, in a different manner, but all else, the same.

        The placement of my home is in the identical place where their home had been, and I also knew that the change from them to me, hadn’t been their choice.  And a streak of guilt hit me like a ton of bricks.

        I suppose my guilt actually began back in 1948 when we asked Joe Mash, son of Frank and Felicia, to plow a garden spot for us, and almost on what is now my east, and my son, Bill’s west lawn, Joe unearthed a circle of Teepee stones, still in place for their teepee, and  to one side, there were scorched rocks ready for a cooking fire.  It was rather like walking, uninvited into someone’s home. 

        I didn’t forget, just put the knowledge to one side.  But a week or so ago, I decided that a certain storage shelf needed to be cleaned to see if it held anything worth keeping, and there I found several Indian  mortar and pestles needed to grind their dry corn. Actually called the Mano, the grinder and the Metate, the dished out stone ‘bowl’.

        And the guilt returned, for I knew that the ‘stuff’ I had saved, held in my hands and wondered over, was not mine, but were loved and well-used remnants from some Indian woman’s home. I was holding the very tools she had used hundreds of times as she cooked and cared for her family.

        I had heard family members tell how, for many years, the Indians came back each Spring hoping that this time there would be room for them, but of course there never was and they were told to get away.   

        Our early pioneers found this spot as an ideal place to call home for the very same reasons those Original people, the Indians,  made it home.  We wouldn’t want to live in one of their Wigwams, but just the same, to them they were home, and just as we love our homes, they did too.

        But, there were more of us, and in addition, (and more and more my words sound like today’s  headlines), the primal cause of Indians leaving and our being here is that there were more of us and we had more guns. After all, the men didn’t build Forts, just to have something to do with their time.  Nearby the ones casually spoken of, and  were Fort Union, and Cedar Fort which had been restored to a certain point, and used as a tourist site.

        Makes me wonder if, in many centuries to come, another group will see this lovely place and decide to call it theirs.  And, also wonder what weapons they might have to force our descendants to move on, or become  their vassals.

        Oh, me, we think life is so permanent, but as I sit here, I suddenly know that ‘permanence’ is transient, ever changing. Dukka.  Many, in various parts of the world, and even as I type these words, are being forced from their generations-held homes.  And done so, by others who. right now, happen to have the larger stock of weapons.

        But this road I live upon, which we have made and re-made,  would not be recognized by Indian people, but  nevertheless, it was their  chosen location and their foundation that we built upon.  The very place my home rests upon was a home-site for them, and for much longer than it has been for me.

        And so, now it’s our turn.  And in centuries to come, who’s next? Who knows.  Who can tell. But while it is ‘our turn’ let us enjoy the moment and know that across  Time, we’re sharing it with others.

        When ‘we’ came to this valley, which is only a ‘blink of an eye’ in Time.   ‘We’ planned to make this our home, and there were more of us, and also, ‘we’ had guns, and that made the difference.  Even away back, when the weapons were nothing but arrows, clubs or big rocks, that made the difference.

        Sadly, my words are true, and all history books we have studied, are ‘stories’ of people coming, overcoming, and forcing other  people to move, change,  or be killed.  No?  Well, maybe you’ve read different history books than I have, and, also, we must remember that history books are always written by the victors. I’ve found no History book, even The Bible, that  tell of  eras of peace, love and joy. Or maybe there never have been such epochs.

        Either way, my words today are  triggered by those Indian tools I have, which really are  not mine, and yet would be of no use to any Indian woman, either, but, TYG,  they have the Power to make at least one woman, me, stop, think, remember, regret, and pass those thoughts along to others.  You.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Inquiries have asked the meaning of TYG.  So simple, so meaningful:
Thank You, God.

The Ducks Came For A Visit

They came home for a while, but now live somewhere else . . .

        Everything that’s physically mobile has a built-in homing instinct.  Ocean fish, whales, etc. travel thousands of miles on annual treks; butterflies from the tropics to their second northern  homes; the swallows of Capistrano; ants, (the dang things) travel yards and yards, in single file, from their basic ‘home’ to wherever they sense food, and yet find their way back.

        I again saw proof of this Home Instinct this year as three Mallard Ducks came and sat stoically where easily twenty years ago their ancestors had been born and fed.  My heart went out to them and their loyalty, but  beautiful as they are, I wished them well and ignored them.  Well, I thought of having a Duck dinner, but that time, in this neighborhood, is long gone.

        It all began years ago, when I noticed that a Mallard hen had built a nest, close to my basement outer wall, hidden and protected in the midst of my bushes.  I watched her, and her visiting mate, with interest, and in a week or two there were fluffy baby goslings in my yard, and in response to their peeping and how sweet they were, I began giving them food, and chose a spot of  lawn where I could see them during the day.

        All went well, and within days I was feeding both Mama and Papa Duck and their five goslings.  Then the five ducklings began losing their Down and getting feathers and it was fun to watch. And, swiftly, it seemed, I had the parents and  five beautiful teenagers and then, almost suddenly, it seemed,  there were seven ducks coming and staring  expectantly at my door and gobbling up every crumb of food I put out. And I had to take a ‘second look’ to see which were the kids and which the parents. 

        Fun, and by then I’d found a shop in the old Cottonwood Mall that catered to food and the care of all genre of pets we bring to our homes, and I became a familiar customer, for seven ducks eat food, and I mean FOOD.  I explained to ‘my’ demanding ducks that  there was a pond right down in the pasture, (now the Golf Course) not more than a five second flight away, and where they would have both water and  natural food, but they didn’t hear me. 

        So, I cut down on the amount of food given them, and they began digging in the lawn.  I smiled, thinking they were getting worms and bugs, and when they had eaten all of them, the ducks would turn to the nearby pond.  But I then found the dang ducks were actually eating the ROOTS of my lawn and there was about a 12 foot patch that was quickly becoming NOT  lawn, but plain bare ground.  And they were pushing back the edges each day.

        In desperation, and torn between love of those sweet ducklings they once had been, and anger at the predators they’d become,  I asked the fellow at the Pet Food Mart what I was to do.

        He laughed  at my bewilderment, but then stopped chuckling long enough to tell me I had to simply stop feeding them.  He reminded me of all the signs around ponds, picnic spotsand in every Park that say,  “DON’T FEED THE DUCKS”. And then, he stopped laughing, got serious and  told me that unless I planned on my back lawn becoming nothing but a Duck Restaurant and Rest Room, I’d had to stop feeding them and force them to eat elsewhere.  They, he assured me, would not starve.

        He grinned as he assured me he’d be glad to keep selling me feed, but sooner or later, it would be either the Duck’s back yard or mine.  Really, he said, it boils right down to those choices.  Their yard or Ethel’s. 

        Well, I decided I wanted to use my lawn, and so, abruptly  I stopped feeding them, and they didn’t die, but they didn’t like it, either,  and let me know with their squawking.  It was a slow business, and their transfer of Feeding Stations did not come about without lots of protest, and, after a month or so, I watched them as they paused first at my Closed Shop, before winging over the hill and onto the Pond for nourishment.

        But that’s not the end of my tale. For the funny part, is that every Spring, Mallard Ducks come to my lawn and sit and wait right in the exact spot their ancestors  had landed and waited.

        They know where home base is and though a few scores of years have passed since I gave food to their forebearers, they still return.  Loyal as all get out, and though I hate to put a stop to their built-in instincts, I have to keep reminding myself that my purpose here on earth is not to feed  generations of Mallards.

        This year, for a couple of weeks,  they hung around each morning for at least two hours before flying off to get their breakfast.  But their instinct was true, and they were returning to their home and where every bone in their bodies told them there should be food. It hasn’t worked for a long, long time, but instinct still tells them otherwise.  That here, my back yard is still the point of their beginnings.

        I know what would have happened a generation or so ago.  My husband would have brought out one of his Shot Guns, probably just a 12 gauge one, and the Bradfords on east 4800 South, would have had Roast Duck for dinner.  It would have been good, too, for a lot of fancy Duck Food had gone through their Craws.

What’s In A Name?

A Utah town of any name would be the same

        If you know your Pioneer ancestor was born right here in Zion, and yet the town listed on the Birth Certificate, can’t be found, take heart, you’re not alone.

        Original Pioneer farms were far apart and the name, was either  for the first family there, or for some outstanding feature of the area.  Changes came fast and were no big deal.

        My husband’s Birth Certificate shows him born in the family home, still in the same place, but on 1700 South.  Today, same place, same road, is 4800 South.  See?  

        Brigham Young had a marvelous plan for naming the streets, starting from a point at the southeast corner of the Mormon Temple grounds and going all four directions from that spot.  He divided the land into Blocks, and going south, every Block went from First South, to Second, Third,  Fourth and ended at Ninth South, because that’s where the city ended.

        Every foot of land  beyond was considered desert, but when  some man began a farm a few miles south, no matter how far,  it became 10th South, and the next farm, with no surveying,  became 11th South, and so, 4800 South was  the eighth street  south of that original boundary of 9th south.

        Then there is Redwood Road with nary a tree or a  family named Redwood anywhere near.  Well, Jess W. Fox, Surveyor of the Mormon Grounds, was asked to draw plans for a road from North Temple Street south to where 21st South now is.  He did, and named it Campus Lane, but no one liked  that, so they tried Fairbanks, which didn’t stick, either. 

        Finally ‘Redwood’, the nick-name the workmen had used from day-one, became official.  Thousands of  Surveyor’s Pegs were needed to lay out that road, and those pegs were made from Redwood trees because that wood could withstand the hard pounding needed  to drive them into cement-like ground, as well as hold up under all kinds of weather.  And so, the laborers who did the work, also named it.  Good for them.

        Mormon Wards were the center of Pioneer life, and were usually named after the predominant  family,  and when a ward  became too large, it was divided.  Many families settled west of the Jordan River, and so West Jordan Ward  became its name.  But in 1867  it was divided into many smaller ones and the communities of Bluffdale, Riverton, Herriman, South Jordan, Granger, Taylorsville, Hunter, and Pleasant Green were formed.

        Bluffdale was named after the high nearby bluffs above the Jordan Narrows, Taylorsville after the early Taylor family, and Brighton, at first Silver Lake, was named after Thomas W. Brighton who  built the first home at the top of  Big Cottonwood Canyon.

        Alta, high up in Little Cottonwood Canyon,  was the site of a silver mine, and one of my uncles, Lethair (sp?) Goodall, died along with others in a snow slide there.  And, as many of the miners were Spanish, they used their word for ‘high’ , namely Alta, to mark the spot.  The mines and the miners are long gone, but the name, Alta, is known  throughout the world as a Ski Resort and I’d bet that only one in a thousand knows that ‘Alta’ is of Spanish origin.

        Draper Ward opened in 1867, surveyed and planned by the same Jess Fox.  He divided the land into farms, numbered each one, put those numbers on slips of paper, and eligible men picked a slip from a hat Fox held, and, like it or not,  that was where they would live.  They called it South Willow Creek, but soon was re-named Draper after one of those early Settlers.  Willow Creek still lives on, but now just as  an area of the far southeastern part of our valley.

        So. Cottonwood ward was divided, forming Union, after Fort Union; and Granite, after the rock mined nearby to build the Mormon Temple.   Once there were many  smelters in the valley with the one in Murray being the only one that continued through the years,  but one of them, built  upon sandy soil,  became the  Sandy City we know today.

        I like the humor that oftrn crops up in staid journals, and so, with apologies to who ever wants them, Sandy  was,  at that time, known as the Red Light District of the valley.  Oh me.

        Midvale (another smelter town) was first known as Bingham Junction, later as East Jordan and finally,  because of  its location, Midvale.  Bingham received its name from brothers Sanford and Thomas Bingham who grazed their cattle in that canyon and staked out mining rights to the surrounding hills.

        Franklin, a spot on the railroad  running south from Salt Lake, soon became Murray City, after the territorial Governor Eli H. Murray.  Sugar House was named for a Beet Sugar Mill built  there, and  Magna is the Latin word for large, big, magnificent and so on and on and on.

        So, if you KNOW your ancestors were born in this valley and yet their birth certificate shows some town you’ve never heard of, and isn’t on any map, don’t fret. Poke around, there were many small,  isolated spots with names that lasted so short a time they were never recorded, but nevertheless, that place was here. 
Good luck.