Clotheslines and Gas Prices

I am an older mom. My six year old brings a whole world of fascination to light every day and reminds me constantly of the differences between growing up in the 2000s and growing up in the 1940s to 1960s.

Like the clothes dryer. As a kid, we didn’t have a dryer…nor did any of my friends’ families. They hung their freshly washed clothes out on the lines in their yards or in their basements…and even in winter (I hail from Montreal, so it was mighty cold) clothes would hang out and then get pulled in just before they froze.

Yesterday, my mother (a smashing, brilliant young senior) was laying some washed sweaters flat to dry and my child piped up, “You know, Grandma, you need something like…ummm…2 poles and then you could have a line between them (she meant string)…and then you could hang your sweaters up with paper clips to hold them on the line!”

My daughter has lived her short six years with a dryer. She’s never seen a clothesline. Except perhaps as an illustration.

She can already navigate through Explorer to Cartoon Network Online by herself and play computer games. I learned how to use a computer at 30 years of age (and couldn’t figure out how to turn the darned thing on either at MY first temp job, but I did know Shift F4 in WordPerfect 4.0). Our generation learned to type (IF we learned to type) on a manual typewriter and progressed to electric with white out and then later correct tapes and graduated to IBM Selectric with Correct-a-tape.

My child can type her name faster than she can write it.

We knew clickers before they were called remotes and had black and white before color TV. We played LPs before they were collectors items.

My six year old wants an iPod.

And so, I commented to my mother, “You know…what with the price of gas…if we couldn’t use the car…we could get…a big animal…you know…like….ummm…a horse…and we could put something on it so that we could ride on it…to get around.”

3 thoughts on “Clotheslines and Gas Prices

  1. Ha! Well that was a refreshing blast from the past. I REMEMBER calling our remote our clicker…because it clicked. Great chuckle.

  2. I’m so glad to find someone else writing about this. The change between generations is something that fascinates and flummoxes me. In fact, I am so interested in trying to decipher the difference that I have a column on my own website called Both Sides Now where I discuss life issues with a woman in her 20s (I am in my 60s). We find that we sometimes agree, sometimes disagree, but always we educate each other, much like it seems you have discovered from your experiences with your child and mother. Check out Both Sides Now at if you’re interested!!

  3. Loved your youngsters insight. Reminded me of when I was describing to my husband the kind of clothesline my Nana had and wanted him to put one up for me. It was the kind that went from the back door way out and up into a tree in the backyard and used a pulley. He didn’t have a clue. Our generation has always had – clothes dryers. I actually had to draw it out for him. I ended up googling the parts, found them at Home Depot and climbed up on a ladder and did it myself. I am SO nostalgic!

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