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9/5/09

In Praise Of The Clothesline


A few weeks ago I read a local article about a very controversial and thought-provoking subject: Clotheslines.
Really! (Read the comments in them thar article, they're interesting!)

In this article, a Richmond realtor went on about the detriment clotheslines are on a neighborhood and its property values.
"'They're unsightly by most people's standards,' said Jeanne Bridgforth, a Realtor with Long & Foster in Richmond. 'It gives an atmosphere of decline. You don't sense you're in a well-heeled neighborhood when you see people hanging their laundry out to dry.' "
That weekend I was on my regular run on the Bay... and it suddenly occurred to me,
"Heeeeey. Wait a minute... CLOTHESLINES!!!"

With the article fresh in my mind, I couldn't help but giggle and be slightly indignant at that realtor's attitude, when RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF ME was a community happily waving their undies in the breeze, and let's face it... these are valuable properties.

So this weekend I set off on my run with a camera and a 6year old to scout out clotheslines... and was not disappointed.

This area of the Chesapeake Bay was settled by fishermen and sailors, that tend to pass on the property and notion that nature (and use of the sun, stars, and wind) is something to be valued and utilized... a very sailing and family oriented place. See, one thing about Virginians is that, well... they tend to be practical, and frugal: here, clotheslines make perfect sense.

Because of the preservation of the natural landscape and creation of an active sailing community, this area has become, well, it's valued for dollars much more than what the original families bought them for... yet maintains a down-home community sensibility. Normally dollar values would be completely tacky and unmentionable to discuss; this is a dear place that is focused on sailing, fishing, family, and having a good time. Here, I rarely brush my hair, and would never think of lipstick.

However: In honor of all of the proudly ululating clotheslines facing discrimination, I present:
Million Dollar Clotheslines.
(Who ARE these people? ; ) )



These clotheslines gaily wave back to you, dismissing the McMansion Vinyl Suburban Covenant Realtors who protest them, and stand in solidarity with their happy, solar-dried brethren elsewhere!

Like urban farming, may *everyone* have that right, not just those that can afford to.

(For those that are interested in the architecture and this area of Virginia, here are some more posts with pictures:)

(Photo on left taken by Peggy Morland, a Virginia gal proudly flying her clothesline here, and in Australia. Nice colorful clothespins on your line, Peggy!)

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