First Person Singular:


(Nathaniel Grann/TWP)
March 6

Susan Haid

57, Chantilly, health-care risk manager

The Texas wind blows the hair of the towheaded girl and flaps the sheets on the clothesline, like sails coming through a tack in 20-knot gusts.

A young mother smiles and says, “Susan, hand me another one.”

A little hand reaches into the flour-sack bag and pulls out a cedar clothespin. “Here, Mommy.”

When I was very little, we did not have a clothes dryer. Everything had to be hung on the clothesline to snap about in the sun and wind. It was my job to walk along with my mom while she pushed a clothes basket. This dedicated time with my mom, as my baby brother napped and my older sister attended school, was special.

My mother loved the scent of just-laundered sheets dried in the wind. Tucked in a newly made bed with these fresh linens was bliss, and she always said, “This smell is summer.”

Long after we had acquired a dryer, my mom continued the ritual hanging of bedsheets on the clothesline; it was an ordinary, and yet sacred, task that she did for our family.

The bag now hangs in my laundry room. Although I do not have a clothesline, on sunny, dry days I open the window, hang sheets from the wire shelves, and allow them to flap and snap in the wind and smell like summer.

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