Let’s Hang Out the Sheets!

March 14, 2013

Yay! It stopped raining for five minutes! Let’s hang out the sheets!

Sheets hanging in Southeasts Sicily, copyright Jann  Huizenga

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46 comments to Let’s Hang Out the Sheets!

  • Jann, this is just one of the reasons I love living in Europe so much! My nana taught me to sleep on air dried sheets and I won’t have it any other way. There’s nothing like laying down on crisp sheets that smell like the wind and the sun! 🙂

  • I think this is my new favourite picture of yours!

  • having just been wandering Italia for the last few days this made my heart leap to my throat with joy. I could almost feel the sheets dancing in the sunshine and this just scream Italy for me. I love the blue of the sheets and the gold of the building x ciao lisa

  • Anitre

    I wonder if everything dried before the next rain shower. The next best thing to drying the laundry outside is ironing outside. When I’m in Sicily, I set up my ironing board on the terrace and look out over the garden. It’s a form of meditation for me. Lovely photos as always. Brava, Jann!

  • Lena

    Lovely photo, as usual! Love the way the laundery is hanged by the coulors too. I’m glad that I put my underwear closest to the balcony…puh!

    • Jann

      Thank you Lena. I get it: you kind of bunch the undies up together near the balcony, rather than having them flying like flags in the middle of the street.

  • Few things are more important that hanging out the washing in the south. Apart from what’s for lunch of course. Happily unaffected by the rain! A delightful Friday post Jann. Love your work!!! xxx

  • Fabulous. Nothing like the scent of freshly hung clothing. Especially in Italy.

    Xxxx Jann, have you met Pope Francis yet!?

  • Barbara

    Ciao Liz. When we stayed with relatives in Sicily for a month, the neighbor ladies reported to our cousin that I must be a good housekeeper because I knew how to hang my laundry outside. (The undies always hung closest to the house.)

    • Jann

      Ha!!! It’s so important how you hang your laundry here, that’s for sure, and I’m absolutely hopeless–I just toss things over the line and stab a clothes pin here and there. Very brutta figura. Luckily, my laundry line is in an alleyway without too much traffic.

  • IDIOTS from CALIFORNIA!I’m from CALIFORNIA and ADORE the laundry on the line!ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!Great photo!

  • Anasthasia

    Oh No! I hang my underwear out to dry while I’m in
    Sicily. Not in a really conspicuous place but some
    one said people will think your not clean if you
    don’t have your undies hanging out to dry with the
    rest of the wash.
    I live in the country here in the states and all my
    neighbors hang their wash out, but in big towns
    around here they can’t have clotheslines in their
    own backyards. Kind of sad!

    • Jann

      THey’re not allowed in big towns? Wow. I wonder how prevalent those rules are in the US. Re the undies–maybe the rules change from town to town? Like the food and the dialect???

  • vicki carol

    I would have loved seeing the women (doubt if men did that work) hanging the cloths and sheets. They are like flags announcing a celebration. Yeah, clean sheets!!! No dryer sheets needed there. So colorful against the building. Love it.

    • Jann

      Yes, Vicki–they remind me a little bit of Tibetan prayer flags flapping in the wind. A tab bigger, of course.

  • There is nothing better then the smell of clean sheets on the bed that have been dried on the line outside…I love it. I can’t wait to go to Sicily next year. Oh yeah…

  • John Schinina

    Ciao Jann,
    I agree with you, clean hanging clothes is not offensive to me either, what I find offensive is Graffiti on an ancient beautiful wall. I just don’t get it or see it as a form of expression. I have an artistic background and have yet to find that definition.

    • Jann

      John, in general I agree with you about the graffiti… However, I have a more relaxed view of it because I’ve seen it on the walls at Pompeii and have read that the Etruscans, those pre-Roman folks, had graffiti in their tombs. It’s an old Italian tradition! I’d much rather see the graffiti than trash along the roadways (which I see too much of in Sicily). Also, as a photographer, I kind of appreciate the “good” graffiti.

  • Larry

    Here in Sligo, Ireland, we’re used to rain. December, January, February: rain all day and night and no sun. And I seldom see laundry drying outside anymore.

    Whenever I see photos of lady’s’ things drying in the sun I’m reminded of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Her neighbours in New York frequently complained about her hanging personal items out to dry on the apartment balcony. She was admittedly very frugal, but I think in this case she wanted the effects of the sun.

    • Jann

      Love the name Sligo. I’m really trying to get my Irish-American husband interested in going to Ireland. But we won’t go in winter if that’s how it is. Very cute story about Jackie–I miss her.

  • We love to hang clothes out to dry here on warm, sunny days. No sense running the dryer and heating up the whole house when Mother Nature does such a good job (and makes them smell so clean, too!)

  • Can’t tell U what delight I get from your posts…from the men sitting in the square enjoying their daily chats (a true Italian information highway) to the women gathering with nimble fingers while exchanging tibits of daily menu planning to events of the day…such a hub…I dream thru your photo’s and my heart sings…thank you for allowing all of us to be a part of it…..

  • Sam

    Cemal’s comment made me wonder: back in the days when extreme poverty prevailed in Sicily, did people worry about laundry thieves when they hung their sheets out to dry?

    • Jann

      Good question, Sam. Even when people were poor here, they had beautiful embroidered bed linens–part of the woman’s dowry.

  • cemal karahan

    We used to live in a two storey detached house which belonged to the iron and ore factory and the house had a garden in the front and the back and that was the time we had no washing machine and even refrigerator..İmagine..! All the neighbors and my mother would hang the laundry in a string in the garden.Once we saw a quick thief stealing all the laundry of the next door neighbor and escaping, dropping one or two items, riding his bicyle very fast down the road.It was an unbeliavable event for us because we had nothing valuable in those years and we did not even lock our house for years. We thought that the thief was a pervert who was interested in women underwear….! Greetings from Ankara..Take care, Jann…!

    • Jann

      Cemal, I love this story! I’d love to read a memoir of your childhood…You evoke sort of a lost world, old-fashioned Turkey (not that you’re old, because you’re not; it’s just that Turkey seems to be changing so fast–like Sicily in that respect, I think). Here in Sicily, some women have told me that they don’t hang their underwear out at all–it’s not proper, they say. (Of course, I didn’t know that at first, but now I’m more careful.)

  • Angelo

    Sicilians know the nitty gritty on things ecological…like hanging laundry. A few years ago even up further north in Lucca, Toscana, I was chatting with tourists from California. They thought everything was beautiful in Italy except, sigh, the laundry hanging outside. I just smiled.

    • Jann

      Wow, Angelo, that really surprises me about the Californians who were not charmed by the laundry! Apparently Berlusoni isn’t either: When Italy hosted the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001, he asked the Genovese to please remove all the wet laundry from their lines while the VIPs were in town.

  • The smell for laundry drying on a line is heavenly, don’t do away with the practice. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  • Ron

    Lot’s of rain this year?

    • Jann

      Ciao Ron. Short answer: yes. Much more than I remember in past springs. And when it rains, it’s not just normal rain; it feels like you’re under Niagara Falls.

  • Liz

    Probably one of my most favorites sites while in Italy, is hanging laundry. It is the symbol that there is life all around…just love it!

    • Jann

      Ciao Liz, I so agree with you! I have a Sicilian friend here who is opening an upscale little hotel in the oldest part of town. He was giving me a tour, and as we walked around, we ducked under a neighbor’s laundry line. “No good!” he said. “No good for tourists!” He said he was going to try to get city hall to outlaw hanging laundry!!!! I was appalled and explained to him that it is exactly these kinds of things that foreigners adore about Italy. He laughingly said that then he’d string laundry up in his reception area. It never fails to amaze and sadden me that Sicilians think the best way to draw tourists is to modernize.

    • Liz

      OH Jann, I do hope you talked you friend out of his ‘laundry outlaw’…Tell him to “let it go”, and when we come to Sicily we will stay at his hotel. Let me know the name, where it is located, contact info,and when it will be open. We are planning our trip for this fall. Oh, and tell you friend that I would like a ‘stendino’ in my room when I get there 🙂 or, one a clothesline for outside!

    • Jann

      Yes, Liz, I think he got my point. He would be so happy if you stayed in his hotel! It’s opening at Easter–10 years in the making–slooooooow like everything in Sicily. Be sure to get the special “Jann” price. HOTEL DELL’OROLOGIO.

      hoteldellorologio.com (site in construction)
      [email protected]

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