Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Clothes Dryer

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 8.43.08 AM

I was talking to my Mom last night, asking her how her mother coped with having twins. She was trying to remember if her mother even had a washing machine, and thought not. She was only four, but she remembers a woman who came in and did ironing every day, and she thought maybe she also did all the laundry.

Imagine. Imagine doing diapers for twins by hand, in a wash tub with a wash board. It gives me shudders, but women worked harder in those days, life was physical. They also died a lot younger. Hmmm . . . having said that, my grandmother lived to 105.

Clothes dryers came much later. Even today, most women in the world hang their clothes to dry, some even lucky enough to have special racks or lines for that purpose, others hang them over shrubs and bushes and fences surrounding their homes.

Today’s meditation from Forward Day by Day caught my attention; in Germany the last time I lived there, I did without a dryer, hanging my clothes on racks, and I did just fine. I had the time, I had the space and it was just a different pace of life.

Mark 8:34. If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

A few years ago, a young husband and wife started an intentional community in rural Ohio. They share the house with others committed to simple living, to daily prayer and worship, and to issues of justice, especially around hunger and care of the earth. The farm not only yields enough to feed the members of the house and volunteers, but also supplies thousands of pounds of food each year to the local pantries.

I was struck by one story about their common life. They decided to get rid of the clothes dryer. After all, it’s not a vital machine, they determined. They could use a clothesline and conserve energy and money. Hanging clothes to dry would be an exercise in patience, in slowing down, as well as in planning and coordinating the wash with others in the house.

This small sacrifice provides powerful insight into the faithful witness of this group of people. I don’t know if God wants me to give up my clothes dryer (please, God, I hope not). But I do believe God calls us to sacrifice, to make hard decisions, to give up important things, so that we can take up the cross and follow Jesus.

April 3, 2014 - Posted by | Aging, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Survival, Work Related Issues


  1. looooool. can’t imagine why you were talking about twins 🙂

    I had thought that I would just order disposable diapers and never tell T about the cloth option, but when my parents and sister and her family were in town last month, they went into great detail about the scraping and cleaning required of cloth diapers. He was horrified.

    We are so lucky to have washing machines, dryers, and inexpensive baby clothing and other supplies – so nice to be able to stock up without anything being too pricey!

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | April 3, 2014 | Reply

    • I agree, especially when they grow so fast. You buy them that gorgeous little dress you see, and they wear it once and the next time an occasion arises, they are too big for it!

      I think our son lived mostly in undershirts when it was hot, and onesies with short sleeves or long sleeves (and legs) when it would be cold.

      Thank God for disposable diapers!

      Comment by intlxpatr | April 4, 2014 | Reply

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