Roped into Helping the Help

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Advent Day #5  A piece of rope hanging from a ceiling becomes a turning point in Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It also changed a girl’s self-definition.

Rope from ceiling


For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little. – Rachel Carson

Rope hanging from the ceiling became one turning point in Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir. Outdoor clotheslines during the “baby boomer” era got heavy use! Our family  had a swimming pool, which meant lots of wet towels and clorine drenched bathing suits- I can remember the odors so clearly. In the Baltimore humidity, sometimes air drying took a lot of time. During the long stretches of heavy, moist summer air the towels took so long they didn’t always smell so fresh and needing laundering all over again to remove the smell of mildew. I remember how stiff the towels got – they could almost stand by themselves.

twin-girls-hanging-laundry-on-clotheslineOur beloved Fanny was usually mindful of watching the oncoming weather, knowing she had just hung the clothes out that morning. I can hear her now, “Jine, Sue, quick Miss Battoney, we needs to get dem clothes down off the da clothesline – here comes da afternoon downpour!” My mom, my sister, Fanny and I would race outside and pull the clothes off the line so as not to have them soaked all over again just when they were nearly dry.

But there was nothing like climbing into bed in spring with clean, air dried sheets. A deep, restful sleep was nearly insured. The breezy winds, with the clear blue skies not yet sated with the summer’s humidity left the best smell of all. Traces of the nearby lilacs seemed to float from the pillowcases, making for sweet dreams.

During these cold dark days of winter, memories of my childhood do much to warm my spirits. If you are interested in writing a memoir, this time of year is a great time to get started. It’s a wise use of many indoor hours.

Wishing you fulfilling days ahead and see you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

For more information on the award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.

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