Mammy never owned a dryer,
She would always use the fire
To dry clean clothes for her eight kids,
Who played in pants as if on stilts,
Wore Goodwill shirts like cardboard fibre.
We'd no money for laundromats,
Immigrants don't waste like that;
We made the move from Ireland,
Turned our backs, washed our hands;
Chose Sarnia to make our home.
Yes, Mammy washed our clothes with stones;
She'd string lines from wall to wall,
And draped our patchwork overalls.
In autumn, winter and early spring,
Our house was strung with clothes line string;
Socks dropped on chairs near heating vents,
Every room had ***** like tents.
One day Daddy stretched a line
From our back porch
To the farthest pine.
Looped the wire on a tubeless rim,
Secured the ends with linchpins.
Mammy was so pleased with him.
We four saw what he'd done,
He'd made a ride for his sons.
We were gliding like clothes drying,
Riding down the yard.
Flapping, laughing, having fun,
Like human clothes under the sun;
We , however, were burdensome,
The line gave up, and we fell hard.
On blustery days when sheets are snapping,
I recall the clothes line cracking,
Our fall from grace had nothing lacking.
Oh, I remember he chastised,
But I also remember
And how they smiled
When he told his friends
He hung his sons
Out to dry.
True story. As you may know, Lynch means to hang.