Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Great Little Carroll Gardens Story About Backyard Clothesline Poles

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After reading my post about back yard clothesline poles yesterday, my friend Vince sent me this great little story. He had me smiling all evening long. So read it and enjoy. I assure you, you will be smiling too.

The man on the clothesline pole reminded me of my first trip to Carroll Gardens. I believe it was 1973. I was in college at Pratt, lived near there and was new to Brooklyn. I had a part-time job in a printing and box factory in Queens as a sample maker. I got to know the printing foreman very well. A nice Italian man named Johnny De Martino. He had a proposition for me. He would bring me home to his house where he lived with his wife and 2 children and feed me a wonderful home cooked Italian dinner but he wanted a favor in return.
The house belonged to his mother and father his mother still lived on the garden and first floors. Johnny lived on the 4th floor. I believe it was on 2nd Place, it was definitely between Henry and Clinton. My part of the bargain was to climb to the top of the clothesline pole and replace the spinny wheel that the line travels on.
Being from upstate NY this was an exotic proposition for sure and I had no idea of what I had gotten myself into until I was standing at the base of the pole looking up. I had a few tools and the new wheel stuffed into my trousers so my hands were free and I started the climb.
It was a little scary 4 stories up, Johnny’s wife and 2 small kids encouraged me from the open kitchen window while Johnny gave instructions from below. About ½ way up I realized why Johnny, who by the way weighted about 300 pounds did not do the job himself.


Thanks, Vince. Keep your tales coming!

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's your obsession with clotheslines? Nothing better to talk about?

Anonymous said...

when i was a kid living in cg my father would also find some rube to climb up the clothesline pole.

Anonymous said...

katia what a great story!


i can just picture this as my backyard in Carroll Gardens is still just like this!

Jacqueline said...

Obsession about clotheslines? Hah!

Always plenty to talk about, but clotheslines and what they represent are very important. I remember my Grandma teaching me how to hang laundry. Clothespins. Sounds. Fabric. A very blue sky with puffy white clouds. Important indeed, cause it's real life, and nothing that requires electricity, just being.

Anonymous said...

yes, i remember mama hanging out the clothes and someone in their backyard cursing at us because little droplets of water was raining on their heads! ooh, the good ole days (barf)!