This is part of the series, The House on High Street. The entire series is indexed here.
Now, as you may recall, our bathroom/laundry room was torn out that first summer, pending repair to its underpinnings. This meant that I could choose between driving eight miles each way to a crowded laundromat or I could stay at home and do the laundry by hand. I've never liked laundromats; and so I found myself wringing out sheets in the kitchen sink early one July morning.
The attic, it seemed to me, would be the perfect place for drying clothes. It had never been insulated--in fact, you could see the nails that held the shingles in place poking right through the wooden ceiling. This meant that it was cool in the morning, and just like an oven on a summer afternoon. Beez and I hung clotheslines from one side to the other, and I was in the laundry business.
I carried my laundry basket up the back stairs, through the back hall, and up the attic stairs, accompanied by my loyal dog, Red Rachel. I had just pinned up eight feet or so of various articles of wet laundry, when I paused to admire the view of our barn out of the old gable-end window. When I turned back to continue with my work, I was surprised to see that everything that had been pinned on the line was now lying on the floor. The interesting thing, to me, was that all the clothes pins were still in place on the clothes line. Rachel, oddly enough, was halfway down the stairs, whining and looking anxiously back up at me.
Vaguely wondering what might have caused my wet clothes to all fall off the line simultaneously, I hummed a little hum, picked them up, and began the work of shaking off the attic dust from each piece and re-pinning it to the line. This time I was sure to firmly peg everything into place, while glancing back over the line to be certain things were staying just where I had put them.
Now, I think that I am more practical than imaginative, and so I hope that you will believe me when I tell you what happened next. Right there, before my eyes, all the clothes on the line jerked up and then fell down to the floor again. The pins all remained in place on the clothes line, just as before. Rachel was now at the bottom of the stairs, barking at me in a warning sort of way.
I felt a little tingle up the back of my neck and across my scalp. I gathered up all my poor laundry, putting it back in the basket and heading toward the stairs, while saying, quite clearly, "I think that I won't hang this laundry in this attic. I'm going to take it downstairs right now. Good-bye!"
You should also know that my good dog, Red Rachel, although she accompanied me everywhere else during the day, refused to ever go up the attic stairs again.