On our recent camping trip I found myself doing a lot of laundry. I certainly planned on visiting the laundromat at least twice. There are 8 of us, and I did not want to pack two week’s worth of clothing for us. (yes, I know the Duggars do, and they have hanging racks and a trailer just for clothing. . . but we do not have a reality TV show funding our adventures!)
Several days of rain, and the resulting mud necessitated another trip. Little and big boys who failed to supply me with their dirty duds caused me to make two more visits.
Secretly, I enjoy doing vacation laundry. The laundromat is a bit of a getaway (and the Northshore Dairy and Laundromat has a stunning lake view and a front porch perfect for enjoying it.) Essie and I brought the three little girls with us on our first (rain prompted) laundry day. The girls were pretty good, considering that the laundromat can be boring. They pushed around the laundry carts, until other patron’s legs were in danger, and they watched their clothes wash in the front loading machines.
The best part of the laundromat is the people! On that first visit I spoke with a woman who managed a nearby motel. Their commercial washer was on the fritz (during a busy July 4 week!) so she was washing hundreds of sets of sheets and towels at the laundromat. It made my two loads of muddy clothes seem tame.
Then there was the grandma who was washing clothes with her three year-old grandson. She said that he “wanted” to share his M&Ms with the girls. He actually did not look very willing, but the girls were happy to help him share!
I helped a college student who had just returned from the Boundary Waters navigate his first dirty laundry experience.
I had a chance to chat about travel and changes in the airline industry with an ex Pan Am flight attendant.
I learned about tenure challenges with a retired Washington University Anatomy and Physiology professor.
I heard about backyard barbecues.
I heard about marital troubles.
Some people were very quiet, so I just made up stories about them. I imagined that the young lady wearing cowboy boots with her shorts and folding 20 Western style shirts worked at a dude ranch.
The lady with the swirly skirts? Surely an artist.
I’m hoping that 10 pairs of yoga pants lady was a fitness instructor.
My favorite load of laundry I saw floating through the dryers? A load of fluffy diapers!
Everyone has a story. And a laundromat reminds us of that!