We didn’t bring many clothes.  Not much room for trivial things like clothes. As a consequence, the laundry must be done with some frequency.  It takes me back, to be in a laundry mat. We didn’t have a washer/dryer until our second year of marriage….which meant about 10 years of laundry mats after leaving home. 

When it comes to people, I’ve concluded that  a laundry mat is similar to a bar, sans the alcohol.  Some people sit quietly, looking at the window of whirling clothes, their minds elsewhere. Others want to tell you their story. More infrequently they ask about yours. There are mothers washing multiple loads of family clothing. Older couples, like us 😊,  on a trip of some sort. The lady who runs a local B&B is washing linens in the commercial grade machines. The single guy, doing his weekend chore.   All are polite, with at least a nod of the head. This is an even playing field. We are all there, doing what’s necessary to present ourselves to the world, cleanly clothed and hopefully in our right minds. 

I listen quietly, half reading my book. John is recently widowed. Doing the laundry ‘gets him out’. Lois comes every Saturday. It’s her way of keeping track of the comings and goings in this tiny town. Spin cycle complete, I put the clothes in the dryer. The attendant, a heavy set woman with a severe look and limp, asks if I need help. No thank you…but then I do. Apparently you have to press the temperature button each time you deposit a quarter. She’s pleasant enough, but not someone you want to tamper with. 

At last, folding my clothes, I notice the attendant go into the bathroom. Along comes John to the bathroom. I lightly comment that someone is in there, but should be out soon.  John, foolishly decides to check the door. Out comes the attendant loaded for bear! And John and I are in her cross hairs! Was there a meter running on the time she spent in the bathroom???? It’s clearly none of our business! 

John makes a bee line for the safety of the bathroom and I proceed to fold my clothes in record time! This was an extraordinary experience with regard to laundry mats. Generally the culture is benign. Today the Stache and I celebrated 38 years of marital bliss. I am so thankful for the closeness, faith, love and yes, humor we share and enjoy. Wouldn’t trade this journey, with this man for anything!

Tonight we had dinner with Mac and Frank, two amazing men who cannot see with their eyes, but CAN see with so much more.  They are keenly intelligent and have accomplished a great deal. Both participate in sports…..cycling, paddle boarding, skiing…to name a few. Mac recently purchased a used tandem bicycle with a grant from CAF. He loves cycling and often does it to raise funds for various causes. Again, we see that ‘pay it forward’ spirit among these athletes. Might be the last sunny day for a while, but we have so enjoyed the beauty of the foliage in New England. 

Thank you again for your feedback and encouragement. We are a bit tired and missing home, but very thankful for the adventure and good health to enjoy it. We know we are extremely blessed and do not take it for granted. God is so faithful and good!


13 thoughts on “The Culture of Laundry Mats

  1. Happy Anniversary, dearest friend.💝🎂💝 You are perfect for each other! So happy to hear you’re thankful for eachother and how God loves you! Here’s to happy and healthy…LUCKY!!! 💝Kipp
    Here’s your wild wedding stallion…🐴


  2. I forgot what it is like to see the leaves change color!!! What an amazing journey and amazing people you are meeting along the way. You are an inspiration!


  3. Happy Anniversary! Such an amazing journey you two have embarked on in life over the last 38 yrs and with this trek across America! Loved your story about the laundry mats-what observations! Life happening all around us all in so many different ways-we just have to be aware! 😊 Hope you’re days ahead are sunny!


  4. Happy 38th anniversary to a very inspiring couple! May the Lord grant you many more years of health and happiness. Thank you for sharing the beauty of God’s creation and people with us. Lots of love from Jamul!


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