In the fall of 1993 I went from being a married homeowner in Studio City to a devastated single woman in the throes of divorce and an intensely painful season of personal growth in Seal Beach.
I felt as if I'd suddenly been thrust back into my college days, renting an apartment from a disturbed landlady and *gasp* reduced to taking my dirty clothes to the laundromat.
Instead of walking mere steps to a washing machine off the kitchen, I was forced to load up my little Corolla with pounds of soiled wash, detergent, fabric softener, hangers...
I think I managed to go about 5 weeks before I bit the bullet and made the initial trek to the laundromat that I remembered from my visits to Aunt Charlo as a child. There was the familiar owner, Laundry Bob, bad hairpiece in place, old movies playing on the VCR, ready to receive my fluff and fold.
He was a little taken aback by the sheer poundage of my offering.
I came back later that afternoon to find everything clean and folded.
I left behind lots of $$$$$.
I didn't do fluff and fold after that.
I soon fell into a laundry routine. After I went through my 30 pairs of underpants I would load everything up (a parking place in the vicinity of my Ocean Avenue home was a real bonus), fill the machines, feed them the quarters, take my car to the car wash immediately adjacent to the laundromat, move the wash to the driers, do my marketing at the adjacent Vons, fold my clothes, leave.
It was a happy day in the FlutePrayer household when I devised a way to wash my jeans in the sink and get them dried OVERNIGHT. Once I mastered that trick I could go much longer between visits (5 months was my personal best).
One day I went to the laundromat to discover a sign that read, "GONE FISHING!!!!". Laundry Bob had up and abandoned his business. No more friendly greetings, no more Myrna Loy movies, no more amiable conversation.
There was another laundromat at the other end of town. It was cold, clinical, and impersonal. It creeped me out to go there, but I had no other choice.
New owners eventually took over Laundry Bob's location. They completely gutted the old place, installed dazzling new machines, didn't raise the prices too, too much, and were very nice people.
I was just SO TIRED of having my undergarments on parade for all to see.
Fast forward to July 2002. Quite by chance (heh heh - I don't believe in chance), a Muni Band colleague inquired about my housing situation. He knew I'd been trying to relocate for some time with no results. When I said I was still looking, an odd look passed across his face. He had friends who had recently purchased a home and were moving soon. Was I interested in their old place?
I remember the first time I entered my current home. With 2 bedrooms and vaulted ceilings it looked like a PALACE compared to my small, dark, creepy apartment hidden by a monster ivy plant (but that's another story). As the current tenants ushered me about I noticed, in the midst of my euphoric haze, LAUNDRY HOOK-UPS!!!!
Thanks to Muni Band audience members Ed and Betty I was able to purchase a washer and drier from someone who was moving into their building in Redondo Beach whose home did not have room for his present large capacity machines.
I remember moving day. 10 men from my church arrived in Seal Beach with numerous pick-up trucks, carefully stowed my possessions, and took them to my new Signal Hill abode. I remember my friend Jerry C. carefully positioning my "new" washer and drier and connecting the vent. Once everything was in place, a mountain of laundry stood IN MY HALLWAY. As I placed the first load into the washer, added the detergent and fabric softener, shut the lid and turned on the machine, it happened. I was doing the Laundry Dance, whooping and cavorting around my new home. While my dirty laundry was transformed into clean, I was ABLE TO DO SOMETHING ELSE IN MY OWN HOME. When the clothes emerged from the drier, I WAS ABLE TO FOLD MY UNDERWEAR WITHOUT ANYONE ELSE SEEING IT.
I've never taken my machines for granted again.
I've got a load of wash in right now. And do you know what I'm doing?
I'm rocking the Laundry Dance!