The fourth edition of LaundryLove HB turned out to be a celebration of various sorts. Our charter member, Damian Kassoff celebrated his twelfth birthday and the sugar came pouring in. We had cupcakes and pan dulce, which all shared, and balloons which were given to the young and young at heart. Why are balloons so darn cheery?!
We also had an amazing number of guests! The line started early, by 6PM, and people brought duffels, garbage bags, backpacks, whatever worked to carry their clothes. Now just who among us has ever had a Laundromat birthday? Go Damian.
Also, this week we were joined by more young volunteers. In addition to Damian, his friend Matt came and brought his skateboard, a conversation piece and point of unification between he and one of our guests. Also, Leo from St. Wilfrid’s youth group joined us along with his mom Stacy.
I missed the King of Low Maintenance. This was the first week he didn’t make it. But we had other returnees who missed last month so it is my hope that the people we didn’t encounter this time will come again. A little community has begun to form and people are getting to know each other by name and personality.
A new arrival demonstrated talents for stylish and clever adjustment to circumstances. While waiting for his laundry to be completed in the machines, he told us about his digs. Apparently he was not the first resident here, but the original one was generous and kind enough to allow he and his brother to make camp in this ideal spot. I knew of places in Huntington Beach that preserved nature, but this one may have had a different purpose. Ice plant provides a soft mattress and pine trees a solid wind break and wall supports. Completely invisible from the street is a small compound housing three men who support and care for one another. He gave a complete description as to how the place was set up and I was reminded of playing house or Indians or movie stars when I was a child when we fashioned our own “houses” out of available materials. When his laundry was compete, he folded clothes so tightly, any drill sergeant would have approved and the making of a YouTube video occurred to me. Next time, I bring my computer.
Our dear friend from last week returned, our joyful hugger. This time, she brought her son. Although they are Egyptian, they could have been any American mother/son combo with she shooting warning looks and he rolling his eyes with an “Oh Ma” expression. He did his laundry. She undid his laundry. “This will never get clean!” “This will never get dry!”
Best of all, she brought us food. One of our team members mentioned an Egyptian dish he found memorable. Our friend quickly volunteered to make it. And so she did: a lovely combination of lentils, beans, macaroni, and hot sauce. We all indulged and delighted in her offering and the party continued.
Overall, a great success. We were able to wash 100 loads of laundry and served about 30 guests. We are growing. Come join us or drop a bit of cash for quarters or laundry soap on our website, hit the donate button to the side of this page. We would love to see you there. And we guarantee, you will leave changed with stories and memories that will stay with you long after the evening has passed. Connie Bouvier