I always think it odd how something I see can trigger a long forgotten memory. One of the chores I tackled after returning from my road trip was taking a comforter that was too large to fit in my washer and dryer to the laundromat. I started it to wash and then ran a small errand, returning to amuse myself with my cell phone while the wash finished. As I put it in the dryer I noticed a lady sitting there watching the dryer spin with her clothes inside. She was eating an ice cream bar. I looked around and there was a vending machine at the back of the laundromat that sold ice cream. I wished that there was a soda machine as I was really thirsty and thought to myself that a cold soft drink would be a nice treat while the comforter dried. That's when the memory was triggered. I sat there watching the dryer spin and thinking back to a long, long time ago when I was drinking a cold soft drink in a laundromat.
Many summers ago I was very young and newly married and had no washer or dryer, or really anything else come to think of it. So one afternoon each week I had to load the laundry in the car and go to the nearby laundromat. The laundromat wasn't air-conditioned and it was summer time. The lack of air-conditioning in the laundromat didn't really concern me. Our duplex had a window unit air-conditioner in the living room, but it was expensive to run and only barely cooled the living room. If it got really hot during the afternoon I would go to see my Mother or walk around in one of the malls. That's just the way it was.
After I started the various loads of wash I would pull an empty soda bottle out of the laundry supplies and some change from the laundry coins and go next door to the convenience store. Just to note here, at that time most soft drinks were sold in bottles. If you bought a bottle or bottles, you either had to pay a deposit on the bottle or turn in an empty bottle. This was recycling and re-use in an early fashion, but we didn't think of it that way at that time. I think the deposit was either a nickel or dime and I always had a bottle in the laundry supplies. Usually I would select a Big Red (a red colored carbonated drink loaded with caffeine that you either despise or love), but sometimes just stuck with a Coca-Cola or a RC. I would get back to the laundromat just in time to add the liquid fabric softener as the rinse cycle started (dryer sheets were years away). I would sit and sip the cold drink, enjoying the cool carbonated beverage while my clothes were spinning around. By the time I finished the drink the last few sips would be warm and my clothes would be just about ready to start folding. The empty bottle went back into the supplies for the next week.
Drinking a cold drink on a hot afternoon while sitting in a laundromat. It was a simple thing, long forgotten. Today, I'm thankful for the washer and dryer that sit in my laundry room, just off the kitchen. But I'm thankful for the laundromat from long, long ago; experiences like that shaped me into who I am today.