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8/24/2000

An excercise in remembering the

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:50 am

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An excercise in remembering the early years
When I was very young, my family had one of those old-fashioned washing machines, with the open drum and the mechanical wringer. We kept it in the bathroom, which was a step down from the rest of the house. The bathroom was pretty large, and was always cooler than the rest of the house. There was a tub in the center, the toilet, a shower in the corner, and the washing machine. Sometimes we’d store cases of soda that dad brought home from “The Pop Shop”, grape and strawberry and orange and other hard to find sodas. I don’t recall a dryer, so I guess we hung the clothes out on the line. I knew the masher was old, and was facinated by all the moving parts. My mother impressed upon me the knowledge that the wringer was very dangerous. I pictured my whole arm getting sucked in and squished flat, so I was always afraid of it. One day, the machine broke and could not get repaired, so we started going in to town to use the laundromat. There were two I remember going to. One was next door to my father’s service station (an Amoco he got caught owning during the ’70s oil embargo). [Side story: Once while my mom was laundry there, I got into talking with a stranger. I wasn’t supposed to do that, of course, but the man was pretty nice. He ended up buying me a candy or soda or something, and that got me into trouble. I had to sit by myself and wait for the laundry to finish. Later (that day? I don’t recall), we went to a fair. The fair had a pony ride, the type where the ponies are tied to a wheel and they walk around in circles all day. The man running the pony ride was the one I’d met at the laundromat. I thought that was significant at the time.] The other was in a space-age kind of building and had an old-time red fire engine parked in the playground. Kids could climb all over the truck while their parents were inside washing clothes. Near this laundromat was an Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips. (I’d thought the chain went out of business, but I see they’re still alive and kicking.) I don’t think we ate there but a few times, but it was a treat when we did. I absolutely loved the battered crispy fish, so long as it was drowning in malt vinegar. What’s the point of all this? I still love fast food fish, drowning in malt vinegar. Every so often, I stop in Captain D’s or Long John Silver’s, and as I eat, I think back to when I was very, very young.