East Side Stories:
© copyright 2012 by Sara Jacobelli
Reliable Laundry, where my Aunt Ruthie works, and her mother before her. It’s my first memory of something depressing: the heat, the laundry smell, the slanted floors, the ancient Irish, black, and Puerto Rican ladies coming out from the back to put pennies in the gumball machine for me and Ellen. The gumballs were unexplainably square. My brother Nicky would dramatically say, “They’re blinking at the light of day, with mangled arms from the machinery,” and we’d roll on the floor in hysterics. Each year the laundry jokes grow less funny. My aunt was my age, fourteen, when she went to work there.
Photo Credit: “Old Laundry,” by Darkhorse Winderwolf. CC License NonCommercial. Flickr.