During years of apartment living, I would pack up every item that needed washing and head off for my weekly trip to the laundromat.
“You have to go to the laundromat?” , friends would ask? But I never really minded it (once I got there). Sit and wait, read, munch, daydream – while every item that needed washing was getting washed.
And that very fact – that every item that needed washing was washed – and now clean – and ready to go – satisfied me and made it all worthwhile.
For years now I’ve had my own laundry room, right off the kitchen – accessible, easy – for which I remain forever appreciative and grateful.
That’s why I was so moved by a story on the national news a few days ago about a junior high school in St. Louis. The principal was struggling with very low attendance with so many children just not showing up.
She made it her goal to find out why.
She personally went in to the neighborhoods to ask these children the reasons why they were not coming to school. The one reason that came up repeatedly from the children was “I have nothing clean to wear to school”
They had no washing machines in their homes, laundromats are pricey, clothes were limited, and money was very scarce – often used to provide food for the family.
So this determined principal went to work – right to the source – contacted Whirlpool who donated two large washing machines and dryers to the school. Students who requested one were given a laundry bag to bring their items to be washed with them to school. Volunteers and teachers washed them and returned them to the students.
There you go – clean clothes.
Besides feeling relieved and grateful for having clean clothes to wear, these children felt significant, embraced, included.
Attendance rose substantially as did the attention, participation, and response of these same formerly reticent, invisible children.
Have to remember – never forget –
Doing laundry – having clean clothes – a special gift.