The washing machine went out in our home one week ago. Not that there is ever a convenient time for this to happen, but the non-draining, leaking and rumbling washer decided to clock out the day after we returned from our week-long Wavehog camping trip.

Most men and children don’t understand that washing laundry after a week-long camping trip can be as tasking and twice as labor-intensive as preparing for the trip. My apologies in advance, for those men who do understand and help with those after-camping laundry duties.

My theory is that our washing machine sensed the excessive amount of incoming beach-soiled laundry traffic soon to appear and it self-destructed.

It has not yet been proven by modern-day science, but my theory is that for every one piece of clothing you take for camping, you somehow return with three times the mass of that amount when you return. We go with neatly packed suitcases filled with our clean clothes, half of which we never use, and several Tupperware cases filled with neatly stored beach towels and assorted bathroom necessities.

During the camping trip, building-contractor, 50-pound, industrial-strength size garbage bags are our dirty clothes storage containers. This might be unorthodox for some, but for us wavehogs a proud fact of packing camping efficiency.

Because my adult daughters, Nikki and Brenna, who live with me, handle all the before-and-after camping details, the washing machine non-functioning has been traumatic but offered the opportunity for a first-time visit to our neighborhood laundromat. I took it as an opportunity for a father-daughter lesson in family laundry washing history.

I offered that we could do laundry like I remember my Grandmother Ochoa doing laundry more than 60 years ago for my seven siblings in our garage in southeast Bakersfield.

I started with these words, tub of hot water, metal washing board, bar of soap, clothes pins and a clothes line. Nikki and Brenna vaguely remember the clothes line in our own backyard but the rest was completely foreign to them.

I explained to them that yes, we did have electricity and a car when we grew up, but we couldn’t afford a washing machine — which many considered to be a household luxury item back in the day. Doing laundry used to be a back-breaking, several-days-a-week chore that was considered one of the toughest household chores.

My grandma Ochoa, who was a saint, by the way, never complained. She turned hanging clothes in our Watts Drive backyard into a game that my brothers and sisters all enjoyed. There is nothing like running through a clothes line full of drying clothes, playing tag or hide and go seek with your grandma being the ring master of the clothes line. And for me, clothes that have been hung outside to dry smell and feel different.

I remember the day my dad surprised my grandma with a new washer and dryer. When he backed the truck up to our garage with the surprise, I saw my grandma cry. I thought she was sad because we wouldn’t be playing clothes-line games with her anymore.

Our repair man is due today. When you read this, my daughters might be extremely happy and having a washing party. Or they could be sadly gathering their quarters for the laundromat.

But just in case, worst-case scenario, does anyone know if Home Depot carries a 50 gallon tub for hot water, a metal washing board, bars of soap, clothes pins and a clothes line?

Happy washing!

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