Laundry Day in London by
50
(78 Stories)

Prompted By Door-to-Door Sales

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories

Remembering gentler times when we weren’t so wary of door-to-door salesmen and had more trust in the kindness of strangers,  I think about laundry day in London.

In the early 1970s my husband had the chance to work there for a year and we grabbed it!

I took a leave of absence from my teaching job,  we sublet our apartment,  and packed up our raincoats and brollies.   We couldn’t take our cat unless we quarantined him first for six months,  so we boarded him instead with my mother-in-law.

We rented a lovely little flat with a garden off the Kings Road in Chelsea,  and so began our London sojourn!

To keep me busy while Danny was at work,  I decided to take some courses and discovered a wonderful school called City Lit on fabled Drury Lane that offered adult ed,  non-matric classes.  I signed up for Survey of British Lit,  History Tours of London,  and in an attempt to improve my culinary skills,   Intro to Cookery.    My classes met three mornings a week and I happily found much else to do in Londontown to fill the rest of my time.

Our little flat had no washer & dryer,  so once a week I took our laundry to Sketchley’s Cleaners on the Kings Road.  There was a stop in front of Sketchley’s for the bus that took me to Drury Lane,  so it made good sense to drop the laundry on mornings I had class,  and then hop on the bus.

But the first time I carried my laundry bag to the cleaners I discovered they weren’t open yet.  I didn’t have time to run back home and still get to class on time,  and the other option was taking my dirty laundry with me on the bus to school.

I stood on the sidewalk pondering what to do when another chap approached,  also carrying a bulging laundry bag.

”I’m afraid they’re still closed.”,  I told him.

”I know Luv,”,   he said,  “just leave it here,  they’ll collect it when they come to open up.”

And so I left my laundry bag on Sketchley’s doorstep next to his.

No one back in New York would believe this,  I thought.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!
www.WorldThruBrownEyes.com

Visit Author's Website



Tags: London

Comments

  1. Suzy says:

    This is a fun story, Dana. Even though it isn’t about door-to-door sales, our prompt made you think of it. That’s the purpose of the prompts in general – to remind you of a story from your past that you might not otherwise have thought of. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Interesting direction, Dee. All these stories have really been making me miss “the good old days,” but I have a strong feeling that strangers are just as kind now, it’s our view of them that has changed. Maybe ignorance WAS bliss.

  3. Marian says:

    Dana, this is a hoot, and indeed no one in New York would believe it. I love your take on door-to-door!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    First, I love that you had that year to explore London and take those wonderful courses. But to the point of your story, it is true…it would be UNHEARD OF to just trust that no one would walk off with your laundry, were you to leave it in front of a shop in any large US city, even though this was a while ago. What a fun story, Dana! I suspect things would be different now, even in London.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    I enjoyed this reflection on more trusting times, Dana, when you could literally leave your laundry “door-to-door” and not worry someone would steal it. After reading Charles’s story, yours was a refreshing reminder that the some people could be trusted.

  6. Charming story, Dana. What a sweet opportunity-your time in London sounds exciting and filled with learning. A nostalgia look at how much trust we have lost in our communities.

Leave a Reply