Dirty Laundry

Sgt. Grit,

Remember in boot camp the scrub brush and the soapy water and the tables we scrubbed our clothes on. Some guys did this in Camp Geiger too! I went home after Camp Geiger on a bus from North Carolina with my sea bag and dirty laundry.

My mom went apesh-t when I emptied my sea bag on the Persian Living room carpet! She made me take it to the Chinese Laundry around the corner. Major cities had these Chinese hand laundry’s – that did predominately linens – table clothes – and shirts. The old Chinese gentleman spoke little English and gave you a receipt with Chinese characters on it for a stub. He weighed the sea bag – and bowed to me. Two days later I went to pick it up – and my mom paid back then like $20.00 (which was very expensive for those days – when a regular laundry would cost less than $5.00.) The Chinese guy went berserk yelling and screaming and pointing at me – the guy’s wife came out of the back to quiet him down – and calmly explained to me that my skivvies and utilities were so dirty I clogged the pipes when they cleaned the dirty clothes. My utilities were now sparkling – and my skivvies were bright white – rough socks were smooth to my skin. A rare treat for a Marine after boot camp.

Went to a few nice restaurants and met a nice girl at a military dance in the great city of New York – then alas – my leave was up – went to the Port Authority Bus Station in New York City – and the Marine went into survival mode carefully watching his wallet and his gear aboard the bus – as we trusted only other Marines to watch our backs.

Bruce Bender
1963-1967
Cpl USMC

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

15 comments


  • jim r. heath

    that is not how it was when I went through boot camp. we had to keep our stuff clean and in order.


  • Frank Everett

    I remember the concrete wash racks by the heads on the company street. Clothepins on the bills of our utility covers while we scrubbed and rinsed our uniforms. We would be led by our platoon guide as we yelled out our general orders only to be interrupted by the noisy amphib plane flying over frequently. Quite a teaching moment at MCRD San Diego in 1963.


  • STANLEY DZIUBA SGT OF MARINES

    NO SUCH THING AS CLOTHES PINS AT PI IN THE EARLY 60’S. WE USED TIE TIES MADE OUT OF NARROW PIECES OF ROPE,AND WOULD TIE ONE END TO THE GEAR, THE OTHER TO THE CLOTHES LINE. AH, THE GOOD OLD DAYS.


  • Arnold Cabral

    In reply to Frank Everett.
    Frank Everett do you remember when you was Boot Camp your Driii Sargeant when it was time to wake up yelling you got only 15 minutes to S.H.I.T. SHOWER, and SHAVE .


  • Chris Vail, Sgt., USMC, 1952 – 1958

    Ye Olde concrete wash stands at Parris Island (and I assume San Diego had them also) keeps popping up as favorite stories from boot camp. Yes, I too have a story about them. Plt. 529 at the University of Parris Island was at the wash stands one Sunday in late 1952 doing our domestic chores with the herringbone utilities. At some time during our cleaning exercise, the Jr. DI had us fall in formation at attention. For one hour at attention under the unforgiving South Carolina sun, he allowed the infamous SC sand fleas unlimited chow call upon our sweaty bodies. Since we knew the consequences for moving while at attention could be quite severe, not the first recruit took a shot at eliminating one of those pesky SOBs. Not a pleasant remembrance, but a remembrance indeed.


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