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!

16 comments


  • Robert McLeod

    You are not getting old! The story about the dirty laundry was posted before.


  • Sgt. Robert L Sisson

    In reply to Harold Allie.
    You sure are right $20. was a lot of money back then. I started in the steel mill June 1966 and was making $2.68 an hour. I think they were trying to tell you DON’T COME BACK.


  • Jack Wing USMC (Ret)

    I still remember, but most don’t. In 1958 when I was in Boot camp, first battalion Plt.# 137 we had people that were caught who would bite their finger nails. The Di’s would make them wear the black leather gloves for at least a week (24 hours a day)..The fire watches had to inspect them while on duty. These poor souls had do everything with gloves on! Showers, Mess Hall and even washing clothing on the wash racks! The skivvies turned black from the gloves and it was not a pleasant scene !!!


  • Harold Allie

    Am i getting old or has this been posted before?


  • Andy Anderson

    After returning from Korea in late 1950 and being stationed at NAS-Corpus Christi Marine Barracks, I was transferred to what is now known as Camp Geiger, in 1951. Then it was called Tent Camp. I became a member the Anti-Aircraft Battery in Supply. That’s where I made Sgt.. Have some fond memories of the time in J-Ville and surrounding area. Accepted Honorable Discharge in June 1952. Semper Fi!


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