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

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15 comments


  • Jerry Tomaschik, Cpl, USMC ’81-’85

    I remember those racks at 2nd Battalion Parris Island, but in ’81 we just used them to smoke around when the D.I.’s would tell us the smoking lamp was lit. Our laundry was separated into 2 fart sacks and hauled off. One sack for greens and one for whites.


  • Bobby Hartless

    n reply to Kelly.
    Summer of 79 was the same with Wisk and a brush in San Diego. Remember beating a pair of boots to “break them in” on the racks as well.


  • H.Young

    The 5 minutes we got to do the three S’s left a forever memory… To this day I will not be rushed to s–t… I have 5 kids and they all know once the throne room door closes “Do Not Disturb”…… L/Cpl H. Young, 65/69 Semper Fi…


  • Bob Rader

    I recall five esses (5 S)…shit, shine, shave, shower and shampoo. This was in the early 50’s.


  • RJ Blett, Jr. 61-64 Semper Fi

    In ’61 at MCRDSD there were only 4 esses – Shine was saved for “relaxation” time


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