We had an L.P.N. named Joan, working in the emergency room. She was a tall, dark haired Italian woman who frequently got into trouble when she scolded parents for allowing their children to be dirty. It wasn’t the everyday play dirty that would upset her; it was when the child was wearing layers of built up dirt and grime. She would give the child a bath and instruct the parent on how to keep a child clean. Sometimes she was very blunt and candid. She once told the parents of a beautiful little girl “If you can’t take better care of a child than this, you ought to consider giving her up for adoption.” Needless to say, this offended the parents and they picked up the child and headed for the exit. Joan, the L.P.N., crawled after them on her knees begging them to stay. They were insulted and left, taking their half washed, dirty child with them.
Joan would have given Mr. Kleen a run for his money any day of the week. She rarely took a vacation because her life was defined by the regularly scheduled cleaning days in her house. She also scrubbed her basement floor seams with a toothbrush. She cleaned her house with a routine of doing certain chores on certain days of the week.
An example of her obsession for cleaning came when her husband bought her a full length, white leather coat as a Christmas present. She wore it all winter, but when spring came, she decided that it was dirty. Did she take it to the dry cleaners? No!
Into the washing machine it went. The leather absorbed a huge amount of water. The coat became engorged and water logged. It filled the tub of her washer. Jean tried to remove it, but it had become so large she couldn’t budge it. “What am I going to do?” she thought. She was afraid to tell her husband what she had done. She climbed onto the top of the washing machine and straddled the opening. She began to tug and pull. Slowly it yielded. She managed to wiggle it out, bit by bit. Now what to do?
She double bagged the water logged mess and put it out on the curb for the trash men to collect. I can just imagine what was going through the garbage man’s head as he hefted the bag into the truck. I’m sure that he wanted to look for a dead body inside.