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Watching Clothes Dry in the Drier - Accepting a Writing Challenge

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The Challenge ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The challenge was a result LET-OUT in billybuc's one hundred and nineteenth Mail-bag.

The question was whether he thought a good writer could make the most boring of subjects interesting, and the question was asked by Ann Carr (a.k.a. Annart) a fellow Hubber and dear friend.


~ ~ ~ Watching Clothes Dry in the Drier ~ ~ ~

The child sat in the Tidy Clean Laundromat, staring at the drier. Emma had seen this same child in the last couple of weeks when she came in to wash her clothes, she had seen her someplace else, but could not remember when or where.

The child of maybe four or five years old had golden hair that needed brushing and clothes that needed washing and looked as if she could stand a little TLC.

Is her mother in here? Emma wondered and looked around, but couldn’t see anyone who looked as if the little girl could belong to them. Maybe she belonged to the family who owned the Laundromat.

Emma sat down beside the little girl and said “hi my name is Emma, what’s yours?” The child sat stone still and did not move or blink, still staring at the drier, almost as if she were inside. Maybe she is taught not to talk to strangers Emma thought, and moved away to finish her laundry.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The Cardin's ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Cardin’s, Emma and Clint had just moved to town and rented a small apartment near the Tidy Clean Laundromat in the quiet middle class neighborhood. Both had acquired jobs in the hospital also nearby Clint as lab technician and Emma got her first nursing job since graduation from nursing school a few weeks before.

For the next two weeks Emma saw the little girl sitting and watching the clothes in the drier, when she tried to talk to her the little girl acted as if she did not hear her. She wondered if the people who owned the laundromat were her guardians and decided to ask them. Emma knocked on the door to the back room and an Oriental woman came to the door and Emma asked if she knew who the child belonged to.

The owner of the Laundromat told Emma that once a week the child came in with an elderly man and he and the child played cards and signed to each other all the time laughing while he washed his clothes.

The old man wrote a note telling the owner that his daughter did not treat his granddaughter right and that he had taken her away from her mother, his daughter, and he was afraid of what would happen to the child if something should happen to him, then came the day the child came in alone sat down and watched the driers, then she came in more and more often and always alone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Silence is Golden ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The child must be deaf, Emma thought and the following day Emma went to the library and borrowed some books on sign language, and finger spelling and hurried to the laundromat. She learned how to sign her previous question, fingerspelling her name. . Emma knelt in front of the child and took her hands and the child had such a forlorn look in her beautiful emerald eyes it made tears come to Emma’s eyes. As she began to speak at the same time signing to the child the forlorn look was replaced with a spark of excitement in the little girls eyes and she finger spelled her name “Mindy” and some other signs that Emma had not learned…but, she had learned to sign every question she wanted to ask.

Mindy, where is you grandfather? In heaven she replied in sign language.

Where is your mother? At home, Mindy signed.

And you come here alone Emma signed? Momma says when my uncles come; “go play in the street or you can go watch clothes dry just get lost for a while.”

That is so sad, don’t you get bored watching the drier? Oh no! I see grandpa in the drier and he is happy and has his own house with a flower garden with snapdragons and he has a dog, but he misses me, Mindy answered.

Do you have food to eat? Emma signed as the tears rolled down her face. Momma brings me a happy meal, but sometimes she forgets, Mindy answered in signs…

Would you like to go home with me and be my little girl? Emma signed. Can you take me to your house so we can ask your momma? Momma will be mad it is too early.

How about if we order pizza and we can go talk to your Momma when it is time? Oh yes Mindy signed!

Scroll to Continue

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Looking inside the drier ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I look into the drier

But, the clothes I do not see

I see a world that encompasses the heart of me

To see what was and never again will be

The drier is a portal to the past

And when I look inside I see

The love when someone cared for me

Someone who saw the heart inside of me.

— Shyron Shenko

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The Stipend ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mindy ate her fill, and then she signed that they could go to her home to meet her Momma.

This was grandpa’s house, and then when he went to heaven Momma moved in to take care of me, but Momma don’t like me, as she opened the door and Emma stepped into clutter.

Jennifer walked into the darkened room, who are you? What are you doing in my house? What has the brat been telling you about me?

I am Emma Cardin, I came to meet you and ask if Mindy could come visit me for a while, Mindy didn’t tell me anything about you, she said she lived with her grandfather but he went to Heaven.

Jennifer yelled at Emma, you are after the stipend, even in death the old coot has the lawyer control the purse strings.

Get out, I’ve told you to much already. I am going to call the police if you don’t get out.

Emma turns to go, and Mindy cries out Emma, Emma don’t leave me.

Keep your Stipend, just give me Mindy….

As she left, Emma knew she had given Mindy false hope and at her and Clint's apartment she sobbed the whole story to Clint.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The Agreement ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The following day she passed by the Tidy Clean Laundromat, which was empty. The weekend came and still no sign of Mindy. She thought of calling DCFS, but thought better of it.

On Monday at the time she usually went by the laundromat on her way home from work, she could not believe her eyes Mindy was there but she was not alone Jennifer was there with a distinguished man, who turned out to be trustee of Mindy’s grandfather’s will.

When she entered the laundromat Mindy leaped into her arms, the lawyer had papers for Emma to sign and she would become Mindy’s guardian, Jennifer agreed to giving Mindy half of the Stipend if she could keep the house.

Mindy became Mindy Cardin.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The Surprise ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The bride with sparkling eyes, blows a kiss to her Momma Emma as Daddy Clint walks her down the aisle. And a distinguished guest with a briefcase by his side, waits to deliver the surprise inside.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Other Hubbers who answered this Challenge ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

© 2016 Shyron E Shenko


C E Clark from North Texas on August 25, 2021:

Truly imaginative and keeps one's interest. Really wish you would turn it into a full length book.

Posting this to A/H.

Hope you and yours are staying well. Blessings, dear friend . . .

C E Clark from North Texas on March 01, 2021:

Watching clothes dry in the dryer seems restful and peaceful compared to how it was when Trump was tweeting all the time. He's at it again. Not tweeting, but causing trouble in general. Seems the first reports on his finances are coming out and he made more money during his years as president than in all of his life before. More than a Billion $.

Now that he's discovered political pacs he's using them to screw people out of their money. He'll probably spoil it for everyone else by abusing them, and then they'll be ended. Since it's so easy to abuse them and be dishonest operating them, they probably should be done away with. They obviously weren't set up very well to begin with if someone like Trump can come along and abuse them so easily.

Posting this to AH & FB.

Hope all is well with you. Warmed up quite a bit since the rolling blackouts and after tomorrow should be pretty good weather for several days. Not looking forward to spring because it's usually too hot for me already by then.

Blessings, dear friend. Hope we can keep the incidences of new Covid infections going down until it's mostly eradicated. Stay well!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 01, 2020:

Would that all stories like this would have such a happy ending . . . I mean the real stories, of course, as their endings are more difficult to control.

Must confess, I'm still in awe that you could come up with such an interesting and uplifting story about watching clothes dry. Posting this to FB & AH.

This story caught my eye as I've just been to the laundromat a couple of days ago.

Blessings, dear friend. Be safe . . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on June 28, 2020:

Thank you Au fait for all that you do for me, you are an amazing friend.

Blessings and hugs.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 27, 2019:

Came back to post this amazing story on FB and AH. I don't know of anyone else who could write such an interesting story about clothes drying at the laundromat.

I'm glad you are staying busy and finding interesting things to do. I hope all is well. Blessings dear friend . . .

C E Clark from North Texas on December 17, 2018:

I really hope you do make it into a book because it is very good and I would like to read more. Have to say that all of the "challenges" you have undertaken on this site regarding stories have been really excellent. Every one of them should be fleshed out into books.

Plan to post this on FB and Awesome HubPages.

Hope all is well with you and that you will have the happiest Christmas you can under the circumstances. Hope you will be with family and/or friends to hopefully make it a little easier. Blessings always. Take care . . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on September 19, 2018:

Au fait, thank you so much for the confidence in me that I could flesh this story out into a book, I will definitely keep this in mind and who knows.

I hope all is well with you.

Blessings my dear friend.

C E Clark from North Texas on September 01, 2018:

This is a very interesting story and the characters are fantastic. I hope you'll have the time to flesh this story out into a book one of these days.

Blessings dear friend. I hope everything is well with you.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on June 07, 2018:

Au fait, thank you for the comments and compliments.

I agree it seems like ten years and it may take ten years or more to repair the damage done to our beautiful country.

Blessings to you my dear friend.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 24, 2018:

I think we've all been in situations where time seemed to move really slow. Seems like Trump has been in office for 10 years already, and yet we still most likely have 3 years to go! And that in spite of the fact that he creates at least 3 disasters everyday, so time should be going fast in that case, shouldn't it?

You and J.K.Rowling are the only people I know who can create such interesting diverse characters. I hope you'll have the time one day to expand on this story and turn it into a book.

Blessings to you and John. Hope everything is the best it can be. Take care . . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on January 22, 2017:

Nell, it is so good to see you again, thank you for the comment. I am so glad you love my story.

Blessings my friend.

Nell Rose from England on January 22, 2017:

Aw that was awesome! I am glad little deaf Mindy got a new mom! Love your story!

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on December 17, 2016:

Flourish, thank you so much for the compliment and comment, I am so glad that you enjoyed this. I know someone like this and her little girl she abused and sued her babysitter claiming that she abused her daughter, I am so glad I refused to babysit for her. But I suspected her abuse, I did not know for sure until years later.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 17, 2016:

Somehow I missed this. It is beautiful. There are so many children who are just looking for adults to care about them. I wish we such adults could be connected with them easily. It always seems like there's an abusive or addicted parent in the wings who is jealous and possessive or concerned about money sources and doesn't want a positive influence in the child's life. You did such an impressive job with this challenge.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on December 13, 2016:

Chris, thank you for the comment, and compliment, you don't know how much I appreciate you and your friendship.

Blessings my friend.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 12, 2016:

Shyron, You did it. You made watching clothes dry into a very compelling story. It never ceases to amaze me what can materialize from the sketchiest of ideas. You did a great job with this.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on December 03, 2016:

mr rooshdy12 thank you for sharing this and

Blessings and hugs

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on December 03, 2016:

Au fait, thank you so much for the comment, so happy to see you, I have missed you, hope all is well with you and that you had a good Thanksgiving.

All is not well here but under control except I think my appendix is acting up.

Thank you for the compliment, this just might become a book, when I have the time. DCFS stands for Department of Children and Family Services.

Blessings and Hugs always my Dear friend

C E Clark from North Texas on December 03, 2016:

Only you could make watching a dryer at the laundromat interesting! What is DCFS? Also, curious about the significance of spelling dryer, 'drier.' You really have to spell things out for me as I don't get hints very well.

A great story and I have to give you a lot of credit because I would never have thought of such an interesting story built around a dryer in a laundromat, nor could I create such interesting characters. You brought them all alive. Not everyone has these talents and you're so lucky to have them. I recommend you expand on this entire story and make a book about it.

Haven't heard from you in so long, I hope everything is ok there and that you are both well.

mr rooshdy12 on December 01, 2016:

thank you my dear friend for the comment and the tweet very nice i share in website

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 26, 2016:

Patricia, I am so pleased that Heston Wayne was pleased with the pennies. Sending Blessings and hugs to you both.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 23, 2016:

just stopping by to say hope you and your family have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

I let Heston Wayne open the penny envelope you sent....he struggled with it a bit because he is weak (I loosened them a bit for him and explained why they were on so securely). He nice of her, his words.

Love and hugs ps

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 22, 2016:

Dear Peggy, thank you for the comments an complement, I really do appreciate you,

Happy Thanksgiving, Blessings and hugs.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 22, 2016:

Patricia, thank you for letting me know that you received my card. Give our precious hero a kiss and hug for me.

Blessings and hugs to you and never ever give up hope. Happy Thanksgiving.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 22, 2016:

Devika, thank you my dear friend for the comment and the tweet, I appreciate you.

Blessings my dear friend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 20, 2016:

What a fabulous and heartwarming story you created! I loved least after Mindy was taken care of in a loving manner. Great ending. It leaves it open to speculation but I am guessing that Mindy inherits quite a bit from her grandfather. Happy Thanksgiving Shyron.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 20, 2016:

Shyron..received your card in the mail am taking to my baby Heston Wayne tomorrow. I want him to open the inside card.

Your care and concern mean so much....thank you thank you

Wishing you blessings for a lovely Thanksgiving ps

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 18, 2016:

A beautiful story! You shared the challenge so intelligently. I Tweeted!

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 17, 2016:

Hi Glenda, I miss not seeing you also. Shush, don't tell.

Love ya, also

Glenda on November 17, 2016:

Hi Shyron, missed you the other day __ me thinks you came close this time.

Say hi,!

Love ya!

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 14, 2016:

Shauna, I answered your comment but it disappeared.

Remember when Jennifer said "in death the old coot has the lawyer control the purse strings." The distinguished lawyer waited at the Laundromat to give Emma custody, then the distinguished guest at Mindy's wedding, maybe on her birthday to give Mindy the bulk of her inheritance. I don't think Jennifer would have told her daughter.

Blessings and hugs dear friend, and thank you for the comment.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 14, 2016:

What a beautiful story, Shyron! What really impressed me was what watching clothes dry meant to Mindy. That was very creative and insightful on your part.

I'm dying to know what surprise awaited Mindy at her wedding. Will you do a follow-up or can you just spill the beans now?

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 06, 2016:

The following comment came up as anonymous but is was from me for fphej48 (i.e. my dear friend Paula.)

Paula my dear friend, I truly appreciate your comment and compliment. If I am the queen of challenges you my dear friend are the queen of comments.

Blessings and hugs.

anonymous on November 06, 2016:

Paula my dear friend, I truly appreciate your comment and compliment. If I am the queen of challenges you my dear friend are the queen of comments.

Blessings and hugs.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 06, 2016:

Martie, thank you so much, I do appreciate your comment. I too am glad Mindy found a safe haven in Emma and Clint.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 06, 2016:

You are so welcome Ann.

Blessings and hugs

Suzie from Carson City on November 06, 2016:

Shyron, You have to be the queen of challenges. You always accept it and then turn out a fabulous story. This one is stunning and creative. Without a doubt it is heart warming. Perfect to be made into a Hallmark movie.

So imaginative with the happy ending that I hope for! Bravo!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 06, 2016:

Beautiful story! I am so glad Mindy became Miss Cardin. May she always follow the example of her guardians and not that of her incompetent biological mother.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 04, 2016:

Thanks, Shyron. I've added Chris' link to my hub.


Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 03, 2016:

Dear Ann, thank you for your kind comment, and complement. Here is the link to Cam8510 answer to your challenge: It is so different from all the others.

Blessings and hugs dear friend.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 02, 2016:

Delightful story, Shyron! Thank you for responding to my challenge.

This is so different from the rest and I like the slant you put on the theme. Lucky Mindy to find someone who cared enough to do something about it.

Well done! Oh yes, and the poem is fantastic!

Thanks also for putting a list of other responses. I haven't been notified of many of these, sadly, so I'm going to copy it so that I can read them all.


Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 01, 2016:

Peg, thank you for your kind comment, I really, really appreciate you. I am so glad you loved the story.

Blessings and hugs dear friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 01, 2016:

Dear Theresa, thank you so much for he comment, I really appreciate you and your visit.

Blessings and Hugs.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 01, 2016:

Dana, thank you so much for the comments.

Yes there are so many Mindy(s) out there, wish we could find an Emma for each and every one.

Blessings and hugs dear friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 01, 2016:

Ruby, Ruby my beautiful friend

Watching clothes dry is at the top of the mundane

Unless one can dream

And in the drier picture a scene

That brings comfort and love

Almost like guidance from above

To ease the pain of the loss



Thank you for the compliment an comment, I really appreciate you .

Blessings my dear friend

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on November 01, 2016:

This heartwarming story shines with your usual talent and kindness, Shyron. You've captured the imagination on a topic that would challenge most writers. Loved the story and the way you turned it into something magical.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 31, 2016:

Hello Mike, thank you so very much for the comment, you have no idea how much I appreciate you!

A Happy and Blessed Halloween to you also.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 31, 2016:

Rodric, I don't know if I have the time to take this further, it will all depend on how hubby's test turn out, he is my miracle man, and I will have to work around all his problems, but I will be sure to take your advice into consideration.

It is admirable that you wish to adopt a child, and if you go to a home for unwed mothers you might find someone who would allow you to adopt her baby, like my friend's daughter in my story "From a Glimmer of Hope to Keeping Faith," written after "A Glimmer of Hope" where my friend lost her only granddaughter and the next one is where she found another.

I wish you well my friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 31, 2016:

Bill, thank you so much for the comment and I am humbled by the complement. There are so many loving and caring people here on HP.

Blessings to you and yours always

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 31, 2016:

Shyron, this is a special story of a sad reality of too many Mindy's out there needing a loving family. I'm glad they found each other! Heartfelt response to Ann's challenge.


Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on October 31, 2016:

There so many Mindy's out there. We wish we could save them all. Enjoyable read, with a happy ending.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 31, 2016:

Oh Shyron this one tugged at my heart strings, so vey clever! I can't think of anything more boring than watching clothes drying

Mindy needed a friend so badly

God's angel sent a woman to set her free

Of an uncaring mother whose greed was not hidden away

Mindy found love in a beautiful way.

This is one of your very best. Loved it my poetic friend..

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 31, 2016:

Hello Shyron - you made the story come alive. Happy Halloween.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on October 31, 2016:

This was tastefully done, and excited my imagination! I was looking for Mindy! I was so afraid when Mind did not show up at the Laundry that I considered called child protective services myself! I really fell into the story and I hope that you would develop it further. You could do so much with this gem which strikes a chord with me. I want to adopt, my wife and I. So, I might be a little biased. Great addition to the annart hub challenge!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 31, 2016:

Proof positive that no situation or prompt goes wasted when a creative writer is in the building. This was touching...loving...a perfect reflection of you.

blessings always

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 30, 2016:

John, thank you for the comment, and compliment, I am glad you enjoyed my story, I do appreciate you.

Blessings my friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 30, 2016:

Maria, my beautiful friend, thank you for reading and for your comment and compliment.

I too love Ooh Child, and that is what they played at my friend Linda's Memorial.

Hoping your Halloween is filled with fun and all the things that make you feel good.

Blessings and hugs my dear friend.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 30, 2016:

This is a touching story, Shyron and great response to Ann's challenge. I enjoyed it.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 30, 2016:

Oh Shyron,

This story tugs at my heart... Mindy Cardin found the perfect parents to love her.

LOVE 'Ooh Child'...what a perfect accompaniment.

Hoping your Halloween is filled with plenty of treats - like you've given us in this story. Love, Maria

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