Julie’s plantation laundry

During the early 1960s, Julie Beralas of Lihue Camp A, assisted by her eldest daughter, Ginger, and her niece, Camellia Ditch, earned extra income by doing the laundry for five single Filipino men who worked for Lihue Plantation.

Dirty laundry from each man generally consisted of a rice bag filled with three khaki work pants, three long-sleeve shirts, five boxer shorts and five handkerchiefs.

Julie charged 50 cents to launder each pair of pants. Shirts were 25 cents each, a pair of shorts cost 10 cents, and handkerchiefs were 5 cents apiece.

On Friday afternoons at about 4 p.m., they would collect the laundry from the men by car, beginning by picking up Tata Tabocol’s and Tata Louie’s laundry in Lihue Camp, situated immediately south of Poinciana Street.

Then they’d head up to Tata Nicholas’ house in Kealia Camp, located across from Kealia Beach.

Next, they’d drive to Tata Matias’ place in Kapaa, and lastly, to Willy Azevedo’s house in Kapaa Stable Camp on Kaapuni Road.

At home, the clothing was marked with its owner’s name and pre-soaked with detergent overnight in a cement tub to loosen grime and dirt from the sugar cane fields.

On Saturday morning, they would take the pre-soaked laundry out of the cement tub and separate it into two bundles — one bundle of work pants and a second bundle of the remaining dirty laundry.

The two bundles would be washed separately in a washing machine that had a clothes-wringer on top consisting of hard rubber rollers.

Following the wash, the whites were soaked in a tub filled with “Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing” diluted with water. Afterwards, clothes to be starched went into a soaking tub containing starch and water. Finally, the laundry was hung outside to dry.

By Saturday afternoon, unless it rained, all laundry had dried and was taken off the clotheslines. On Sunday morning, they ironed all laundry by noon and delivered it by car.

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