Charlie High: Life among the laundry
By: Marisa Gwidt
(Originally published in The News-Gazette, May 28, 2012)
While reporting and writing this piece, I learned that stories are everywhere. A lack of story ideas is due only to a lack of observation.
– Marisa Gwidt
“Oh, boy,” Charlie High sighs as he watches a college student drag in four
heaping bags of laundry. “She won’t finish in time.”
It’s 9:50 on a Monday night at Starcrest Cleaners in Champaign. Charlie’s
supposed to lock the doors at 11. Yet here is this young woman, opening a
silver front-loader and preparing to toss in a load of darks. Charlie, 67
years old, hobbles over in cuffed, faded jeans and intervenes.
“Uh-uh,” he mutters to the student, shaking his head as though she were
about to make a grave mistake. “I recommend that one,” he says, pointing
to another washer outwardly identical.