First Person: Laundry lady comes clean

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Mary Romero, 47, of Clovis enjoys shopping with her daughters on Saturdays.

Editor’s note: The first Laundromat in the U.S. was opened 74 years ago today. Some say it was in Fort Worth, Texas, others in Fort Wayne, Ind., according to

Mary Romero, 47, of Clovis is a Laundromat attendant. It’s her job to keep the place clean and in working order. As an added perk, she gets to do her laundry while at work.

Double time: This is the second time I’ve worked here. This time it’s been two years and three months.

Romero’s resume: I’ve done a little bit of everything. Baby-sitting, house cleaning, worked at nursing homes, waitressing.

Family ties: My husband knew my mom before I was born. He worked at the Hotel Clovis with her years ago.

Prenuptial warning: Before we got married 24 years ago, I warned him, I can’t cook. I can clean your house, scrub your floors, do your laundry, I can even dig a ditch. But I cannot cook. But his mom taught him how to cook, so I got lucky. I’ve learned a lot from him. And now after 24 years of marriage, I can cook a three-course meal.

Peace and quiet: I spend my time with my husband, three daughters and five grandchildren. But now that my daughters are grown, we are living alone together for the first time in 24 years. It’s nice that it’s just us now. We just enjoy each other.

It’s about time: I spend more time with my grandchildren than I do money on them. With the way prices are now, you know, we just live our lives the best we can.

The little things: My grandson, Xavier, he’s 2 years old. He goes and plays on the merry-go-round and he comes to me “Nana, nana!” and takes me over there. And he’s showing me something that to me is nothing important, but to him, his face is lit up like he won the lottery. Little things like that make my day.

Saturdays are special: We’re girls, so me and my daughters go to lunch and go shopping. We go to garage sales and used stores.

— Compiled by Liliana Castillo