Happy Birthday

by Martha Elva Flores-Gardea (Mexico)

Making a local connection Mexico


Feb 23, 2018. I turned 37. It is definitely a memorable birthday. Few years ago Eduardo and I were talking about Lavamatica Campestre, and how much I loved doing the laundry there, I joked about having my birthday party with a beer while washing my clothes and everyone would be invited. Eduardo is not with us anymore and sadly, Lavamatica Campestre won’t be either in a few days. I don’t know how many people spent a birthday washing clothes there, but I’m glad that I had the chance to ‘celebrate’ this birthday there. It wasn’t the huge party with Heinekens that I dreamed about, but a very special one, visiting with my son, who now enjoyed playing with the new ruins of the place. A friend told me once that living in Buenos Aires was like living in the 60’s. Time preserved perfectly entire neighborhoods with the same families, businesses, architecture and essence. After his stay in Argentina he returned to Mexico City, leaving new family in Buenos Aires. “It was hard leaving the 60’s and getting back to the future.” I found my 60’s in Tijuana, in a real vintage Laundry Place that preserved to the very last day its magnificent and innovating architecture; eco wise designed in every functional detail, beautifully decorated with its original furniture and equipment from the late 60’s. There, in my 60’s, I lived many important experiences in my life. It was a second home to me for quite a while, happily washing, drying, folding clothes. Having coffee and noodles for dinner in a stunning old place, yet very warm and familiar. So sixties, so Tijuana. Pure history. It was the visionary idea of Mr. Leopoldo Vazquez of making a successful, ethical business to last forever. He built it that way, perfect from the inside out. After 45 years of service Lavamatica Campestre closed their doors forever. Every single time I went I fantasized the idea that it would’ve renovated and updated their equipment and eco technologies like solar panels, etc., but keeping the fascinating, vintage original charm of the place. To continue with the great example of success and community service. They always had (and still have) an enormous potential, but the future of this place will be very different. Most likely it will be demolished and built on top another ‘high luxury’ apartment building with many empty apartments, like so many others in this city. I never thought that getting back to the future would’ve be so hard. Happy 37, Flores!