Posted by: SJS | May 23, 2012

A homemade washing machine on Samar, 1945

In one of my early phone conversations with Tom Saffles of Alabama in 2010, he delighted in telling me about a homemade washing machine that he and Red had made on Samar.  “I think I’ve got a picture of it somewhere,” he told me.  About two weeks later, I received a copy of a worn out, faded photo that revealed the two PT radiomen proudly kneeling next to their creation.  While the details are a bit grainy, what comes through are the smiles on their faces and what looks like a trash can-sized bucket attached to some kind of motor by a fan belt.Red, Tom, & the homemade washing machine

“It didn’t look like much,” Tom said through laughter, “but it was sure able to clean some clothes if we put in small loads.”  He was so proud to tell me about the machine that he and my father had rigged up on Samar in 1945 and that, somehow, the little machine worked.

What I could clearly hear between the words as Tom spoke to me was the deep bond of friendship and ingenuity that these two sailors had developed.  How amazing to hear the story from my father’s closest Navy buddy.  How amazing that we had somehow found each other after all those years had passed.   The wonders never cease!

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