Italian laundry owner comes clean, dishes up the dirt
This week’s European Spotlight shines on Raffael “Ralph” D’Angelo, who’s laundry company has been cleaning the clothes of American servicemembers in Italy for decades:
How long have you been doing this?
Forty-three years. Always for Americans.
What’s the oldest stain you’ve ever seen?
Oh, not very old. Americans don’t keep their clothes dirty for too long. They bring their clothes to me to be cleaned soon, especially if there is a stain.
What’s the weirdest shaped stain you’ve ever seen, or have you ever had a mark in the shape of a celebrity or something?
Moving on then, with what do Americans stain their clothes?
Ahh, that’s easier. Stains on Americans’ clothes are mustard and ketchup, very strange for me at first because we in Italy use very little of mustard and ketchup.
Any weird stains?
No, but German uniforms and Hungarian uniforms are strange?
Come again? In what way?
Their colors. Their style. I think they’re strange.
What celebrity’s laundry would you most like to clean?
Hmmmmm, I don’t know. But I did your President Clinton’s laundry and his staff when they were here (in Italy) for the G-7.
Really? And? Tell me about those stains?
Clothes were pretty clean. And their shirts especially were marvelous, very well made, very elegant.
And no celebrity ‘wish I could do your laundry’ fantasies?
No, but I would like to do (President) Bush’s laundry if he ever comes to Italy.
So, any ‘dirty laundry’ you can tell me about?
Mmmmmmm, I’d never tell.
What do you find in people’s pockets?
Gas tickets, money, coins and sometimes ‘cappuccio.’
‘Cappuccio.’ Ain’t that Italian slang for ...?
Yes, prophylactics. Now that’s ‘dirty laundry.’ Hahahahaha!
When was the last time you bought your own clothes?
Very funny. I bought my last suit three years ago for my son’s wedding, but I don’t steal customers’ clothes. Besides, I wear Italian-made. Much better quality.
Tell the truth – you take the clothes, wash them at home and hang them from balconies like everyone else in Italy, don’t you?
No. We have a big plant. Twelve people and three vans.
Interview by Sandra Jontz.
Raffael “Ralph” D’Angelo
Title: Laundry-company owner, serves Naval Support Activity base, Capodichino, Naples, Italy, and Joint Forces Command, Bagnoli
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