Keeping us Clean: Manny Entrambasaguas

A man wearing a black and yellow cap, glasses, and a green shirt stands in front of a commercial laundry machine, holding a pile of clean, folded white linens. He is smiling slightly and standing in what appears to be a laundry facility.

If you hear joyous singing or whistling when you’re in the Home, it’s probably Manuel “Manny” Entrambasaguas.

The longtime laundry aide loves to sing while he works; so much, in fact, his mother asked him as a little boy to sing professionally. Instead, Manny now sings informally while supervising the washing, drying, and folding of the Robison Jewish Health Center/Harold Schnitzer Center for Living laundry—what is about 500 sheets, towels, and blankets a day.

“I like it here,” said Manny. “The people are nice and the noise of the machines is peaceful.”

Manny grew up in Rota, on the southeastern tip of Spain. Beginning at age 12, until he was 18, Manny went to his father’s car shop every day after school to help detail automobiles. His younger brother came to help, too.

With a U.S. Naval base nearby, Manny’s dad’s car shop served a lot of American customers. Manny took English classes to converse with the shop clientele.

When their father retired, the brothers took over the shop. Around that time, Manny met an American woman from the base who was originally from Forest Grove, Oregon.

They flew to Oregon to get married in 1995, returning to Spain. The U.S. Navy then stationed Manny and his wife in such places as Portland, Maine, Iceland, and Florida.

The couple had three daughters along the way: Jennifer, Chelsea, and Nicole. Manny took a variety of jobs (gas station attendant, grocery store stocker, child care worker, house painter, etc.) and scheduled his shifts around the girls’ schedules so he could care for them while his wife was at work.

The couple split in 2009, and the girls moved to Oregon, with Manny returning to Spain to care for his mother who had been diagnosed with dementia. Manny worked for his brother who had closed their father’s shop and opened a newer, bigger detailing business.

Returning to the United States in 2011, Manny worked at a body shop and a post office among other gigs. He began working at Cedar Sinai Park 10 years ago, first as a housekeeper, and then in the Robison laundry.

“I love to work with my hands,” he said. “I try to keep happy, and say hello and good morning to everyone.”

A typical day for Manny has him at Robison by 3:30 a.m. to start the wash so it is clean and dry and folded and ready for him to deliver to resident rooms as soon as the rhythm of the day begins.

In his off time, Manny loves to explore Portland and is an amateur photographer. Some of the Robison households are decorated with his black and white photos of Robison staff. Manny’s daughters recently sent him back to Spain for his first visit in a decade. When his brother is in the country to renew business for his car shop, Manny visits him, typically in the mid-west.

“I’m in a good place,” said Manny.