Summer Recap

Unsung, but Not Unpaid, Heroes

When I think about how lucky I am, I tend to be grateful for my amazing family and friends who have supported (and put up with) me in ways too numerous to mention. But there are other helpers who have been in my life for years.

People I pay.

For example, there are Hector and John, commonly referred to as "the cleaning men." We have been "cleaning up for the cleaning men" for about thirty-five years. They come from Nova Scotia. I don't know much about them because we are like ships that pass in the night—they come as I am fleeing out the door to work. But except for their twice-yearly trips back home, having them in my life means I don't have to worry about keeping the house clean. That is huge

And then there is Kelly. I can't remember when Kelly started cutting my hair. I know that she was in her early twenties when I found her, and that it is at least twenty years ago. I followed her from salon to salon, but when she became a stay-at-home mom doing haircuts in her kitchen, I tried to find someone else. Kelly used to cut my hair during my lunch hour in a salon across the street from my office. She now cuts my hair in her basement, a thirty-five minute drive in good traffic, because I gave up on finding a replacement. I make the trip to her home every six weeks, through rain, sleet and hail. It's not just about the haircut.

I don't know what I would do without Kathy. Kathy is my "personal trainer." In forty-five minutes every three months, she does wonders. She is an accomplished physical therapist. When I thought my hip was about to give up, it took Kathy five minutes to figure out it was my back, not my hip. She designed a series of stretches for me that fixed that problem. When I had a partial tear in a rotator cuff, the doctor gave me a couple of surgeons. That's what doctors do. Not Kathy. She designed a series of exercises that fixed that problem. Yes, I pay wonderful Kathy, but she is worth her weight in gold.

Hector and John, Kelley and Kathy are part of my team. They are worth every penny, my unsung heroes.


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Twin City Joan

i know what you mean about your hairdresser. I have one too. I found her on my lunch hour when I was working. It must have been in the late 70s or early 80s. I followed her from place to place and when I got a job in the other Twin City and couldn't go on my lunch hour, I started going to her house. I am still going these many years later. She is a friend as well as a hairdresser. I will keep going until she tells me not to.


Unsung and paid heroes are one reason why it is so traumatic to relocate!


I have been blessed with just two cleaning ladies in almost 40 years. I encourage my young colleagues to hire help for cleaning, but it is not an easy sell. For me it has always been worth it, even in retirement, not to have to spend part of the weekend cleaning. But I love to garden and have never had help for the yard.

naomi dagen bloom

You have written about something that could use more attention from others like ourselves. Another over-70, I have also been nurtured by those who have worked for me. When I left Baltimore for New York City, thought I'd never find another hair-cutter so wonderful. But I did after meeting another woman at a party and going to her excellent person who worked out of a tiny apartment.

Found my current stylist in Portland, Oregon, when I entered a kitchen store behind a woman with short hair like mine. He is good but doubt it will ever be like my Leslie in Chelsea.

And I miss Annette, the woman who cleaned for us in New York. A very special relationship. Paying these irreplaceable helpers as well as one can is important too.

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