Here’s my Aunt Olga.
She grew up as the only girl among four brothers. Tall. A striking blond. Remarkable blue eyes. A warm and infectious smile.
She left our rural home town more than 45 years ago to strike it out on her own. The Rebel. A young, single woman. Moving to the big city. Leaving behind a Mother who worried about her welfare. A Mother who took every opportunity to remind her daughter about her angst.
As a professional stylist, she built a deep and loyal roster of clients. Several times over. Her practice supported her love of travel. We’d know because she’d bring back gifts. A “Babuska doll” from Moscow. Maracas from Mexico. A flaming red scarf from Spain. A miniature Statue of Liberty or Eiffel Tower.
She’d come back home to a three generation pile-up of freeloading customers. We’d move a kitchen chair into the garage and she would mow down the Kanigan mullets one by one. Never a complaint. The line stretching around the corner. Yep, Olga came home for a few days of R&R.
My Auntie. Independent. Industrious. A positive spirit. A generous, big-hearted soul. And, a lady who has suffered through some of life’s deepest disappointments. Yet, those sparkling blue eyes and hearty smile keep it all rooted deep down, with no evidence of flotsam bubbling to the surface. She’s since found happiness. And a good Man. And no one deserves it more.
Here was her email to clients and friends on her last day of work yesterday:
As I get ready for my last of work after 45 years of work, my mind is scattered. It has been a month of thank you’s and goodbyes to clients I have known for 25 years. My body is saying that it is time to move on to something different. I am going to reinvent myself. There is a whole new world out there waiting.
Olga, we were watching. For years we watched and listened. You led the way. It’s now time for you to get off your feet – - out from behind the salon chair – - and kick back. Congratulations on an amazing career. And best of luck on writing your next chapter.