Hanging it up after 45 years…

family, photograph

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

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.

Olga cutting Rachel’s hair when she was 4.
Eric, 2, was patiently waiting in the wings.

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Comments

  1. May her heart be light and her next chapter full of joy!

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  2. What a great post. I hope we get to hear something later about what Aunt Olga decides to do with her retirement — she sounds like the adventurous type!

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  3. What a gorgeous smile..I hope whatever she chooses, it continues to make her grin as broadly and beautifully every day.

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  4. A lovely tribute, David. Breaking trails is hard work.

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  5. I love this post David… It really shows your heart. Nice family, nice sentiments! Go for it Olga!!! Jane

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  6. How lovely!

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  7. A lovely heart felt post, indeed..

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  8. Congratulations to her and to you for your celebration of her expereince.

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  9. What a nice post, David! I am wishing Olga the best as she begins this new chapter.

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  10. A great tribute to someone you love very much….

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  11. Great post, David. Your Aunt is a lovely person and your tribute to her reflects both your love and the loves she has shown throughout her life for family and others. She is the iconic average person we think of when we think about America and Americans. Congratulations to her on achieving a sort of retirement and my best wishes for a healthy, happy and action filled stretch in this marathon we call life. My best to you and yours for your unabashed love of family and people in general.

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  12. Got a feeling that Aunt Olga’s got more to do. Good for her!

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  13. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Awesome post, Dave! Love these stories…

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  14. This is so lovely.

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  15. What a great chapter it will be. Congratulation!

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  16. Sweet story of love for your Auntie…thanks for your words, David, and for allowing us to feel the love in our own hearts. 🙂

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  17. Olga Kanigan says:

    Thank you David for the wonderful tribute. Had a few tears. Going to Mexico. I won trip. How cool is that to start the next chapter . Olga

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  18. richardkanigan says:

    So, who is gonna cut my hair now?

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  19. petit4chocolatier says:

    David,
    What a beautiful tribute to your aunt. A lovely woman!

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  20. Wonderful story to share. Like this post a lot

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  21. Congratulations Olga, may you keep doing the things that you love, don’t know if you remember me, been a long time since I saw you, know your family well, we are connected from way back. Keeping busy is what keeps us going!!!! Hugs!

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  22. Michael Zahaby says:

    I see the family resemblance. Something tells me, she’ll have fun no matter what she’s doing. Very warm tribute

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  23. Sounds like she had a fulfilling life and a new one is about to begin. Speaking for myself, I LOVE retirement, even though I enjoyed my working life too. I’m sure Aunt Olga will have a great time.

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  24. Good luck Olga in all your future endeavors. Love this post too!

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  25. Best to your aunt as she ends a chapter in her life & begins a new one!

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  26. What a lovely tribute! Here’s the Olga’s next chapter!

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  27. A heartwarming story about a courageous and special woman. All the best, Aunt Olga! You deserve the best that life can give you.

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  28. What a beautiful tribute to a woman who lives life on her own terms (sorry if that is too personal–I feel like I know her) soaring into to next phase of her life! I wish her all the best as she takes flight.

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  29. what a beautiful tribute from your family and friends, now it is your turn to relax and enjoy your days and can’t wait to see you.

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  30. Some people are not afraid of work: both the kind that is needed to build the life that you want and the one it takes when you commit yourself to something. Your Aunt Olga sounds like one of those very special people. I wish her the best of herself as she embarks on this new adventure – may she continue to dazzle!

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  31. Your aunt is beautiful and looks like a really fun person. I wish her much joy. 🙂

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  32. Beautiful tribute Dave…Olga is a Gem!! We are so blessed to have her in our lives!!! 🙂

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