They worked hard together on their little house
In Mahopac, making up for years of neglect,
Transforming it into a decorator's showcase
And residing there for eighteen years.
He covered the exterior with Adirondack shingles,
Painted the trim and the chimney,
Painted and wallpapered the entire interior,
And converted the basement garage into his office.
She painted furniture and interior trim,
Made window treatments and accessories.
Then she decided to try interior design for
Clients who were recommended to her.
She had worked for two furniture showrooms,
In White Plains, and in Peekskill after the move.
But the compensation was strictly commission
And the business practices bordered the shady side.
On a visit to the Calico Corners fabric store in Mt. Kisco,
She saw a help wanted notice, and inquired about the job.
Hired instantly, she spent a year or so advising and
Selling decorator fabrics and arranging custom work.
Promoted to assistant manager, she made lifelong friends
With the store manager and the window display designer.
The three of them often went out for drinks after work,
And she replaced the store manager who became district boss.
She did the whole job, hiring and training new employees,
Supervising their work and handling difficult customers.
In 1985, she was awarded a silver bowl at a banquet,
Commemorating her first million dollar sales year.
She enjoyed the fun part, going to managers' meetings
At company headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
But the stress of retail operation was taking its toll,
So she stepped down from the job at age sixty.
Thereafter, she only worked part time at antique stores.
But the experience of managing at Calico Corners
Identified her as a somebody, not just anybody,
Who had conquered challenges in the business world.
Early on in her stint in management,
She announced to her assembled children at dinner,
"I don't seem to have any problem telling people what to do!",
Whereupon they collapsed in laughter.
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