But without warning, my life changed dramatically a few days later. On my way to pick up mail, I saw Joann backing out of her parents’ driveway. She stopped and rolled down the car window. “Did Brother ever get a housekeeper for you?”
“No luck yet,” I answered, trying to be circumspect. Having come from a middle-class life, I never had a housekeeper, and was not sure what to do with one or how to handle one. It seemed enough for the moment that I was feeling well, the boys seemed to be adjusting, and my furniture was in the garage. The house was big, however, 5,000 square feet with a separate Jacuzzi room by the pool that was mainly John’s domain, and in desperate need of a thorough cleaning. Plainly, with closets and cupboards overflowing from decades of neglect, I knew both the house and I needed help.
“Well, why don’t I send over Pauline?” she asked.
“Yes, she cleans all of our houses—mother’s, mine, Charles’ and Dennis’— I mean their wives use her, too. She also cleaned Brother’s house when Gloria was still alive.”
Suddenly, I felt unsteady and reached out to lean on Joann’s car. Amid her chatter, an evil thought entered my mind—no one had even mentioned this woman, and they all knew Deena had let the former housekeeper go before I moved in; were they all waiting for me to fall on my face before Pauline’s help was suggested?
I bit my lip to temper myself, and said with a false smile, “Oh, that would be wonderful! Could you please ask her to call me as soon as she can?”
“Sure,” Joann said.
Since Joann lived only three blocks away—no one in the family lived more than six blocks from one another—it didn’t take long for Joann to get home and call Pauline who, in turn, called me within the hour.
A couple days later, she arrived at my doorstep at 9 a.m. Pauline was a small Hispanic woman, with a kind face and a direct matter-of-fact personality. She lived around the block, so she simply walked to John’s house. When I opened the door, Pauline introduced herself and I invited her in.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” she said.
I was taken aback. “Why would you have heard about me?” I asked, dumbfounded.
She chuckled. “Moraine is a gossipy town. You’re the subject of a lot of talk.”
And so that is how our friendship began. Pauline simply walked into the kitchen and began cleaning. She was there six hours and everything was spotless when she left, including all the laundry washed and folded. I didn’t have to tell her a thing. She knew the house, she knew what she needed to do, and she set to work.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish