My wife Tonja has worked in the womens' fashion industry for most of her life, beginning at age 16, when she got a job at Tober's in the Gateway Mall. She moved on to Magee's, then Steinmart. For the past ten years or so she has been at Chico's, a boutique down the road from home. As you can tell from this circa 1956 photo, she has some serious fashion sense, which developed at an early age!
She is about the hardest working person I've ever known. Years ago, when we really needed a heftier second paycheck, she left Magee's for a 2:00 AM job at a bakery, then cared for the kids and home all day and night while I attended grad school and worked the swing shift. The financial need for two incomes passed long ago, but she continues to work part time at Chico's because she really enjoys the interaction with coworkers and customers. Don't tell corporate, but I'm pretty sure she'd do it for free, were it not for the Fair Labor Standards Act.
When she talks about work, she often tells me about a particular customer she helped today--perhaps someone who needed something special for a reunion, a party, a trip, even a funeral. The passion with which she relates these encounters, and the joy she takes in helping someone find that "just right" accessory or outfit is just like what I experience at work. "Do what you love," as the saying goes, "and you'll never work a day in your life."
So I couldn't resist snapping this photo for her on a downtown Lincoln sidewalk yesterday when I spotted it in front of Footloose & Fancy at 12th and P Street: