I’ve been thinking of this post for weeks, and I truly can’t believe it is happening: Rose is retiring from Investors Bank. Yes, it’s actually happening people! After 24 total years with Investors, she’s taking her spiky gray hair and cubicle crayons and sailing away into retirement (and by sailing, she’s driving her Ford Fusion out of 101 Wood Avenue forever, likely shouting ‘peace out bitches!’ with a tear in her eye.) My mom’s career at Investors began after an unsuccessful attempt at convincing my grandparents to send her to beauty school. As you can see from the photos below, banking was definitely a better career path for her.
In 1966, she began her career at Camptown Savings & Loan with two women whom I’ve come to known as aunts in my life: Rose & Lorraine. When Rose went to Investors she said “Hey, come here” (direct quote from my mother), and in 1971, my mom (also named Rose) joined Rose (this is getting confusing now…) at Investors.
When Investors took over Camptown, my mom was promoted and went back as Assistant Manager but she left in 1977 to welcome THE MOST AWESOME DAUGHTER IN THE UNIVERSE (that would be me). Then in 1980, she welcomed the second most awesome daughter in the universe, Angelique.
In her years as a stay-at-home mom she did an amazingly kick-ass job raising my sister & I, while my dad traveled extensively for work. What you may not know about Rose is that she’s an AMAZINGLY TALENTED artist. Almost all of my elementary school friends had her hand-painted t-shirts or tote bags. She was hot on the art fair and flea market circuit and was very profitable in her art endeavors (more on that later). I really look forward to her returning to her art during her retirement.
During my 5th grade year in 1987-1988, she proudly served as Girl Scout Troop 500 “Cookie Mom”, something I had wanted her to do all the years I was in Girl Scouts. Wanna know what else she did that year? SHE BEAT CANCER. I was only 10, my sister was 7. Our army of angels (Debbie Toth, Debbie Nigro, my aunts & cousins) helped my parents get my family through that really difficult year. She was only 40. In the 18 months prior to her diagnosis, she lost both of her parents. THEN SHE BEAT CANCER. Seriously, this woman is my hero. The summer of 1988 was a great one for our family, celebrating my mom’s remission and the purchase of our first home computer, our Apple IIc. My dad and I bought it at Egghead Software without my mom knowing. The “Ugh, Tommy, what the hell did you guys buy?” look on her face when we showed up back home with it is one deeply etched in my memory. This was also my dad’s gateway drug into his addiction to iPads and tablets.
When I was in middle school, a weeknight trip to the Dairy Queen on East Second Street resulted in her spotting a “FOR RENT” sign at a small shop across the street, and a few months later Kaleidoscope was born. She sold her hand-painted wares and other adorable gifts, but closed her shop 3 years later. That’s when she joined our dear friends Paula & Henri at their shop a few storefronts down, Beautiful Things Factory.
Her years at Beautiful Things provided our family with lasting, loving friendship with the Goodwin family. My sister and I have great memories of helping out during summers & holidays with Nell, Austin, Susan, Staci, Sue, Susan, Jeff, and Charlie. They truly became family to us, and still are. In 1997, my mother left Beautiful Things to go back to life at Investors. She rejoined as a part-time teller and shortly after was recruited to join their corporate office in Short Hills
“They needed someone in corporate, they knew me from back in the day, and the rest is history. Get the story right, Bitch!”
(direct quote from my mother in asking her to help fill in her biographical gaps in my memory).
Since 1997, my mother has been the primary source of entertainment (?? Maybe agita?!) to her friends in the Operations department. Between *actual* operations (my dad’s several heart procedures, my few crazy surgeries, the birth of Angelique’s two little girls), building doors on her cubicle with cardboard (I’ve been trying to find that photo everywhere, mom), the crayons she kept at her desk, happy hours, the non-book club, and their move from Short Hills to Metro Park, my mother has undoubtedly been the hurricane force-strength hair glue that has kept her crew together.
To my mother’s colleagues at Investors: Thank you all for caring so deeply for our Rose. Your love for her and the rest of our family has been deeply felt, and we are truly grateful for everything you’ve done for her over the years. We will miss her crazy Investors stories as much as we know you’ll miss her crazy stories about me, Angelique, Olivia & Regan, and THE GREEK. To my mother: CONGRATULATIONS on a long, crazy, wonderful, rewarding career. Enjoy this summer with Ange & the girls. Go clean the basement. Please finish my favorite painting ever, your “dreaded women.” Don’t annoy Daddy (I know it’s hard sometimes). Catch up on some TV. Have lunches with your girlfriends. And mostly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF and enjoy your well-deserved, hard-earned retirement. We love you. xoxo E