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Heloise here, sharing her timeless hints to help Bonita/Estero Salvation Army

By Elizabeth Kellar -
Naples Daily News


Here's a hint from Heloise, the grande dame of housekeeping wisdom: If you want a career you'll love, find one that presents constant challenges.

True, that tip has nothing to do with a tidy home. But after more than three decades, it's still the secret to what keeps the columnist happily coming to her keyboard. Her "Hints From Heloise" column is syndicated in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and internationally, appearing seven days a week. She's also written 14 books, is a contributing editor to "Good Housekeeping" magazine and makes regular television appearances.

On Monday, she'll make a stop in Naples as the keynote speaker for the Friends of the Salvation Army Bonita Springs/Estero Annual Winter Luncheon. Proof of her popularity is that it is sold out.

The Salvation Army is a cause that close to the columnist's heart, she said in a recent telephone interview. When she was in college at Southwest Texas State University, now Texas State University, there was a large flood. She wasn't personally affected, but stayed on the campus to help with the cleanup.

During those efforts, a charity came by selling coffee and sandwiches. Then, the Salvation Army stopped by with coffee and sandwiches, offering what they had for free. That generosity left a lasting impression on Heloise.

"From that moment on, I had a personal experience with them," she said.
She can find no fault with the charity's thriftiness, either. It may even rival her own, she quipped.

"Those people can squeeze a penny further than Heloise," she said.

Longtime fans of the Heloise column will recall that the current Heloise inherited the column from her mother, the original Heloise. The current Heloise began writing the column in 1974, lending her mother a hand and using a No. 2 after her name to distinguish her from the original Heloise. After her mother died in 1977, the current Heloise took on the column full-time.

Through the years, modern life has led Heloise to research new kinds of helpful hints.

Her website is full of tricks for cleaning high tech gadgetry, such as computer keys, digital cameras and computer screens. There's even a spot dedicated to the cleanup conundrums faced by college kids: How to scour a stinky microwave, care for a delicate DVD and dry out a cell phone that's gone for a dunk in the commode.

Every now and then, a reader will write to remind her of old hints that have become hopelessly and humorously out-of-date. One reader sent her an email with an old Heloise column that showed a picture of a can of spray lubricant and suggested readers use it to clean a television screen.

"In the old days when a TV screen was glass, back in the Dark Ages, but not now," she said. "Can you imagine?"

Instead, Heloise recommends using a microfiber cloth to clean the screen. Never, ever use any solvents.

Not all the updates reflect changes in technology, though. Some reflect building materials, such as marble, which has become a popular countertop choice. Anyone who has marble surfaces should be wary of using a citrus-based cleanser, Heloise said. Such cleansers are very effective, but can damage the marble.

She's also spent time dusting off hints that her mother originally published, occasionally at her own peril. Some longtime readers did not take too kindly to Heloise's efforts to debunk the idea that adding a dash of white vinegar to a pot of boiling water would make a hard-cooked egg easier to peel.

It's the age of the egg, not anything added to the water, that makes a hard-cooked egg easy or difficult to peel, Heloise said. She researched the question with the American Egg Board, the Georgia Egg Board and a food scientist.

Still, readers were outraged — and wrote to tell her so.

"You would have thought I blasphemed," she recalled.

But just as the hints have changed, they've also stayed the same.

She jokes that she could publish the same column every day answering how to remove the film from cloudy drinking glasses, and readers would still write in. It remains one of the most popular questions of all time, and even with the wealth of information available on the Internet, people still seek out Heloise.

"That's why I still like what I do, even with all the new technology and the new gadgets and all the new stuff, there's still new ways to take care of it or not take care of it," she said.

Read more: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/jan/21/heloise-here-sharing-her-timeless-hints-to-help/

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved.

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