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Famed columnist brings insights to Texarkana

Texarkana Gazette

Heloise has been around long enough to know that even when she hears a doozy of a suggestion, she still hasn’t heard it all.

Steam ironing JELL-O to remove that nasty tough layer that seems to inevitably develop after days in the fridge.Writing thank-you cards by sitting backward on the toilet so there is a “desk” to write on and “washing” sheets with a vacuum cleaner and spraying Febreze on them.

People tell her they have actually tried these things. And even if she doesn’t endorse these unconventional approaches to domesticity, she understands their confusion.After all, not everyone grew up with the original Heloise as a mom.

The author, lecturer and syndicated columnist, whose work appears in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and internationally, shared some insight about hints and life during “Come Laugh, Learn and Test Your Hint I.Q.” at the Perot Theatre on Tuesday night.

This was the second time Heloise has appeared at the Perot. She was the featured speaker for the YWCA’s Tribute to Women in 1990.

She told her primarily female audience at the Perot that the one thing she has learned over the years is when she writes hints for the masses, she can’t assume the reader will know what she is talking about. For example, there was once a bachelor who told her he had tried a recipe of hers but it had not worked out. He said he thought “beat the eggs separately” meant to put each egg in a separate bowl. This was one of many occasions where the audience erupted in laughter. Many times Heloise herself would crack up and shake her silver mane of hair in amusement.

Heloise, who began her presentation in a red satin robe and colossal yellow house shoes, said a good morning could certainly set the tone for the day. She said her mother, the original Heloise who started the column in 1959, built her career on helping housewives by reminding them of one fact.

“The original Heloise always said to make life as simple as possible,” she said.

One way to do this is by possessing basic knowledge about everyday household products and their variety of uses. A brave four-person panel from the audience got on stage while Heloise asked them questions in a “Jeopardy!” style format.

One of the two men on the panel, Paul Wilson of Ashley Furniture HomeStore, knew that to keep dark colors from fading, you are supposed to turn them inside out during the wash. Another man on the panel, Les Minor, Texarkana Gazette managing editor, knew that newspapers can be used to wash dirty windows.

Heloise seemed relieved to find these men possessed this knowledge. During a recent college tour, she found that some of the young men were not so domestically educated. A couple of students told her they knew how to keep their CD collection clean.

“He said you know what I do is to lick them,” Heloise said. “The other guy said he put them in the toilet and flushed the commode and the water cleans them. I asked him, ‘Then do you lick it?’”

Her presentation at the Perot was not her only stop in Texarkana.

Earlier Tuesday, Heloise spoke to the Junior League of Texarkana, which celebrated its 80th anniversary with a luncheon at Texarkana Country Club. The luncheon was held in honor of the sustainers of Texarkana’s oldest non-profit.

“We are even older than Bryce’s,” Junior League president Jennifer Doan jokingly told the audience of members.

Doan said the Junior League has more than 500 members, including those who are provisional, or in their first year of service; active—serving their seven years of required service with the group; sustainers—who have completed their required years of service but don’t have the responsibility of monthly duties; and ameritus—members who are 80 years and older.

Doan thanked Greg Pulido, the president of the local manufacturer HUMCO, for helping to bring Heloise to Texarkana. Pulido is married to Cindy Pulido, a Junior League member. Heloise is a lifestyle consultant and spokeswoman for HUMCO, which makes many of the chemical products she uses.

Marguerite Holman Magee, 83, said she remembers being a Junior League guinea pig when she was a child and the group was just forming. Her mother, Marguerite Whitmarsh Holman, was one of the group’s local founders in 1926. Magee said her mother would have been pleased to see the Junior League continue to thrive today.

“She always respected the group, and it is really something the community depends on,” Magee said. “It is magnificent and I’m proud to be in the ameritus category.

”Heloise told Junior League members that if volunteers such as their group all stopped doing what they do for five days, the country would fall apart. People don’t understand the value of what volunteers do, she said.

Besides speaking about the value of volunteerism, Heloise also told the women to approach housekeeping by considering assigning everyone in the home a few tasks and monitoring them daily. And she recommended to be a little more laid back about certain tasks such as bed making. A bed doesn’t have to have hospital corners to be presentable, she said.

“You can’t be a 10 at everything, you have to pick and choose. Unfortunately housework is always going to be there,” Heloise said

.Heloise’s appearance in Texarkana was sponsored by the Junior League of Texarkana and the Texarkana Gazette in conjunction with the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council. Other supporters include Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Lafferty’s TV and Appliance, H&N Landscaping, and Greg and Cindy Pulido of HUMCO.

At Heloise’s request, all proceeds from the event will go to the Battered Women’s Shelter and Domestic Violence Prevention, Doan said.

Heloise will round out her trip to Texarkana today by meeting with HUMCO officials.



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