I got a haircut yesterday and as so often happens I thought of Dixie Neyer. For many years Dixie served Glenstone Block Company as our advertising manager and my secretary. She was an English major and a published writer but when I met her she was cleaning hotel rooms to support her daughters. I had never had anyone do our advertising before so this was an important step for my company. It needed to be just the right person.
I ran ads and several candidates showed up for interviews. They all had experience and were filled with ideas about how they would make Glenstone Block Company a household name. They had big budget ideas and frankly I didn’t much like any of them.
Dixie came along late in the process. She needed a job and I was impressed that she was willing to do whatever it took to take care of her girls. Something else that impressed me about Dixie was that she confided she didn’t really like advertising and thought most of what she saw in the market place was a big waste of time and made no sense. That impressed me too. She had never worked a day in advertising but was willing to give it her best effort. I was sold.
When I called her to offer the job, she squealed with glee and I could hear her telling her daughters she got the job. As my secretary she was attentive, efficient, and protective. On the advertising side, I was pleased with her ideas and we soon developed a comfortable working relationship that lasted until her death from lung cancer. That was one of my saddest days.
Anyway, Dixie liked my hair long and the shaggier the better. She thought it went with my persona as a writer. When I got a haircut, she would cluck and shake her head and tell me it was too short. And that’s why, now and then when I’m sitting in a barber’s chair watching patches of my white hair fall like tufts of rabbit fur, I think of Dixie, hear her squeal of delight for a new adventure, and smile.