She’s shared this gift from the beauty salon she operated in her home from 1965 until the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to close down at age 82. She brings her gift to nursing homes, where she continues to style hair as a volunteer. And she’s contributed to the magic of the theater for many years by helping community theater performers get ready for the spotlight.
She’s also seen it work for herself. Janice survived breast cancer eight years ago, and five years ago was diagnosed with a blood disorder that left her ill enough that her daughters planned what they thought was a final family vacation to bring their mother, a devoted Elvis fan, to Graceland.
“I always say, ‘A little powder, a little paint makes us look like what we ain’t,’” said Janice, who is as passionate as she’s ever been about boosting people’s self-image. “I knew what it meant to me when someone would say, ‘Oh, you’re looking better.’ If you look good, you feel good.”
Janice grew up outside of tiny Blooming Prairie, MN. She attended a country school, and social activity largely centered around her church. She moved to a bigger city in southern Minnesota after graduating from high school in 1956 and attended beauty school in Minneapolis, but she never lost the small-town desire to support others.
Janice taught Sunday School for 30 years, and volunteered to make meals for church events. She has also treasured the opportunity to style deceased clients’ hair for their funeral. Doing so, she said, allowed her to have one last conversation and ensure that her friends would go to heaven looking just right.
That commitment to others has helped Janice serve as a friendly shoulder people can lean on. She loves to share secrets with her clients, and she especially loves reminiscing with them.
“’Do you remember?’ is one of the things people need to hear,” Janice said. “As we get older, we want to remember what happened. Do you remember the feelings you had? The personal touch?”
For her own memories, Janice has come to rely on her GrandPad, which she received as a gift from her daughters about a year ago. While she has a computer in her house, Janice never uses it. Her late husband was the “computer whiz” in the family, she said, and she left technical matters to him. She wasn’t sure she would be able to use the GrandPad, either, but she picked it up quickly. Now she uses it to play BINGO and is relearning bridge. More important, though, she uses it to share memories with her family.
The photos of Janice’s trip to Graceland are on her GrandPad, and her two daughters, each of whom lives at least an hour away, make it a point to post at least one photo or video every day to the GrandPad private family photo stream. That’s how Janice was able to be part of her grandson’s first attempt at wake boarding, and her daughter’s trip to a seasonal festival. The GrandPad and the daily photos from her family help her feel more connected when she can’t see them every day.
Janice takes her GrandPad with her everywhere, whether that’s out to the garden or for rides in the car. She no longer drives, so the GrandPad provides entertainment while she’s on the way to church or the nursing home. She also loves bringing her GrandPad with her when she meets friends for coffee. Pulling out her GrandPad, she said, is much easier than carrying around physical photos.
For Janice, GrandPad delivers that same feeling of connection that she provided to others for so long in her beauty shop.
“Life is good when you have a partner, and when I can’t talk to my family, I can just look at photos on my GrandPad and think, ‘I’m so lucky that somebody cares,’” she said. “At this time in my life, my GrandPad is one of the greatest things that has happened to me.”