Thanks for the Memories   

Like most people, I have made mistakes in my life and I have made some good choices as well. On this my 50th anniversary of having made a very good choice by entering the beauty industry at the age of 18, I will only share what has brought me joy and has given me the confidence to say: I am finishing strong! Although I can assure you, I am not yet finished. 
In a book I wrote in 2007,  Blow Dry This Stories From Behind the Chair , I stated, “I believe that we are all voyeurs at heart. We enjoy comparing, contrasting, judging, damning, or admiring others. We pretend we are not interested, but the truth is, we are! We want to know about the lives of others so that we can better understand and accept our own.” Over the years I have witnessed firsthand our voyeur hearts. We love hearing and reading stories; novels, biographies, history and even personal growth books and articles tell us a story. People Magazine continues to fly into people’s homes and offices weekly, and it’s the first magazine clients ask for when they walk in the door at the salon. We want to know the lives of others. It turn we share our lives with others and we create connections. Over the years working in salons, I received the greatest gift I could own -  the gift of connections. Human beings depend on one another and one cannot manage a life by herself. In the words of John Dunne, “no man [or woman] is an island.”  We need each other to survive, to grow and to ultimately experience ourselves through others. Call it what you want -  your tribe, group, culture, family or friends - they are your connections. My connections through stories have made me the person I am today, in every way. 
 As an afterthought, I do believe hair salons were the birthplace for storytelling. I can’t say for sure, but I’m almost positive Cleopatra and Queen Victoria and all the women who lived at Downtown Abby have shared their stories with their hairdresser. And People magazine must have been a thought someone had sitting in a hair salon. It only makes sense. 
My greatest joys, aside from my precious family has been the story I have lived and the ones I have heard and written over the years. The women in my chair have taught me how to love them and care for them through their stories. In turn I have learned to love others and have been blessed to receive love that I didn’t know I deserved. Even when going through my angry years, which were the first 40 years of my life, the clients justified my snippy behavior and hugged me on their way out the door, with a sweet smile and a wave saying ‘I’ll see you next month, love you”. In my defense, I really didn’t know I was angry, I assumed it was only fear causing me to become so darn defensive. Never the less, the women who stayed and softened my heart, year after year have given me yet another great gift -  their unconditional love. Slowly but surely, instead of being defensive and fearful, my anger turned to acceptance. A daily dose of salon therapy, storytelling, hugs and “I love you” is enough to turn anyone into a better person, even me. 
Everything I ever wanted in life, including my home, car, insurance, services, products, clothing, food, friends, my business partner, and even a husband has come through a recommendation from my clients. How could I not appreciate that aspect of knowing hundreds of women and men who I have come to trust and depend on? I don’t even go to the movies or out to dinner, or read a book without an endorsement from a client. A wealth of information, connections and now even technical support is found in the hair salon. Then there is fun…lots of fun. They say it’s good for your physical and emotional health to laugh every day, we’ve got that covered as well. After all, having your hair worked on is a pleasant experience, except for getting a perm. No one enjoys that. But we do it. It’s 2 hours of pain and discomfort for 3 months of easy. 
I don’t know when I will be finished. What I do know for sure is the beauty industry has given me the best memories of a lifetime. Doors have opened into areas I never imagined I would walk through. I have loved and been loved and continue to feel cared for and appreciated. I cherish the beauty that surrounds me in my salon, home and community where I choose to live. Without hesitation, I would again choose to become a hairdresser at the age of 18.  I am grateful for the connections I have made along the way and I am finishing this stage of my life with a strong sense of who I have become. I could not be standing on this holy ground of gratification without you, my clients, the greatest gifts of all. Thanks for the memories. 

My sincere love for you,

Hilda 

And now for some VERY exciting news. . . . .

I am thrilled to announce that I have established the first-ever endowed scholarship for hair styling students at GateWay Community College. The endowment coincides with my 50 th year as a hair stylist and the scholarship will ensure that my legacy lives on for the next 50 years and more!

Serving more than 11,000 students each year on four campuses, GateWay is recognized for preparing students for some of the highest paying jobs without a four-year degree.
 
GateWay offers more than 160 degree, certificate, trade, technical and workforce training programs, many not offered anywhere else in the state. As one of ten colleges within the Maricopa Community Colleges district, GateWay is the HUB for apprenticeship and trade programs. GateWay graduates contribute more than $19 million a year to the local economy each year. 

In lieu of gifts, opportunities to contribute to the  Dr. Hilda Villaverde Hairstylist Scholarship Endowment  will be available at my anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 26th.