Sally’s odd jobs and characters – The Cosmetic Department

Today, I’m welcoming author and blogger Sally Cronin to the Mirror to share one of her wonderful characters and tell you about her new book, What’s in a Name?: Vol. 2. Needless to say, I think she’s a superb writer, and this is one of my favorite chapters in her book, Just an Odd Job Girl. Take it away, Sally…

Thank you so much Diana for inviting me to share my odd jobs and the characters I met that now star in my stories.

The Cosmetic Department.

I had been working in one of our large local department stores as I waited to begin my training in the Royal Alexandra Nursing Service.

Following on from my six weeks over Christmas and New Year in the shoe department of the store, I moved downstairs to the cosmetic department.

I was nineteen, and into make-up, as most of my generation was at the time. This offered me the opportunity to sample anything that I wanted, within reason, as I was appointed ‘roving consultant’. This meant that I would be trained by the different cosmetic houses in their individual products, and on their regular consultant’s day off, I would take her place.

For example, one of the cosmetic firms offered a powder blending service to its customers. This involved checking the skin tones of the client and then mixing a specific blend of powders for their complexion. There was a base powder and about twelve different shades that could be added. We used a giant spatula to whisk the powder over the tissue paper with little pinches of the different shades added until the perfect blend had been achieved.

The combination was noted on the client card, and would then be made up to that formula each time the customer needed it. The variety in my new position made my life much more interesting and I loved working with cosmetics and perfume.

I had been in the position about four weeks, and was practising my powder blending technique, when a rather large, reddened hand stretched across the counter towards me.

‘Have you something that might tone this down a little please?’ said a rather deep voice.

I looked up, a little startled by the depth of this female voice, to be confronted with rather an arresting sight. She was very tall with broad shoulders that were draped with long blonde hair. She also sported a five o’clock shadow. I was rather taken aback, as this anomaly was something I had not previously encountered. My training and upbringing took over and I stopped staring directly at her face and concentrated on the hand still being proffered to me.

‘I think that we might have a foundation that would tone down the redness,’ I offered.

‘I can then blend you a powder to ensure that it lasts all day if that would help?’

She smiled at me and perched on the little round stool the other side of the counter. The following half-hour was both informative and enjoyable. My new customer was funny and totally unconcerned by her strange appearance. She introduced herself as Dolly and regaled me with her recent escapades on her path to becoming the woman she wished to be. One of these being the removal of hair on the backs of her hands and lower arms. Hence the reddened skin on show.

As I came to the end of her particular powder blend, she leant across the counter and motioned for me to come closer.

Slightly reluctantly, I leant forward until I was staring into large blue eyes, below rather bushy eyebrows that were considerably darker than the cascade of blonde hair.

‘My real name is Arthur’ she whispered quietly. ‘I have to dress and live like this for a year before  I undergo more treatment.’

This encounter was to lead to a rise in takings for the cosmetic department, as we became the best place to go for advice and products to enhance feminine beauty, for anyone who needed it.

Dolly became our unofficial PR agent, and I was invited to a party in a pub one night, where I was delighted to see all our advice and products being used to their full advantage.

What a lovely bunch of ladies and they taught a young woman much with their bravery and support for one another.

Dolly went on to star in my book Just an Odd Job Girl with some creative embellishments.


All the previous posts in the series can be found in this directory with links to my host’s blogs: Sally’s Odd Jobs and Characters

About Sally Cronin

sally wedding day 1980

My name is Sally Cronin and after working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition.

I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released ten others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.

My latest book – What’s in a Name? – Volume 2

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

My Other Books

Sally’s Contact Links: 

Books: Amazon Author Page

Blog: Smorgasbord Invitation 



166 thoughts on “Sally’s odd jobs and characters – The Cosmetic Department

  1. reocochran says:

    I like how you are sharing real life stories and how you were personally effected by each meeting and sometimes, friendship. Sally, this was a uniquely thoughtful and current story, even if you happened to be part of it as a nineteen year old makeup sales clerk at a department store. Congratulations and best, warm wishes, Sally 💐🌟

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] via Sally’s odd jobs and characters – The Cosmetic Department — Myths of the Mirror […]


  3. mycountryepoque says:

    Thank you Diana and Sally for sharing such a wonderful story. I enjoyed the read. I love reading Sally’s blog. thanks to Diana I found her. Thank you Ladies! You are all great writers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Micki Peluso says:

    Well.after all these comments, I have no doubts that I will be loving it!! Have to avoid the temptation of putting it on top of the read list. That’s going to be hard to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bpsenapati says:

    Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wonderful Sally – and thanks for hosting, Diana. I have a sort-of similar experience to share.

    Since I wear a 9-1/2 sized shoe, rarely stocked by most stores beyond a single pair or two, I usually had to make do with 9s or 10s, even in New York City. UNTIL I found out about a particular shoe store on the Upper East Side where 9-1/2 was the *smallest* size they stocked. Heaven!

    As a theatre professional at the time, I was not the slightest bit startled by the rest of the customers – most of them were delightfully outre as we swapped fashion advice like girlfriends. But I think my favorite “character” was the dignified 6″1-ish man walking around in an expensive dress-for-success business suit and sparkly pumps with 5″ heels, probably size 16, trying his best to act like it was the most normal idea in the world.

    I often thought that it would make a super setting for a musical, and have since fantasized that the Sundance film that inspired the Tony Award winning “Kinky Boots” might have gotten its first glimmers of an idea in that very same store. The shoes were great too, by the way.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] guest post by Sally Cronin at D. Wallace Peach’s Myths in the Mirror blog features her story The Cosmetics Department. At the heart of the story is an interaction with her and a special customer. This story stayed […]

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Loved reading this chapter from the book again. It’s so funny, but Sally’s writing makes it even funnier. Having worked in a department store myself, I can imagine the customers and situations Sally would have found herself in. I think you got the best chapter, Diana.
    Hugs to you both

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Lana_SHON says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a fabulous ‘true life’ story. And (of course) you write it so well Sally. I got tingly by the end. Bravo!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I enjoyed reading this except. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Antonia says:

    Thank you for the intro Diana! I really enjoyed this and will have to check out some of her books!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a great story, Sally, and a character worthy of her own role in your novel. My TBR list is getting out of control! Good luck with your books!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. This is fun and so interesting. Thanks for introducing Sally and her books to us. Have a wonderful week ahead. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Adele Marie says:

    A wonderful tale, Sally, thank you for sharing and for Diana hosting you on her blog. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Andrew Joyce says:

    That’s some dang good writing. Thanks for posting it, Ms. Peach.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I love these stories, Sally. Thank you so much for hosting, D. Wallace.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Christy B says:

    I really like this story because it widens the definition of what beauty is ❤ Great writing, Sally, and so nice to see you here on Diana's blog. I'll be including this one in my Friday roundup post 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Micki Peluso says:

    Wow, Sally. what a great assortment of books. It’s going to be hard to choose which one to read first on my TBR list–now you just went and made it taller!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  20. dgkaye says:

    So awesome to see Sal here! This was one of my favorite stories in Just an Odd Job Girl, probably my favorite book by Sally. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  21. What a great story! I’m sure Dolly was very appreciative of your lack of judgement and such. I really can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be to live in the wrong body!

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Thank you Diana and Sally for sharing such a heartwarming story. A great illustration of kindness begetting kindness.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. What a delightful story. I was enraptured by Arthur, your reactions, and the playout of the story. I see your ability to tell a story in this one, Sally.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. I enjoy Sally’s stories collected in books. Thanks, Diana for having her as a guest. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this post by author Sally Cronin as featured on the Myths of the Mirror blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. What a wonderful story! I’m sure during that time period social mores were much more stringent than today. A wonderful story breaking down barriers and embracing new friendships.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. blondieaka says:

    A wonderful story and your open mind and kindness come shining through even at that tender age, Sally..Thank you, Diane, for hosting Sally so she could share her wonderful tale 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Jennie says:

    What a great story! You were way ahead of your time, Sally. The ensuing friendship is a testament to you. Bravo!

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Hello Diana and Sally! What a wonderful story! I was thrown back in time to my own year long acquaintanceship with a wonderful person named Carmen. I have always thought that it was meeting her and getting to know her that crashed down any and all barriers to differences in my world. This book is on my want to read list and has just gotten itself moved to the top (sorry Diana 🙂 )

    Liked by 4 people

  30. Such a joy to read this, Diana. Thank you for sharing.
    I recently finished Book 1 and enjoyed it so much I couldn’t put it down. Sally is such a gifted writer and her support for fellow authors is incredible and truly inspiring. Thanks again
    Wishing you a wonderful day! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  31. This was one of my favourites out of the book. I love the way that Sally is so totally unfazed by something that must have been a very unusual occurance back then!
    That non-judgemental character and personality has made her many friends and has thrilled many of her readers too!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  32. paulandruss says:

    This is a lovely story Sally and Diana thanks for sharing. It say a lot for the innate kindness and maturity of a young woman in a time when society was very judgemental and non-accepting of these brave people who were so visibly different. No surprise she grew up as she did!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Ritu says:

    A great story! I love Sally’s memories!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Mae Clair says:

    What a story! Definitely a memorable experience for Sally. I love how Dolly went on to do unofficial PR.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Diana, I couldn’t agree more. This is one of Sally’s best. Lovely to see her featured here. Hugs all around!

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Another fantastic post about Sally’s very varied and interesting career, Diana. Thank you for hosting, Sally here.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. Annika Perry says:

    Lovely to see Sally being featured on your blog, Diana! 😀 The extract was heart-warming and left me smiling – what wisdom and gentleness in one so young. Good luck with your latest book, Sally and I love the idea of each story bearing the name of the character. Great idea!

    Liked by 4 people

  38. Teri Polen says:

    A wonderful story, Sally. Thanks for hosting, Diana!

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Thank you so much Diana for such a lovely showcase and sharing with your readers. Love the comments and so pleased that the story touched peoples imaginations and hearts. I will reblog tomorrow.. hugs ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  40. What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing, Diane!

    Liked by 3 people

  41. What a delightful tale, Sally! Thanks to you both. x

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Erik says:

    It strikes me as not so far a jump from cosmetic consultant to nurse to nutritionist. It’s all about caring for people and helping them feel most at ease in their bodies.

    And what a wonderful account. In 25 years of mentoring kids and young adults, I’ve known many Arthurs and Dollys, walking with them through the process. True kindness and that look straight in the eyes at the person — without judgment, fear or, worse yet, pity — is a gift that will be remembered for a lifetime.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Sally — and for helping Sally share with us, Diana!

    Liked by 3 people

  43. A beautiful book! Diane you are a gem, I find the best of the best here.

    Liked by 4 people

  44. balroop2013 says:

    It is remarkable how Sally could create a lovely story out of her odd job…many incidents occur but we never care to record them. I grew up at a place where taking up odd jobs before completing your studies was scoffed at and looked down upon but the experiences and insights gained during impressionable years are precious. 🙂
    Lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  45. Great read! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  46. Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing Sally’s work D.

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Reblogged this on Richard M. Ankers – Author and commented:
    Two of my favourite people supporting each other. Read and enjoy.

    Liked by 4 people

  48. I love the story with Dolly, Arthur. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  49. philipparees says:

    Very vivid detail makes it so easy to be therewith Arthur and her red arms.

    Liked by 4 people

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