Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Summer Reading and Summer Tipping
I just finished a great read that I would like to pass on. It is called "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. It takes place in Jackson, Mississippi during those transformative years of the 1940's through the changing 1960's. It is written from the voice of various "negro" maids who stayed with families for years and raised the kids and ran the households for their white employers.
The "Jim Crow" years of extreme segregation were not much better than slavery. Everyone had their place and these wonderful maids were constantly shown where their place was. They held the homes of the white southerners together and then went home and toiled in their own shanty houses.
The southern women could employ a maid for 20 years (below minimum wage) and never really know who she was or about her life. After all, it was a "privilege" to be welcomed into the white home to be "part" of the family. But make sure you never use the same toilet.
Change came slowly and violently to Mississippi and "The Help" is the type of book that you wish would go on and on.
Talking about "The Help" gives me a chance to encourage every blog reader to please, please remember to tip the maid when you travel. Women hotel maids, unlike the bell captain or waiter, are invisible and they work about 10 times as hard as any other hotel help. Have you ever tried to pick up wet towels, push a heavy sweeper and make huge beds all day? These women are at the bottom of the financial food chain and I bet every one has carpal tunnel syndrome and a painful back.
Leave them some money each day. Don't wait until the end of your stay when cash is short and you are rushing to the airport. I love to tip the maid daily. It is one part of keeping green than I feel good about.
Read "The Help" for a glimpse into recent history and tip your hotel housekeeper. You're welcome.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 7:17 AM