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‘Sister’ Mary Margaret shears her flock in the home

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 11:26 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 11:00 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Matthew Piechalak - mpiechalak@shawmedia.com)
Mary Margaret, of Westmont, talks to her mother, Marge Skalecki, while cutting her hair on Aug. 29. Mary Margaret cuts hair for elderly and disabled clients throughout the Chicagoland area.

“Sister” Mary Margaret Skalecki had a calling as a child to provide mobile hair care. More than 50 years later, she’s still answering calls from a tri-county area.

The Berwyn native is not really a “Sister” in the ecclesiastical sense, but she has an almost religious zeal when it comes to providing in-the-field beauty shop service to the elderly or disabled. In fact, Skalecki has cut hair in homes, offices, hospitals, on the beach, on boats and in funeral homes.

Once, she cut the hair of a future bride on the Queen Mary in California.

“Sometimes it’s three a week; sometimes one a day,” she said.

Her calendar is heavily regulated by the passing of her elderly clients, she said.

“But word of mouth keeps me going,” she said. “I’m doing people now who were babies in the ’80s.”

Skalecki, who now lives on Westmont, said during her peak, she was driving a thousand miles a month to reach her clients. Today, she tries to limit it to 200 miles a month, because of the cost of fuel. Her clients come to her through hospitals, nursing homes and organizations that cater to the elderly and disabled.

“When you get a call, you ask, ‘Are they in a wheelchair, are they mobile,’” she said. “Some can stand at the sink. There are situations that have to be adapted to. Some are shampooed when I get there. Some are not.”

There even were times when Skalecki has had to cut a client’s hair while they were lying in bed, she said

“But I’ve never had a situation I couldn’t handle,” she said. ‘I also clean up, vaccum. I get it done.”

Skalecki said she got the “Sister” title from friends who thought the combination of “Mary Margaret” just sounded too much like a Catholic school memory.

Born and raised in Chicago, Skalecki moved to Berwyn in 1967 with her family when she was 12. She spent a year in college at UIC’s Circle Campus then went to Mr. Simon’s Beautry School in Cicero.

Skalecki’s mother, Marge, was an Avon Lady years ago. As a girl, Skalecki wondered if there was such thing as a door-to-door service for hair care.

“I was 6 or 7, I said, ‘Where’s the [mobile] hair dresser?’” She recalled.

There’s no such thing, they told her

“I said, ‘There will be,’” Skalecki said. “I knew that was my calling.”

Skalecki said she had “an epiphany with the Lord” as a child playing in the backyard that this is what she would do.

In 1988, Hair to There, Inc., was born.

Skalecki’s work has taken her to California where she lived for a time, and to Hawaii, where Skalecki said the Lord told her to go back to Illinois.

So she did, and resumed her calling. Perms, dyes, tints, manicures and pedicures, Skalelcki tends carfully to her flock.

Joanne Kastrup of Glen Ellyn said she used to be a frequent visitor to the beauty shop. Now at 88, it’s just not possible. So, this year she enlisted the services of Hair to There.

“It’s very convenient,” Kastrup said. “Eventually time catches up with you. It’s a very convenient service for me, though. She’s very good, she’s neat as a pin and she drags all that stuff with her.”

Hair to ThereMobile Hair Care can be reached at 708-921-1523.

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