Maricela Avelar Scott began working as a hairstylist in Downey in 1999 after finishing her course in cosmetology at the Fullerton School of Cosmetology, and although she and her husband have resided in Anaheim Hills since 1987, has never thought of locating her place of business any place else."I like the city," she says. "Besides, it was close to where my mother lived at the time, and it was very convenient for me to visit her. I saw her frequently." One of her clients, a nun who remains a friend, used to come all the way from Camarillo to have her hair done in Downey. They continue to communicate. Maricela at one time, armed with a cosmetology instructor's license, taught at a private beauty school in South Gate. She has a prior 2-year AA (general ed) degree, also from UC-Fullerton. Now in her forties and able to enjoy the luxury of catering to a "good-sized" clientele - "by appointment only" - Maricela has also written a 44-page book. The book's title: "How to be a Fabulous Aunt." The youngest of five children, Maricela (without a child of her own by choice) has over the years closely interacted, and bonded, with her eldest sibling's (an only brother) two daughters, her oldest sister's son and daughter, her middle sister's three sons and one daughter, and her third sister's only daughter. She devotes pages to her relationships and shared experiences with them in her book. "I am extremely close to my brothers and sister," she says. "We are a close-knit family. We watch each others' backs." Attributing the genesis of her book to a number of factors, Maricela says she's always had a creative streak ("I love art, and like to draw, color and paint") and has in fact kept a journal ("I love to write"). Her creative approach finds expression in her styling booth (she rents space at Beauty Bar): a head of hair to her is a blank canvas on which she could put her stamp of artistry ("I like to create with my hands"). Besides, she says, "I've always had the idea that I'd publish something some day." Considering herself a good aunt and setting herself as a "good example to my nieces and nephews," some of whom now have had children of their own, Maricela says her parents, her mother especially, taught her the importance of honesty and respect, as well as to "have faith and trust myself and not to give up easily." Her recollection of her grandmother was equally fond and inspiring: "She was endearing. She actually took care of us when we were kids." Maricela's parents, both of whom had quite a number of siblings between them back in Mexico, worked in a shoe factory in L.A. Anyway, she touches on most of the above in her book. Here are a few of her "fabulous list of 100 ways to be a fabulous aunt": *Be proud of your title as an aunt. *Be a good listener when your nieces or nephews are talking to you. *Talk to them about music, the opera, fashion (and just about everything else), and exposing them to the theater, museums, attending sports activities, seeing the movies with them, taking them to a restaurant (all with their parents' permission, of course), even talking to them about the history of illnesses in the family-"This just might save their life one day"). *Keep in touch by calling, texting, or e-mailing. Just keep in touch. *Always encourage them to continue their education. *Talk to them about responsibility, the importance of family values, the value of money. *The 100th pointer goes something like this: "Last but not least, make sure your nieces and nephews always know they have an aunt and mother in you, someone that they will feel safe and secure with." Maricela says in her dedication: "This book is dedicated with all my heart to my nieces and nephews and their children and to my husband and brother and sister. I wrote this book because I wanted to say what I feel as simple as that." What she feels is indeed in this book, sans rhetorical flourish, in plain and simple English and gives practical, common-sense advice. The whole thing is unresearched, unadulterated, original, authentic. "I tried to come up with the best possible ideas/advice I could give to the reader," she says. The publication of the book of course "shocked" her siblings. True to values she feels she has had a hand in inculcating in her nieces and nephews, they wouldn't accept their copies free of charge when offered them; they insist on paying for them as a show of support for their "fabulous" aunt. Maricela has finished a second book, a children's book, she says, and it just needs some illustrations done by one of her "artistic" nephews. It should be out by summer. "I'd like to reinvent myself, and see what other things I can do," says the not-so-ordinary aunt. Copies "How to be a Fabulous Aunt," priced at about $15, are available from Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and Xlibris.com.
********** Published: March 5, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 46