A Familiar Face on Campus: Helene Boldarini

11/5/2019

Helene Boldarini’s oversized glass says “Me Time.” However, the College of Business administrative specialist’s office gives her anything but. It’s the College of Business version of Grand Central Station.

Get to know UM-Dearborn staff member Helene Boldarini, the woman behind the “Me Time” glass.

I hear music playing. What’s your favorite type of music?
My playlist has 1200 songs. I’m open to anything — it’s all there. Simon and Garfunkel, Ed Sheeran, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, French music, country, pop, show tunes.

Show tunes? What’s your favorite musical?
Beautiful. It’s the story of Carole King from when she was 16 and ends at her Tapestry album. My cousin and I go to New York every couple of years, stay in Times Square and watch Broadway shows. I saw it on one of those trips. We go on a Tuesday and see one show, see two shows on Wednesday and leave on Thursday. We don’t know in advance what we are going to see — we go to the half off ticket counter. Beautiful had so many songs that I grew up with that I didn’t know Carole King was involved with and the show just had a wonderful message about perseverance.”

Is Broadway a favorite type of entertainment?
I have so many good memories with Broadway. I grew up on Long Island and my Grandma lived in Brooklyn. She was a bit of a wild woman in the best way — she knew everyone, The Three Stooges would come to her house to play poker. Seriously. For my 10th birthday, my Grandma took me out for a week in the city. We ate at the restaurant in the Time & Life Building. She also took me to see Fiddler on the Roof and Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing. How could you not love Broadway when you start with those? 

Was your family musical?
My Dad owned the only Wurlitzer store on Long Island — but he was successful because of his business sense, not musical. But I do have a really great music memory because of that: My first concert. Singer Bobby Sherman lost his instrument box key for a concert he was doing at the Woodbury Music Festival and contacted my Dad’s store. My Dad got him the key after hours and didn’t charge extra, but asked him to acknowledge me at the show. I was already going to the concert, like every teenage girl around there. During the show, Bobby said hello to me and signed an autograph after. I was 12; it’s still my favorite concert. 

You sound like a Daddy’s girl. Anything from him in your office?
This gold charm on my necklace. I remember my Dad wearing it everyday on a chain. It was my Great Aunt Helen’s. She came over here from Hungry in 1946; her aunt gave it to her when she left. It’s engraved with ‘Andenkin’; that means remember. Aunt Helen and my (great) uncle had long lives, but my uncle lost his family in Auschwitz and he had the arm tattoo from the camp. They gave the charm to my dad. Now I have it. I wear it everyday. It feels like my Dad and my family are keeping me safe.

We’ve talked a bit about the past. What is something you are looking forward to?
Retirement. I’m being serious: I enjoy what I do, but there’s still so much I want to see — my husband Chuck and I will do a long road trip after I retire. I want to eat lobster in Maine. Travel Route 66. Go to Mt. Rushmore. I started a binder with things I want to do in all 50 states and look forward to checking them off. 

Indeed. We’ll raise a Me Time glass to that.

 

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