About 25 years ago I had Ida Stewart on my radio program as a guest, every year for 3 or 4 years. She was a motivational speaker, beauty consultant, a fashion expert and more importantly she was ESTEE LAUDER’s executive assistant for many years. She grew up in the business with Ms. Lauder’s phenomenal success story. Ida lived in South Carolina in her youth and is a trustee at Winthrop University where she graduated. After I left radio, I stayed in touch with her. She’s 90 years old. Ida is writing a book about her life story and she came to Charlotte to work with editor Rosalie Spaniel and visit with her Carolina friends.

I did the chauffeuring and enjoyed lunch with them. These are likely three of the richest chicks on the planet. Ida is the one on the left. She always wears pretty hats and says she puts it on the bed post at night and owns more than 100. She never goes anywhere without a hat. Notice Ida’s fingernail polish…..green on the pinky and thumb (for St. Patty’s Day) and purple on the others for Easter. The rest of her outfit was so decorated.
The lady in the middle is Sissy Brodie from Aiken, S. C. I don’t know her pedigree, but I do know there are no low rent districts in Aiken. She’s been a friend of Ida’s for more than 40 years. As you can see, hats are her thing too. She owns 250 hats. Ida offered to pay for lunch, but Sissy wouldn’t have it. When the check came, Sissy slipped her hand in the top of her bra and whipped out her credit card in the wink of an eye. Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke never had a quick draw that fast. Never saw anything like it. I’m still laughing.
Are you ready for the next lady? She’s Sarah Belk Gambrell. Ring a bell? John Belk’s sister and one of 5 children of the famous Belk clan. She’s 93, goes to the office 3 times a week and works mostly with her foundations and boards that she is still a part of.
To sit on the sidelines and watch these old pros tell stories was an inspiration. It doesn’t matter how old you are….there is always something more to do with your life.
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