Mrs. Tekerlek steps into the void

Alyce Tekerlek actually retires today. She’s dreading it.

The sole proprietor of downtown’s Ma Maison for an amazing 55 years shutters her humble but elegant dress shop at 240 E. Main. St. and goes home to … well, she doesn’t know.

“What can I do at home?” she asked earlier this year. “I don’t have anything to do at home.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years I thought Mrs. Tekerlek was downtown’s longest-working person, and the second-longest-laboring stalwart in the city behind Dorothy Claire of The Ranch. Then barber Don Nagai emerged from a half-hidden Rose Barbershop right around the corner from Claire’s shop to snatch the title with his staggering 65 years.

But, though she’s number three in the hang-in-there game … 55 years. Come on.

Mrs. Tekerlek finally surrendered to downtown’s commercial decline. And to fear. Whole days passed without a customer. During the 2012 crime wave she became afraid for her safety, afraid even to scurry from the curb to the door of the shop, where during business hours she locked herself inside.

She had excellent taste in clothes, by the way, and she was a handy tailor.

What has always amused me about Mrs. Tekerlek is her view of retirement. Work is life. Retirement is a purposeless limbo, a puzzling void without any meaning or direction, a sort of existential Jell-O in which one just hangs in meaningless suspension, like a pear. Outside work, she has never known what to do with herself. She has no place in that universe.

“I get up, have breakfast, read the newspaper, and I look around and say, ‘Now what?’ ” Tekerlek said. “I dress and come to work. There’s something wrong with me, no?”

Not at all. Downtown is losing a lovely person. Try having fun, Mrs. Tekerlek.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • RSS Related Content

    • Exit plan: Who wins, who gets skinned
      The bankrupt city of Stockton has gone public with its Plan of Adjustment - that is, who gets skinned for $1.1 billion in debt and who does not. […]
    • Stockton, asparagus now best of buddies
      Stockton celebrates asparagus now, but back in the 1950s, the San Joaquin County district attorney almost prosecuted asparagus growers for creating a public nuisance. […]
    • Tracking Stockton footprints of Muir
      No one has ever researched the subject of John Muir in Stockton - as odd a historical omission as if no one had ever researched Mark Twain in the Mother Lode. […]