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The Minnie Stories

Cleaning Up Your Act - Part 1


You mis - heard my name -I'm not Millie...I'm Minnie - Minnie Kerchevsky. When I was born they called me Miriam; but I was so puny, they didn't think I'd survive! So they gave me a new name to give me a new life…..and Mum said as I was so small they'd call me Minnie instead!

I think that's what I do, in a funny kind of way, cleaning all these people's homes and's like I'm giving them a fresh identity, a new way of living. Listen to me already.........! But you know something even crazier? ,

I also sometimes think there's a part of me, deep inside, who is still Miriam ..........and that maybe we're all really all the different parts of us we might have been, and can still be if we want to........but what do I know? I'm just a cleaner from Clapton.......!

You know Clapton? Used to be a poor but respectable part of London……. But now? Well, you should see the price of the houses! I don’t know if that’s about how the value of property has gone up,or how the value of money has gone down! Both probably……I’ve found that life is not very often about “either or”, it’s mostly about ”and”, isn’t it?. All I know is,Sarah Jane, my daughter, can’t afford anywhere round here: she’s moved out to Watford……….and that’s not exactly cheap, is it? But that’s another story.

So yes - as I was saying, I’m Minnie: I’m sixty-eight, a bit overweight (so the new name all those years ago really worked!), and I clean to earn some extra money….no, that’s not the whole of it – I do need the money, sure…..but also I actually enjoy what I do! And not many people nowadays can honestly say that, can they? Which is sad really……

But also funny …..a nice Jewish girl who loves housework! When my mother’s biggest dream was to be able to afford someone who came in to clean for her! And what happened? Eventually the time came when she could afford it…..and you know what? Every Friday morning, for an hour before Gladys the cleaner arrived, my mother would go round the place furiously tidying, dusting

“I don’t want she should think we live like pigs!”, Mum would exclaim!

But I love making things clean, sorting out a mess; I like everything in its place. Because then my head feels tidier inside as well. Of course that’s not how I was brought up….I mean, Mum tried her best…….but with two of them and three kids in a council flat it wasn’t easy for her. I sometimes think that’s why I’m like I am. I mean, it’s just the natural way of things, isn’t it? We start off doing what they do, talking like they do, being little copies of the grown-ups round us; then we go through what Mum used to call ”a phase” - we do the exact opposite!

And then we seem to strike a balance somewhere between the two extremes - like them, but not, different but not. And maybe that’s when we’re most ourselves. Course, then as we get older, we start to get more like them again……..! The number of times lately I’ve found myself saying or doing something, and I’ve thought

“Oh my God - I’m turning into my mother!” Funny really………

But you know, secretly I find it’s sort of comforting as well: because I like to see patterns in things, in life. I always think it makes the world seem more….more… intentional somehow. Yes, that’s definitely the word - intentional. Like there really is order, and not chaos.That someone or something somewhere had a plan, that things don’t just happen. And it’s just that because we’re so caught up in our tiny part of this pattern, we can’t see the whole thing.

Do you know, it’s just dawned on me, telling you that………..maybe that’s another reason I love cleaning other people’s places - because I’m not caught up emotionally in their chaos! I can stand back, see what the big pattern is - how their office, or kitchen, or whatever, is meant to look, and then get on with sorting it out!

And maybe that’s the secret of how I deal with any kind of mess in life……… maybe I ‘step back’ from it for a minute, and I imagine I’m standing on the moon, looking down at it: and then all the feelings inside me seem to change! It’s like stepping out of who I am, and seeing what a small part of the pattern it really is……….and then I can go in and clean up the mess, just like it was someone else’s!

But what do I know? I would think that, wouldn’t I…… a cleaner from Clapton?

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Cleaning Up Your Act

Introduction To The Story Collection

The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories

Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.

Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........

Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!

Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!

So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.

Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!



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