I have had my fair share of “down and out” jobs and maybe more then others.
In total I have had 26 jobs, got fired from at least 15, and quit the rest. I never wanted to work for anyone. I always knew there was something bigger waiting for me, sound cliché enough?
When I was about 23 years old I worked for a gutter cleaning company on Long Island, I hated it…my boss was a big Irish man who had hair on the top nose, wore denim shorts all year long, and never left the house without his chocolate lab. Who always managed to swipe me with her heavy tail. This was not even close to the grand visions I had for myself.
I remember being at work one day, my mother was in India visiting her family. She called me early that morning and as I picked up the phone she had a lot of happiness and enthusiasm in her voice, something she lost along the years. She told me that she went to see a fortune teller to show him my birth chart. He never saw a luckier chart in all of his 50 years of seeing charts. “She will be beyond lucky; the world will be hers…but some time has to pass. She will also experience every life changing moment two times.” I didn’t believe in soothsayers and palm readers. I listened as my mother rambled and then made up an excuse to get off the phone. Well it turns out the old fortune teller wasn’t all wrong.
Here is how it all started…
We lived in a beautiful house on Long island, my dad was not a very good businessman. He failed at every business he opened, that eventually led to our house going into foreclosure. My parents didn’t know what to do and thought about moving to another state, less expensive, we could start over, and we could avoid the embarrassment of facing nosey community members who loved a good gossip and stories of failure. We left behind everything and sold most of it for pennies, we took what we could and moved to Orlando. We arrived in Florida on a rainy night and were turned down in every motel we approached. I could see the worried look on my dad’s face as we drove for miles on deserted roads; before we pulled up to a large gated community called “West Gate Lake Resorts”.
It was beautiful and full of summer tourist from all over the world. But too much of a good thing, isn’t very good. Weeks dragged by and we watched people come and go; back to their homes, back to normalcy. Like a bad episode of the twilight zone, we couldn’t leave the resort. We had nowhere to go.
We were starting from scratch and running out of money. Things were bad, but I managed to get a job in a little Indian restaurant across town. I made below minimum wage and got sexually harassed by my boss on a daily basis. I also didn’t have money to buy clothes, so I would wear my father’s black slacks to work. I would purposely write up fake orders that no one would ever come to claim. When the assistant manager would ask if anyone wanted the unclaimed take out. I would always say yes, I felt like they owed me for underpaying me so much and taking half my tips. Also, this was the closest thing to a home cooked meal we were going to get.
I came back to the resort one night and my mom was crying, we were out of money but management was nice enough to move us to another unit until we could pay the back rent we owed. We moved everything that night to another unit within the resort. It took 4 hours and I was exhausted, and fed up. The new unit had two twin beds, my 2 older sisters slept in one and me with my younger sister on the other. I couldn’t sleep all night the time just kept passing slowly.
I shut my eyes at 3:42am I still couldn’t sleep I was thinking too much. That’s when it happened…
I opened my eyes and I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move my arms. They felt like a ton of sand bags were on them. There was a bright light around the room, and above my head. I saw a woman in a flowing cream dress, the sides looked like the fins of a cuttlefish, I remember looking up at her and her staring down at me. It was so loving and so warm like a mother looks at her child for the first time. This “being” was over ten feet long, and floating above me. Her skin was fair and parchment like, I remember her long fire red hair flowing as she looked at me and smiled ever so slightly.
I was in a cold sweat but I wasn’t scared. I closed my eyes after knowing all of the struggling I was attempting to get myself up wouldn’t work. I opened my eyes after a couple of seconds, and the room was dark again. I looked over at the time it was between 3:47 and just turned 3:48.
No one was awake, no one knew what happened that night but me. A couple of months later my parents decided to head back to New York before the winter. The grass really wasn’t greener on the other side, Florida was not the solution. We had to face reality and head back.
Years passed before I found my way and what I really wanted to do, I started out working in production for Indian based shows and newspapers. I eventually started casting for MTV Networks, and got my start in television. When working on Anderson Coopers talk show, “Anderson Live”. A famous documentary “The Queen of Versailles” was all the buzz and was set to air within a month. This would be a great segment for the show. I wanted to cast them and found an article in the paper that morning about the millionaire couple and their dream to build the biggest house in America. What I read next shook me up. David Siegel was also the founder of the West Gate Lake Resorts, in Orlando.
Well, god does work in mysterious ways. I did not meet with Siegel’s while working on the show, but we spoke on the phone. Jackie, was very kind and extremely down to earth.
When I started The Gourmet Ghee Company one year ago, I decided to reconnect with Jackie. I remembered her and her husband heading the Mrs. Universe and Mrs. “Flamerica” pageants. I wanted to introduce ghee butter to the pageant world, and its endless health benefits for women. What better way to do it then through the “Queen” herself.
Mrs. “Flamerica” Pageant 2018
The one thing that stood out and got us on the sponsor ship board was us having been on the Dr. Oz show. I owe many thanks to my former supervising producer Katherine Gulinello; who suggested my company for the segment we appeared on titled “The next big health idea” and Ulli Stachl, a pioneer in the food industry and an award winning food stylist. Ulli, gave me a chance when no one else would even talk to me about my company. She has used many of our flavors and even recreated her famous “Ulli Granulli” using our 24k Gold ghee.
Its funny how things come back full circle, bad memories resurface in a different light and even the worst of times can feel poetic when we get through them. Remember the fortune teller who said I would experience everything two times?
When we got back to New York, my dad left. The pressure was too much for him, and this year I lost him for good due to heart failure. I married my husband twice, first we eloped then we had our religious ceremony a year later. We have two wonderful boys. I even had to change the name of my company two times…
I am still building my company one flavor at a time, and learning there is such a thing as faith, and fate. Both come in time; with a lot of patience.
(The “food goddess” Ulli Stachl with our rose hip ghee butter)
Follow Ulli Stachl: Recipe @blog.doctoroz.com
Follow Katherine Gulinello @Pinktankproductions