Most people find making changes in their life difficult, and Linda Aiello is no exception. However, after weighing her wants and needs for the past couple of years, the self employed business owner is finally making the changes that she feels are right for her.
“I like the business side of it,” she noted. “I’ve done it for twenty-seven years, ever since I graduated from cosmetology school, but I just feel like I needed to grow and expand my horizons.”
Aiello began to have an interest in sign language from seeing it done at a church. She purchased a DVD on it, and when her own church, Calvary Apostolic Clintonville, began doing it, she became part of that group.
“By some miracle, I was able to learn it, and I started doing it and then I started looking into different schools,” she explained.
Aiello decided on the technical college in Wausau, and began classes in January, with her first semester being finished in May. She has been going to class, doing her studies, remained active in her church and family life, yet trying to balance her time at her business, L and L Styling Salon on Main Street in Clintonville.
Currently she attends class in Wausau two days a week, and one class in Wittenberg one day a week. The other courses are online.
While she knew she could keep the shop open, she decided with the stress level, it was too much, and she wouldn’t be happy. So she has decided to put the shop up for sale, and while she would like to sell it, either way, she plans to close the business in mid June.
“I have regular customers and I love all my customers,” Aiello shared. “It’s hard for me to say goodbye to them as they are my friends. While I feel sad about it, I have been letting them know that I appreciate their loyalty. However, I feel it is time to open the door to something else.”
The salon has been in its current location for the past two years and she says the business has been good to her. She had a shop just north of there for seven years before, with a partner, and even ran a coffee shop for a time, until the two businesses got too stressful.
The sign language program she is in is a two year program, but she would like to explore it further with a three year course study. Work areas in the field include education, medical and legal avenues. She knows she might have to go to a larger populated area, but also knows there is a deaf culture in Clintonville.
Currently she and her husband Derek live in Marion. Between them they have seven children and seven grandchildren. In the summer, she has an ice cream truck that she takes to special events. It’s called “Heaven Sent Street Sweets.”
She admitted that it wasn’t easy going back to school and was nervous as well as excited.
“I hadn’t been to school in so long, I was scared,” she said. “I’d be going to college and there are going to be a lot of young people and I didn’t know how they would react to me. Then, I worried if I would be able to learn it.”
She said the only class she has struggled with is algebra, as she never had a good history with that, but the teacher is helpful. She said the learning environment at the school includes a learning center and tutors, so there is always help there.
When she was weighing her options, she said she had doubts. She wondered if it would be worth it at her age. But she kept hearing a voice saying “just go” and she kept telling herself “one day at a time.”
“Then I’d get really frustrated, like with algebra, and I’d question whether it is worth it, but I just keep telling myself, just go,” Aiello said. “A lot of my peer group is going back to school and they would tell me not to quit, that they were struggling too.”
“When you are a wife and a mother, you put all yourself behind,” she added. “You don’t even know who you are anymore. You care about your kids and your husband and then when they leave, it’s like you come back alive, you are your own person again.”