Impact of Herron’s life lingers |

Impact of Herron’s life lingers

For years, Vivian Herron’s column about the small Sierra town of Washington has appeared each Saturday on this page. Vivian’s death on Tuesday left a gap not only in the pages of The Union but also in the hearts of her friends, family and readers.

Several of her fans have written the newspaper to share their thoughts about this loss, and we at The Union felt there would be no better way to show her impact than to include one such letter.

Following is an excerpt from Vivian’s Feb. 7 column and then a note from the stranger she was describing:

A nifty little thing happened about two weeks ago. I was in town at Ralphs – Heavens no, I wasn’t shopping the sales; I don’t need to. I’m a Nevada County resident and I have so much money I’m thinking of hiring somebody to help me spend it.

While checking out, I noticed the cashier was wearing a perfume that smelled like heaven, so I asked about it. She grinned, reached below the counter into her purse, and handed me a bottle of Alyssa.

“May I have a spritz, please?” and she said yes.

“Now you’ll smell good all day long and think of me!” she laughed.

I did, too. She was right. I thought of her every danged day for two weeks until I got back to the store and found her. Where else will a stranger share such a nice thing as a perfume spritz and throw in a big smile with it?

Her name is Genie Mulkey, and I’m telling you, you have to go in there and say hi because she’s about the happiest person I’ve run across in months, and it’ll rub off on you, I promise.

She’s been working at Ralphs (and Lucky before that) for 26 years. “I’m one of the few who opened the doors back then.”

She’s also been married just a little over a year to her childhood sweetheart, Dave.

“I was the first girl he ever loved,” she said. “Well, I was the first girl he ever kissed, and I’m going to be the last one, too!”

As life would have it, they had fallen out of touch and moved on, then found each other decades later through the Internet’s, and love bloomed again.

This couple and their story definitely deserve a heartfelt “awwww,” so let’s – oh, that was wonderful, dear readers, thank you! Life can be just grand sometimes, don’t you think?


This morning I heard a soft knock at my door and my mother brought me the newspaper, showed me the headlines and said, “I have sad news, Genie. Your friend Vivian is dead.” The tears flowed.

On Feb. 4, 2004, I was in a very bad car accident, and four days later this lovely article appeared in the newspaper. It made my life easier when things have been so hard, as I am losing my job and am disabled. I had just written her this letter and given her a bottle of my SECRET perfume. I told her she couldn’t tell the name of it and that if we were together I’d make her prick her finger and become blood sisters, as it is no longer made. Haha!

After 31 years behind the counter, it was so touching to be noticed for my smile and happy heart. She loved my stories and the one of my husband and I getting back together on after 42 years and marrying.

She stopped my line so she could take notes. Everyone didn’t care, as they all know me and find my life an interesting bunch of stories and comedies.

Thank you, Vivian, as you look down on us. I have missed not seeing you at work and you made such a difference in my life and my recovery when the pain was overwhelming and I had your article to read and make me smile.

It sits right next to my computer. You will be greatly missed.

– Your friend, Genie Mulkey

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