Maria Benavides speaks three languages because she’s lived in three countries. All three have had a significant impact on her life.
She was born in the former Yugoslavia , now Croatia. That’s where she grew up and where many of her relatives live.
She followed her mother when she moved to Germany. She attended school there for three years to receive her cosmetology license She met the man she’d spend the rest of her life with in Stuttgart. Al Benavides, a Ohio native, was stationed with the U. S. Army there.
When his time was up, he brought his bride to the United States. They lived in Texas, where he was stationed at Fort Hood. Then they moved to Calhoun County, where he was stationed at Fort McClellan. It was there that he retired as a drill sergeant.
Maria has always enjoyed her job as a beautician. She’s worked at several beauty salons in the area. She’s worked for Karen Nelson at Salon Alon for over 10 years. Maria said she works with a “wonderful staff. I love my co-workers. We’re a good group of people. I work with people who are very achieving and are professionals at styling hair.”
The five hair stylists, including Maria, aren’t the only professionals working at Salon Anon. There are two manicurists, a massage therapist and two estheticians.
Maria returns to Croatia once a year, in the fall, when it’s time to harvest grapes. She helps picks the grapes to make wine.
“We make wine,” Maria said. “Lots of wine. Barrels and barrels of it. About 600 liters. People ask me what we do with all that wine. I say…
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