By: Melissa Boyd (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Waking up and going to work for Guillermina Alvarado means mopping the floors where students dropped food and tracked mud; cleaning windows smudged with fingerprints; and the worst – cleaning the bathrooms where girls leave feminine products on the floor and guys don’t flush the toilets.
Alvarado, better known as Ms. Gidget, is the housekeeper of Malmberg and Roe West halls, and the library, but she also has worked in the kitchen as a cook. Most students know her for her famous omelets.
“Ms. Gidget took the time to put whatever you wanted in the omelet, including bacon,” said junior Kyle Pequeno. “The omelets made you feel like they were homemade because they weren’t leaky and they were fully cooked to perfection. I miss them.”
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Alvarado, she moved to Union City, N.J., with her family where was raised. She later earned her E.K.G. nursing certification from the Hudson Community College in New Jersey.
A single parent of two adult sons – Jonathon and Camuel – they moved to Delaware in 1986. She became a cook when she said she discovered that nurses were paid dramatically lower than in New Jersey. She was a manager at Capriotti’s for nine years.
“As I got older, I needed a job with benefits, which that did not have,” she said. “Then I applied here at Wesley in the dining hall, which was three years ago.”
Alvarado said her best experience in the kitchen began with Pete Buenchristiano.
“I learned so much working with him,” she said. “He is a loving and compassionate person, who cares about his employees.”
She transferred to housekeeping because of the layoffs in the dining hall each summer. But she doesn’t mind housekeeping, even if her passions are nursing and cooking.
“What I love about housekeeping is that I get to interact with all the students and I enjoy the love and respect I receive from the students,” she said. “That’s why I work so hard to make sure everything is clean and safe for my babies. And if I could share just a little bit of motherly love to everyone, then I am blessed.”
Alvarado hopes to go back to nursing and get recertified.
“I did nursing for 20 some years, and, at the time, cooking paid more,” she said. “But I’d like to go back.”
Students know her around campus, and say they enjoy her company.
“She is extremely nice and friendly,” said sophomore Colleen Witowski. “Every time I see her in Roe West, she will say hello and ask everyone how their day is going. She knows how to brighten anyone’s day.”
Junior Kevin Green remembers Alvarado’s omelets.
“They were the best, honestly,” he said. “The other employees seem to hate making them and taking orders. She seemed to enjoy it and seeing the satisfaction on the students’ faces. That’s starting to become rare with the café employees.”
Green also said she is always smiling and outgoing.
“She always said good morning and is always polite,” he said. “She likes to build an employee/customer rapport with students.”
Junior Taylor Broomall also said she appreciates Alvarado.
“When I lived on campus and had a meal plan, I went to the cafeteria a lot,” Broomall said. “I only went once for breakfast, but I had her omelet and if breakfast weren’t so early, I would have gone a lot more often just because of her omelets. But, I do see her around campus a lot and she is always the nicest person. I enjoy talking to her because of how nice she is.”