We interviewed Christine and Bill Benedict at their small Cape Cod home last Thursday, a house brimming over with a mess of clothes, papers, boxes, etc. Their sweet 9 1/2-year-old daughter Katherine was there, too.
This family went through a difficult period, for about 18 months or so, when Christine underwent more than a half dozen surgeries, chemo and radiation. During that time, her house spiraled into disarray. Housecleaning was just not a priority. But she is in remission now, and the house is such a disaster that the family can’t even have guests over anymore.
That’s why Christine, a fan of “Clean House,” contacted the show for a makeover. The filming of the episode started last week, when we were up in Wayne.
They are a delightful family, and their trials make us thankful for our own health. Christine, who has curly hair likes ours, won us over right away when we saw she read tarot cards. She had chakra stones out as well as white sage, which is burned to get rid of negative energy (we have to burn some of it in our condo to get rid of those bad layoff memories), and a quartz crystal, for clarity and focus (we have one near our bedside).
You know we believe in all that New Age, spiritual stuff. And Christine told us we had a good aura.
There was also a remarkable coincidence, or syncronicity, regarding this story. Before we went to Wayne, the Style Network PR people told us that Christine had had cancer.
So when we met Christine we asked her where she had been treated. She said Saint Barnabas Medical Center. We are currently volunteering in the corporate PR dept. for that hospital’s parent, the Saint Barnabas Health Care System. We work right across the street from the hospital.
We were surprised to hear that Christine had made a 45-minute trip each way daily for awhile to get treatment at Saint Barnabas in Livingston, a haul from her Wayne home.
Then — through no prompting on our part, we swear on our grandmothers’ graves — Christine replied, “They’re fabulous, and they are the premier female cancer center in the state.”
Quite a nice, unsolicted endorsement for Saint Barnabas.
We also took photos at the Benedict house, although our shots of “Clean House” hunk Matt Iseman — who was born in Englewood, N.J., and went to Princeton — came out blurry.
Anyway, read the story to find out why the material things that we and you are buying on QVC, HSN and ShopNBC don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. That’s what the Benedict familly found out.