On any given day, patrons at the Wendy’s Restaurant on Baum Boulevard in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh think that they are seeing double.
Sisters Melinda Smalls Glover and Julie Latham tirelessly remind people that they are individuals. “People always think we are twins, but we are twins that aren’t twins,” they joke. Growing up in a family with five female and five male siblings, Melinda recalls that they were treated like twins. “We were raised very close. We have always been together since the first grade.”
Employed at Wendy’s for over 30 years, Melinda as a manager and Julie as head crew chief, they say they have met many types of people, some of whom they had mentored along the way. “Often we have gone into our mother mode where we provide advice,” explained Julie. “We share our experiences and speak from the heart. That is what you call sisterhood in a different way.”
“Melinda is like my oldest daughter,” explains Julie who is the younger of the two. “I always look out for her. What I do for my daughters I do for her, even when I shop.” Julie has two daughters and five grandchildren. Melinda has no children. “She has always taken care of me, protected me,” admits Melinda. “That’s our bond as sisters.”
To Julie, sisterhood is about love, loyalty, support, sharing and friendship. “It is not about envy. (Our) relationship is built on trust and confidence. We can talk about everything and know we are not judged.”
“Even though we are family, we are friends,” points out Melinda. “We know each other very well, our love is unconditional and always there. We accept each other for who we are.”
“Sisterhood is women sticking together, sharing, and respecting one another,” says Melinda. “We have to feed off of each other, to connect, to know that being friends does not mean putting labels on everything and everyone.”
“Learning to be real with [one’s] self and others is imperative. Complimenting one another and uplifting is what friendship is about,” adds Julie. Both ladies find themselves mentoring others at work or in church, whenever and wherever it is necessary.
They maintain that working in an industry with flexible schedules has allowed them to live the lives they wanted: for Julie to raise her children and for Melinda to travel. They relish the opportunity to experience other areas of life that God has in store for them.
Julie, described by Melinda as a very creative thinker, hopes to continue with her hobbies of photography and scrapbooking. “I have a love for what I do. Right now I take pictures for my church and at events for friends. It is a joy and love that I take pride in.”
The intuitive Melinda hopes to expand Inside Out, her fashion wardrobe coordination business. “I come to your home and work with the apparel and accessories that you have,” she explained.
Graduates of Westinghouse High School, the sisters value the relationship they developed at a young age. “Whether it is sisters or people you have met along the way, friendships are a valuable commodity,” said Julie.
“Often friends you meet along the way are like sisters. It’s about unconditional love,” said Melinda. “You know when it is real. The love is always there.”