Provo street corner icon swings signs to support her education

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Video courtesy of: Whitney Wilcox

PROVO — “Dancing through life.” “Wicked’s” Fiyero is not the only one to adopt the motto. Provo’s Rosemarie Aldrich is doing the same, only her dancing isn’t a way to get out of school — it’s a way to get in.

Aldrich has been dancing for Provo’s Little Caesar’s Pizza for seven years in order to pay for a college education. She can often be seen on the corner of State Street and Bulldog Boulevard holding a Little Caesar’s “Hot and Ready” sign and shuffling to a mix of her favorite music — Osmond classics. She does a pretty good Marie impersonation if you ask her to.

“Donny is my favorite, though,” Aldrich said in an interview. “I also really like Simon Cowell.”

It would seem that Aldrich was destined for a musical life — one of her first words as a little girl was “guitar.” When asked for the motivation behind her active performances, Aldrich smiled.

“I suppose it’s because I have a lot of energy,” she remarked.

Afton Nielson, a co-worker and assistant manager at Provo’s Little Caesar’s, agreed that Aldrich has a lot of energy and said it is fun working with her.

However, there’s more to this quickstep queen than her enthusiastic footwork and toothy grin. Outside of work, Aldrich continues to develop other interests — and the list is long. From studying business and designing floral arrangements to volunteering at charitable organizations, Aldrich rarely has downtime. She’s also the winner of Stouffer’s 1985 10K Classic Special Olympics.

Aldrich comes from a background as colorful as the pizza sign she twirls. A native of Massachusetts, she moved to Utah in 1987 at the suggestion of a friend. The fact that Utah is the home state of Donny Osmond was an added bonus.

Aldrich has become something of a Provo icon, where locals know her as “the pizza lady.” One of them, Kim White, remembered giving Aldrich a ride to school one day.

“She treats everyone as friends,” White said. “She’s part of Provo’s culture. Everyone knows who she is.”

Aldrich said it’s not always easy staying positive. As a little girl she was raised in various foster homes and remembers feeling left out and ridiculed by her peers. School was difficult due to a mental handicap. Aldrich told of a teacher who would read tests out loud during recess time so she could finish. Aldrich worked hard and completed eighth grade on the honor role.

“One of my favorite quotes is from an unknown author. It says, ‘Some people succeed because they are destined to. Some people succeed because they are determined to.’ I have tried to beat the odds,” she said.

Aldrich seems to be doing just that. She considers her greatest accomplishment attending Utah Valley University — she is currently studying business, averages a 3.2 GPA and has six semesters left to graduate.

Barrett Ogden, a professor in Utah Valley University’s theater department, recalled what a pleasure it was working with Aldrich. “Each time we would meet in class, her infectious enthusiasm and abundant energy were exceeded only by her openhearted and loving support of each student.”

Aldrich’s favorite college class so far? Dance, of course.

 

 

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