Salem Evening News
by Victor Tine, Staff Writer
Coming to a backyard near you…
You’ve seen them. Maybe you’ve been one. She keeps running back and forth to the kitchen. He’s refilling the ice bucket yet again. They’re the host and the hostess who are so busy with details that they can’t enjoy their own party.
Maria Catalano can help. In her black slacks or skirt, white top and a 1950s-vintage apron, the Peabody resident becomes the Happy Hostess. Catalano will set up your party, serve food and clean up afterward. The Happy Hostess takes on the little chores so the host and hostess can have fun at their own event.
Kathy and Jim Salerno hired the Happy Hostess for a party for about 100 guests when their son graduated from St. John’s Prep in Danvers. “She was helpful but not intrusive,” Kathy Salerno said. “She allowed us to enjoy our party. We had a son graduate last year and we didn’t even remember his party, we were so busy.”
Catalano’s is a low-key business. She confines her services to parties in homes and will travel to pretty much any location in Essex County. She typically arrives an hour before the party is scheduled to start and will stay to clean up after the last guest leaves. “The host doesn’t have to worry about cleaning up after the party,” she said. She works out her specific duties with the hosts before the event. “They will tell me how they want things set up and served,” she said. “I’m like that extra pair of hands that they need.” She doesn’t do food preparation and she doesn’t have any serving supplies or equipment. “I’m not out there to compete with big catering companies,” she said.
When Frank and Alexis Eon’s daughter graduated from Northeastern they decided to have a celebration in her honor at their home, which coincidentally is also in Peabody, and invited 50 to 60 people. “My wife decided we needed help and hired her,” Frank Eon said. “She was just excellent. She did a bang-up job and everyone liked her,” he said. He said he and his wife were able to enjoy themselves at their daughter’s party. “Absolutely,” he said. “We would have been overwhelmed without her. There was just too much to do. We told her what we wanted, and she took it from there. Once she knew the game plan, she knew just what to do.” The Happy Hostess proves that sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention.