Utica Square's Cleaner Loves His Job

Wednesday, July 1st 2009, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

Shoppers at Utica Square have noticed a maintenance worker and the loving care he takes cleaning and caring for the shopping center's bronze statues. Though they may not know him by name, they know him as "The Cleaner."

His name is Rudy Samuels. He's worked at Utica Square for 10 years, and somewhere along the line he just adopted these sculptures as a primary duty.

"I try to keep 'em all looking nice cause I really like 'em," said Rudy Samuels.

A particular statue is called "Newspaper Reader" by J. Seward Johnson Jr. It was placed here in 1982 in memory of Walt Helmerich Sr. who died the year before. He's reading the Tulsa Tribune from the day of Mr Helmrich's death in 1981.

"I just love this one," said Samuels.

He says the detail in the sculpture requires more work, but makes it more interesting. He cleans it several times a year then brushes on a clear wax for shine and protection.

"He goes through a lot, so he really needs special attention," Rudy Samuels said of his favorite statue.

Another statue is called "Story time for one" by Rosalind Cook. Samuels says kids will come by, sit and try to figure out what she's reading. "Breeze" by Blair Buswell needs care as well.

Each one of the bronzes offers a different challenge.

"I've had animals and everything try to swim in here," Rudy Samuels said.

"Welcome Friends" and "Bird Feeder" - both by Rosalind Cook - require special attention because of water spots, according to The Cleaner.

"See the difference before and after," Samuels said.

There's great joy in keeping these sculptures looking good As the old saying goes, find a job you like and you'll never work another day in your life.

"I enjoy my job," Rudy Samuels said.  "I like people."

Apparently, The Cleaner likes real ones and bronze ones too.

What's the secret to keeping these sculptures looking good?  Mild soap, then a thin coat of clear paste wax.