Housekeeper Enjoys Quiet Side Of Cleaning

Velvlyn Mayhue has cleaned North Building offices for 20 years

Velvlyn Mayhue knows every nook and cranny of the North Building after being a housekeeper there for 20 years. Photo by Marsha A. Green.
Velvlyn Mayhue knows every nook and cranny of the North Building after being a housekeeper there for 20 years. Photo by Marsha A. Green.

Name: Velvlyn Mayhue

Position: University Housekeeper, North Building

Years at Duke: 36

What I do at Duke: I'm responsible for cleaning the North Building. I take care of the first, third and fourth floors and part of the basement. During the summer, when there aren't so many students, I do some good deep cleaning. Otherwise, it is mostly emptying trash, vacuuming, cleaning the 20 or so bathrooms in the building and cleaning each office. When I first came to Duke, I worked in the Southgate dorm on East Campus. Then I moved to the old hospital. About 20 years ago, I came to the North Building. I like cleaning a university building best. I come in at 5:30 in the morning and the building is really quiet. 

What I love about Duke: The people. I'm comfortable here. I like the people I work with, and I have a sister and a nephew who work here at Duke. 

My first ever job: I worked at the Durham Drapery shop, working on the line holding material for the women to cut.

If I could have one superpower it would be: The ability to let people be in one accord and love one another. There just isn't enough love in this world.

When I'm not at Duke I like to: Just take life slow. When my mother was alive, we used to go on vacations together. We went to Dallas, to Hawaii, all around. Now I don't take as much vacation time. Just a couple of days here and there to relax. 

Someplace outside of Duke you are likely to see me: At the Union Baptist Church on Roxboro Road. I've been going to the early morning Sunday worship there for years. I also go to Sunday School at the Ecclesia House of Prayer on Alston Avenue. Lately, I've been going to Monday night Bible Study there, too.

What I would do if someone gave me $5 million:  I'm a shy person. I wouldn't like the publicity. But I guess if I had $5 million, I'd pay off my house and help my sisters. There are five of us.

My pet peeve is: People who can't keep a bathroom clean.

What I plan to do in retirement: I don't know. I could have done the early retirement they offered a few years back, but I figured I'll stay around Duke for a few more years.