My daughter Sarah and I went to get a haircut at our favorite salon the other day. Bonnie, the owner started the business when she was nineteen—we haven’t asked how long ago that was—and it’s grown and changed locations over the years.
We had a different operator this time than usual, Jenine instead of Rose. We had an appointment with Rose, but she couldn’t come in because of a migraine. Sarah will have to commiserate with her about that next time.
All of the operators are nice, and so are the people who sit around, having their hair done or waiting to. A lady who was waiting for her haircut the other day spoke to Sarah and me. She told me my hair had nice waves. She told Sarah that her hair was so fine, and she should never bleach or dye it. She said, “Girls are so quick to dye their hair, and it ruins it.”
The woman talked about her mother’s hair. “She had such pretty hair, down to her waist. We wanted to cut it but my Dad said no. He said he’d leave the house if we cut Mom’s hair. I said, ‘Oh, just a little,’ but he said no.” She said her Mom could work so well with her hair, putting it into a bun or braid, and then she had to find a hat that would go over it. “She always found one somehow. But I would see how the British Queen Mother had so many hats and I thought, ‘Could I just have one of them, for my mother?’”
My husband Murray sat in another room waiting for us, and he talked with a lady who is a special education teacher. She talked about her students and school, explaining how things have changed. Demands on her have increased, demands on the students have increased, opportunities for experiences have decreased, and nobody is happy about it. Murray is good at getting people to tell their stories.
There’s a young lady there, a kind of assistant. She comes by to offer coffee, tea, and snacks. Sometimes she’ll offer to squeeze a little hand cream on for you. “It smells really nice.”
Every time we come, the ladies who work there ask about Rebecca, my older daughter. She used to go there with us. Rebecca came with me right before she moved to Iowa and said, “This may be the last time you get to pay for a haircut for me.”
Rose, who cuts our hair most of the time, has a little girl, maybe in kindergarten or first grade. We’ve been going there long enough that the girls remember when she was pregnant. I remember when her daughter was a tiny baby, and she had her there one day. Murray asked if I wanted to see the baby, and when I got close to her, she screamed. Earlier this fall, Rose’s daughter was there one day after school, hanging out while her mom was working. I remember while I sat and waited for Sarah to get her hair cut, the little girl sat right beside me, and she fell asleep and leaned her head against my shoulder.
The staff and customers are friends, discussing their plans and families. “Is your husband feeling better?” “How has work been?”
One of the operators, a graduate of Lakewood High School, has mentioned Murray more than once when he wasn’t with us, remembering when he came by when he was growing his hair long for a wig. She laughed and said, “He says, ‘I’m like Jesus. He had long hair.’”.
During the summer Bonnie always has Indians’ baseball games playing on the radio. Murray said she told him five or six years ago when the economy was so bad that there would be no lay-offs at the salon. “We’ll all just sink or swim together.”