Home » Location » Barbershop » Blond, Black and Pink (Part 25)

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In Part 24, Cindy and her Mom Michelle get much shorter haircuts just as they had both vowed to do. Tess attends her first workout and practice session with the Bulldogs swim team and is almost overwhelmed when she sees what they are doing and how hard they work. She is about ready to quit, but with the encouragement of Tommy, Christine and the others she decides to continue.

The amigas are at lose ends now that their summer league season is over, and there is no other league they can join for the fall.

WEEK 11

Sunday

The last of the free summer concerts in the band shell in the small park across town would be held today. Tommy had arrived early so that he and Christine could have a light lunch before they set out on their bikes. The most important event was that Tommy’s folks had invited Tommy and Christine to have dinner with them at the Herb Garden. Although they were not vegetarians themselves, they were supportive of Tommy’s decision. They would arrive a Paula’s house about six to pick up Christine and Tommy.

“Christine tells me that Tess has been progressing,” Paula said addressing her remark to Tommy.

“She has, but she’s still a little frustrated at how far behind the others she is. Her times have improved, especially in the two hundred meter free,” Tommy replied.

“She’s doing a lot better in the two hundred free and she’s improved her times in the hundred too. At first she tried to do too much and got pretty sore, but that’s almost over now and she can get going in the backstroke. By the end of the week she should be doing a lot better. She’ll be able to make the Forest team easily, but only because Bridget and Ellen aren’t eligible,” Christine told her.

“That’s too bad. They’ve worked so hard and they’re doing so well. What can they do?” Paula asked.

“Our coach said that everyone ought to keep working, because the High School coaches are trying to figure out something that will give everybody a chance to compete and get better,” Christine said. “I told Melissa that the amigas should keep working even though they don’t have a league to play in right now.”

“I hope they get something figured out. It would be a real shame if all that work and talent didn’t find a good place to be put to use,” Paula responded.

“Something is bound to happen. The coaches that saw them play know they’re too good not to have a chance to keep improving,” Tommy said.

“I hope so. Well, you too have a great time at the concert. “I’m eager to meet your parents this evening Tommy,” Paula said.

“I’m sure they’re eager to meet you too Mrs. Jenner,” Tommy responded.

“We better get going Tommy. I want to be able to sit up close,” Christine said.


Paula was just slightly anxious. She had met Marie and Harry when they arrived at six to pick up Christine and Tommy. Christine had changed from the shorts she had worn to the outdoor concert to a skirt and blouse and a pair of low heeled summer sandals. She seemed to be very much at ease when she was introduced. She offered her hand and spoke quietly, but confidently. Now they would all be back and she would be sitting down with Marie and Harry. She had fresh coffee brewing along with a tea kettle with boiling water on the stove. She shouldn’t doubt Christine’s innate good sense and how she impressed people with her self-assurance and quiet determination.

About nine fifteen the door bell rang. Before she could reach it, Christine had opened the front door and invited Marie and Harry in.

Tommy and Christine excused themselves and went to the back porch swing where they could have a few minutes alone together.

“I hope you enjoyed your selves at the Herb Garden. Would either of you like coffee or tea,” Paula asked.

“I would love a glass of iced tea if you have some,” Marie said.

“I think an iced tea would be excellent,” Harry echoed her.

Paula returned with three iced teas on a tray which she offered to Marie and then Harry.
She had already set out a tray of small dessert biscuits and napkins.

“Paula, please don’t go to any bother for us. We’ve had a wonderful evening with Christine and Tommy. Everyone a the Herb Garden seems to know and admire her,” Marie said.

“Tommy had told us that she was special and that she kept her head shaved. So I was prepared for a teenaged rebel,” Harry said. “But that’s not her at all. I’ve never seen a girl her age with such maturity and self-confidence.”

“Well, she’s always been quiet and thoughtful, but something seems to have happened this summer. I think she discovered what she wanted to do, and whatever her goal is she’s dedicated to achieving it,” Paula replied. “I’m sure Tommy had something to do with it too. They both seem to have a remarkable degree of self-assurance,” Paula responded.

“That’s quite obvious. I think meeting Christine has motivated Tommy too. I thought it was rather strange for Tommy to want to date a bald girl. I know different now. It took me a little while to stop noticing that she was bald and actually see her. She is quite beautiful. Tommy says she is remarkably strong, but she carries herself almost like a dancer – so erect and graceful,” Marie explained.

“She is an amazing young lady Paula,” Frank added.

“I’ve noticed the same sort of thing about Tommy. I’ve always though him to be exceptional. In a way they seem to be quite similar, They’re both sure of what they’re doing, dedicated and determined to reach their goals,” Paula said.

“They certainly have a lot in common. Tommy said that Christine is an excellent student and is on the honor roll. Sometimes I think I’m really lucky to have a son like Tommy, but apparently you have another daughter who is a lot like Christine,” Marie said.

“That’s Melissa. She’s the outgoing one of the two. Still she looks up to Christine in a lot of ways. She’s quite confident about herself too,” Paula tried to explain.

“From what I hear she’s as dedicated as Christine and equally level-headed,” Marie said. “I guess they get it from their Mother. You have to be pretty self-confident to be comfortable with that buzz cut, just like they have to be super confident to go about with a bald head.”

“I think I got it more from them than the other way around. The were already confident baldies before I had my long hair cut off about six weeks ago. After I saw some of my friends get buzz cuts I realized that I would look quite good with one, but I still had a hard time breaking through the old notion of how a woman should look. I was the last of the soccer and swimming Moms to get buzzed, so I’m the real stick-in-the-mud,” Paula laughed.

“You look very good in it I must say. And Harry is quite impressed. I think I’ll have to re-evaluate my notions of how a good-looking woman should appear,” Marie responded smiling.

“Actually I can speak for myself,” Harry said with a laugh. “You look quite elegant with your buzz cut Paula. Somehow it looks quite natural and flattering.”

“I think we should be going Paula, before Frank gets too flowery. Thank you for inviting us. And thank you for having such a wonderful daughter. I have no way of predicting how things will work out for Tommy and Christine, but I for one will be rooting for them. I don’t think Tommy will every find anyone better. I would like us to find time to get together. If I don’t call you in a week or so, please give me a call,” Marie told her.

“Thank you Marie. I’m not sure I deserve much of the credit though. Let me get them. Christine will want to see you before you leave,” Paula said.

A moment later Christine and Tommy came into the living room holding hands.

“Well, Christine, I’ve truly enjoyed meeting you and having some time to get acquainted. I know you’re going to have an extremely busy schedule of practice and school work, but I do hope that you can spa
re a little time now and then to visit us. We would like that very much,” Marie told her.

“Thank you very much Mrs. Williams. It was really nice for you to invite me to dinner. The Herb garden is my favorite,” Christine responded.

“I think Marie and I are going to have to find time ourselves to attend some of your meets. I would very much like to be able to cheer you on,” Harry said.

“It would be great if you could come sometimes,” Christine responded.

“We have to go now Christine. It was wonderful to meet you. Goodnight Paula,” Marie said.

“Goodnight Marie and you too Harry,” Paula said.

“Goodnight Mr. and Mrs. Williams,” Christine said.

“I’ll be there in a little while,” Tommy told them.

Tommy and Christine retired once more to the back porch.

“Are you sure that they like me Tommy? Maybe they’re just being polite,” Christine said, still a little anxious.

“They like you Christine. When they’re just being polite they say things differently. More like ‘Come visit us when you have a chance.’ Or something like ‘Having your head shaved is rather unusual isn’t it.’ Stuff like that. I think they like you a lot. Don’t worry,” Tommy reassured her. “I felt the same way the first time I met your Mom. And you can ask your Mom. She’ll know if they like you.”

“OK. I just had some butterflies. I’m fine now. They were really nice to me the whole time. I just wanted them to like me and needed some reassurance,” Christine said.

“I had better get going,” Tommy told her.

“I know. Hug me,” Christine said.

They embraced and kissed warmly as Tommy fondled her smooth head. Christine took a deep breath and let it out in a deep sigh of contentment.

“I’ll see you in the morning. Bye” she said as they broke apart still holding hands.

“Bye,” Tommy answered as he pushed his bike around the side of the house to the street.

Monday Evening

“I’m glad you and the amigas came to the workout. Nathalie said that we might hear something today. Did you look at the mail?” Christine said.

“I thought you said that she had to stop because she had to get ready to head back to college,” Melissa queried her. “I didn’t bring the mail in.”

“She came today and said she’d come tomorrow, but that would be the end. We’d be on our own Wednesday and Thursday. I’m going to look at the mail,” Christine told her.

Christine returned with the mail holding up a envelope. “Look! Here it is Melissa. It’s addressed to Mom, but it’s from the Forest High Principal’s Office.

“Do you know what they’re going to do!” Melissa exclaimed excitedly.

“All that Nathalie knew was that they were considering having junior varsity teams for some sports like soccer and swimming and that eighth graders could be on them,” Christine told her. “I guess we’ll just have to wail until Mom gets home to find out.”

“I’m going to call around and see if the others got letters too,” Melissa said.

She had hardly gotten those words out when the phone rang and she ran to answer it.

“Melissa, did you get your letter yet! Penny exclaimed. “They’re starting JV teams in soccer and the eighth graders can be on it. We get to practice with the varsity too. And ninth graders can be on the varsity squad even if they’re still at a junior high like Elmwood.”

“Wow, that is so great. We can keep on playing. Are they having tryout like the swimming team? Melissa asked.

“They’re on Saturday, right after school starts. I guess they’ll tell us about it at the first assembly.”

“I’m sure glad they started something. None of the other stuff that we could do last year was much fun. Have you checked with any of the others yet?”

“No. Mom just got home and told me about it. I’ll call Cindi.”

“I’ll call Beth and Audra. We should keep doing our workouts. Maybe we can do some practices too. You know, like dribbling and passing drills and that footwork stuff we were trying to learn.”

“That’s a good idea. I was just getting the hang of it.”

“I’ll call you back to be sure we’re all together. Bye”

“Bye.”

“Was that about the letter? What does it say about the swimming team?” Christine said excitedly.

“It doesn’t mention the swimming team,” Melissa said with a straight face.

“What!” Christine said incredulously.

“All it says is that that ninth graders can tryout for varsity teams,” Melissa told her.

Christine, her mind focused on the swim team, took a moment for this statement to register. “You….” She started to chase Melissa who burst out laughing.

“Ellen and Bridget can try out for the team! And they’ll make it for sure! You’re going to give me heart failure one of these days. I’ve got to call them,” Christine said excitedly.

When Paula arrived a few minutes later, Christine was talking animatedly on the phone, and Melissa met her with the letter from the office of the Principal of Forest High.

The rest of the evening continued in the same fashion – telephone calls, excited conversations, and a general disruption of their normal routines as information traveled rapidly about the community.

Friday – The Tryouts for The Forest High Swimming Team]

“Melissa, I have to hurry. The tryouts start at nine and we all wanted to meet first. Is breakfast ready yet?” Christine called down the stairs.

“It’s ready,” Melissa yelled back up the stairs.

It was only seven fifteen, but they were all up and dressed including Paula who had taken a day of personal leave to be able to attend. The women’s tryouts were scheduled for the morning only, unless there were quite a few more swimmers than expected. The swimming team, now having incorporated Tess was up to seven. They wanted to have a chance to get together before the actual trials. They all expected to be able to make the team, although if the coaches decided to limit the team to eight as he could but wasn’t required to, one of them might not make it.

“Christine, is Tess doing better now,” Paula asked. “In the excitement last night I forgot to ask.

“She did a lot better yesterday, particularly in the hundred back. That’s where the workouts really help. Jessie is still better though. She’s gotten better in the hundred free too. She’s making progress in the two hundred races, but I think her best events are going to be the short ones. She doesn’t like the longer events,” Christine explained.

“I’m glad she’s doing better. She was pretty down after the regional meet. It must have been quite a blow to her pride to have been beaten so badly even when she actually had some of her best times,” Paula said.

“She was coasting even though she worked a little harder before the regional. She needed to be pushed. She can be a really good swimmer if she gets herself motivated. I hope she does,” Christine added.

“When did you say Tommy would be here?” Paula asked.

“In about five minutes,” Christine replied.

“Let’s get cleaned up here and be ready to go. Is someone picking up Gail?” Paula asked.

“She coming with Bridget. She was going to talk with Kate last night. I guess Kate can’t come because Friday is her busiest day beside Saturday,” Christine answered.

“I’ll get it,” Christine said as the front door bell rang. She greeted Tommy with a hug and a quick kiss. “I’m a little nervous. I know we’ll do well, but I want all of us to be on the team,” she told him.

“Everybody has kept getting better. You’ll all be fine. Just relax and concentrate on getting yourself prepared,” Tommy told her.

“I know. I’ll be fine. I’ll help the others and we’ll be ready,” Christine reassured herself and Tommy.

They arrived at the Forest High fifty meter outdoor pool at eight fifteen. Christine and Tommy headed toward the locker room while Paula and Melissa found their way to the bleachers set up beside the pool. A few others were already there, including Rhonda and Doris, and another tall
women that Paula did not recognize standing off to one side. She went over to greet Rhonda and Doris. As she did so the tall, gangly woman, with what Paula could now see was a brush cut much like the one Sammie had gotten, approached them.

“Hello, I’m Gabby Peters, a friend of Kate. I hope you’re some of the swimming Moms that Kate keeps talking about. Kate wanted me to come to cheer for Gail,” Gabby said.

“Well, you’ve certainly found the swimming Moms. I’m Paula, this is Rhonda and this is Doris. I guess Kate has been talking about us,” Paula laughed.

“She has indeed. She really wanted to come today. She asked me to come as sort of a stand in for her. I guess I won’t be able to meet Gail until everything is over,” Gabby said.

“You must be a very good friend of Kate to be willing to come here on Friday morning on her behalf,” Rhonda said.

Gabby hesitated for a moment, before responding. “We’ve been close for quite a while. We met about ten years ago. She’s told me a lot about Gail. Gail sounds like someone special who could use a little encouragement and support.”

“That is certainly true. Gail is going to be a champion, no doubt about it. Having someone to stand behind her will make her feel a lot better,” Doris replied.

Most of the other Moms had now arrived. Abby, with Timmy beside her, was talking with Michelle who had brought along twins Andy and Eric. Sammie arrived through one entrance and immediately caught the eye of the other women with her much shorter semi-flattop, but the sensation of the morning was Iris who stunned all the soccer Moms with her clipper shave.

“Iris! Look at you! You really got it shaved didn’t you?” Michelle exclaimed.

Iris grinned. “Indeed I did, yesterday. Although, strictly speaking it’s not shaved, just buzzed as short as possible.”

“That is a great look, Iris. I hope I look that good when I get my head shaved,” Michelle said.

“You look great with your new short cut. When do you plan to get it shaved?” Iris asked.

“I really don’t know, but the way things are going I’ve just assumed that we’ll all have shaved heads sooner or later,” Michelle laughed.

“Here they come,” Rhonda interrupted.

Seven swimmers emerged and lined up. The timing board was on, but there were no names.

“They’re in alphabetical order. The two girls in lanes one and seven were on last year’s team. Hal said they can’t compete with our girls,” Rhonda interjected.

They waited expectantly as one of the assistant coaches acted as the starter. The two Forest High swimmers were noticeably slower at the start than the others. There was little drama. Christine and Janet finished one and two ahead of Tess who managed to edge out Bridget and Ellen. Liz Adams and Betsy Steager were well behind. The same order prevailed later in the hundred, but Bridget edged out Tess in the two hundred with Ellen trailing her by a hand span.

The remainder of the trials were much the same. The former Bulldogs were one and two in every event including the two hundred meter events. Tess finished a strong third in the fifty meter backstroke. In the hundred meter back stroke Tess trailed Jessie by a larger margin and was third in the two hundred although well behind Christine and Jessie. Gail and Jessie were one two in the breast stroke events with Ellen showing very well in third place. Dana finished a credible fifth.

Janet, Gail and Bridget finished one, two and three in the butterfly with Sharon finishing fifth in the fifty and sixth in the longer races.

The last trial had occurred at twelve fifteen. Trials for the men would begin at two.

“Did you get all the times Sammie,” Iris asked.

“I think I did. Hal will give me a hard time if I didn’t,” Sammie laughed.

“Gabby, Gail did extremely well. She just keeps getting better,” Rhonda said.

“I think I should have been a swimmer in college rather than a volleyball player. It looks like it’s a lot easier on your knees,” Gabby observed. “I’m no expert, but these kids seem to be doing pretty darn good.”

“The may be quite a bit better than darn good. Gabby,” Rhonda said. “By the way folks, this is Gabby a friend of Kate. She’s here for Gail on behalf of Kate. I think we’re going to see a lot more of her in the future.”

Paula turned to Melissa who was in busy conversation with the other amigas. “Melissa, do you know who that boy is standing by the fence. He was yelling and waving during some of the trials.”

I remember seeing him at some of the other meets. I think Christine said he’s Gail’s boyfriend. I can’t remember his name though.”

“I remember seeing him as well. Christine said that Gail has a boyfriend. She hasn’t mentioned any of the others having boyfriends, so I’m guessing that’s who it is,” Paula responded.

Paula thought for a moment then made a decision. She walked over to the teenager and stood beside him. “Hi, I Paula Jenner, Christine’s Mom. I’m guessing that you’re Gail’s boyfriend. Is that right?”

“Yeah. Do all of you always come to cheer for your kids?”

“We do now. We think they’re all special. Gail is particularly special. And you must be at least a little bit special to come here to yell for Gail. There’s someone I want you to meet, but you didn’t tell me your name.” Paula replied.

“It’s Jeremy. Who is it that I should meet?”

“See that tall thin lady over there. She sort of Gail’s cosponsor. She’ll be helping Gail as much as she can. You could help her by letting her know when Gail needs anything. Her name is Gabby. She’s a close friend of Kate. Has Gail told you about Kate?” Paula inquired.

“She said that Kate was going to be her sponsor or something like that. She seemed to be feeling better since the regional meet when her Mom didn’t show up,” Jeremy replied. “I guess I could talk to that lady. Does Gail know about her?”

“I don’t think so, but Gail will meet her in a few minutes when she comes out. Come on over and let me introduce you.” Paula said.

“Gabby I have someone I would like you to meet. This is Jeremy. He’s Gail’s boyfriend.” Janet said.

“Her boyfriend? You came all the way over here so you could cheer her on? That’s wonderful. I’m very glad to meet you. Gail needs all the friends she can get. How long have you and she been going out together?” Gabby asked.

“I got to know her last winter. We don’t go out much, just hang out together. She’s a really good swimmer and I wanted to help her feel better. So I came over here.” Jeremy answered.

“We need to get to know each other better. I want to help Gail too. Between the three of us maybe we can. My friend Kate wants to help, but you already knew that. Here’s my telephone number. If you see that Gail needs any help you can call me anytime. I know what she going through. It happened to me too,” Gabby told him.

Meanwhile, the girls had showered and dressed and were ready to go when assistant coach Debbie Reger appeared to ask them to come to a brief meeting in Coach Dickersen’s office.

“Hi, girls. I’m coach Dan Dickensen and this is assistant coach Debbie Reger. She’s going to be working with you the most although I’m going to be around a lot too. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what you’ve accomplished this summer. I do know that I probably have the most enviable High School swimming coach’s job in the state. Anyway, your times were certified. And all of you have qualified for some event in the Region 2 Spring Championships. Beyond that, Christine and Janet have already qualified in several events for the Eastern Supersectional meet next summer.”

“Most of the time in these meetings I tell new members of the team how much harder I expect them to work, but I doubt that anything I would say in that regard would impress you very much. Nathalie gave me a rundown of what you have been doing for the past two and a half months. Needless to say you can’t continue on at that pace and still attend classes and d
o your homework, but putting it all together, you won’t have much time to do anything but class work, working out, swimming and sleeping. I have an idea where I think you’re all headed, so I don’t suppose that prospect scares you much. I won’t mention it again until you believe you’re ready.”

“Now here’s a little problem that we’ll all have to work together to solve. We have four senior swimmers on the team. They’ve worked hard for the past two years, but as you are aware, they’re not competitive with the top five of you here. So there are going to be some of our meets where you five are going to swim only a couple of events. I may form a second medley relay team so that more of you can compete regularly. Remember your splits count for qualifying at the big events next spring and summer. Coach Reger has the practice schedule for you. And I’d like to see your present workout charts. Nathalie said that they were nearly identical to what she does at State. Still I might want to suggest some minor changes. We’ll start on Tuesday, so let your folks know that you won’t be getting home before about five most days. We’ll have some Saturday practices too.” Coach Dickersen finished.

Paula and the other swim and soccer Moms continued to chat about the swim team, but also the JV soccer teams that were to be formed. They were relieved that the amigas would be able to continue on their path wherever it might lead them.

Abby was the first to bring up the subject of the soccer Moms nose studs. “I am so envious of your nose studs. Where did you get them done.” The question was asked of no one in particular.

“Jane at ‘Rings and Things’ can do it. We all went at the same time. We should have invited you and Jan, but we were so excited we forgot. I like mine a lot and Chris thinks it’s quite cool,” Heather explained.

“I like them too. Now that I’ve gotten my head practically shaved, I think I’ve lost my inhibitions,” Iris said.

“Me too. Maybe we had better plan a little excursion to Rings and Things pretty soon,” Sammie suggested with a laugh.

At that point the girls emerged from the locker room and rushed over to meet their parents. They all received hugs and congratulations. Gail hugged Jeremy and turned to receive hugs from several of the Moms. Paula finally intervened.

“Gail, there’s someone here you need to meet. Gail, this is Gabby, Kate’s good friend. She came to cheer for you because Kate couldn’t. Gabby, this is the remarkable Gail. She’s a future national champion swimmer,” Paula said.

“Kate said that her very special friend would be here today. I guess that’s you,” Gail said.

“That’s me. We’re your cosponsors. One of us will almost always be there when you swim at a meet. Both of us most times. If you need something or someone to talk to you can call either of us, just like Kate said,” Gabby reiterated.

“Thanks, Gabby,” Gail said, getting a little misty eyed and blinking several times.

Gail rejoined the swimmers. They, along with the soccer players and Moms had each coalesced into a separate group as they moved slowly toward the exit.

Paula, Christine and Melissa had remained behind to cheer for Tommy. He would be swimming in the hundred and two hundred freestyle, the second and third set of trials.

“Wait a minute everybody” Abby called as she saw that Paula was not leaving with them. “I need to talk to Paula.”

Abby rushed back to where Paula was standing. “Paula, I would love to go to Kate tomorrow for the clean and smooth look I’ve been contemplating all summer. Would you like to go with me?”

“I don’t think I have much of a choice do I! I said that I would if Christine made the team and of course that was a foregone conclusion two weeks ago. So I’m committed,” she laughed. “I would have liked to enjoy my buzz a little longer, but I’m actually eager to experience being smooth as silk!” Paula responded.

Iris had heard the ending of the conversation and came back trailed by several other of the women. “Did I hear you say you’re going to get shaved Paula?”

“We’re both going to do it Iris. Abby make a pact with Tess, and I said I’d do it with her especially if Christine make the Forest team. What are you thinking?” Paula inquired.

“I’m thinking I want to join you. In for a dime in for a dollar. I’m practically shaved anyway. I was going to buy a clipper to keep it like this, but if I just go ahead and shave it I can use Janet’s shaver. We can shave each other too. That would be fun. And Janet talked about getting everything shaved. Let me get her over here,” Iris said.

Janet arrived with the other swimmers followed by the amigas and and then the other Moms. By the time the impromptu conference was over the three women along with Janet, Gail, Bridget and Ellen were going to get shaved. Penny declared her desire to get shaved followed immediately by Beth.

“Oh my! If we all go in tomorrow we’re going to overwhelm Kate and completely disrupt her usual customers. That wouldn’t be quite fair. I have an idea. Gabby would it be OK if we asked Kate to open up her shop Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours to do us all. I don’t want us to impose too much.” Paula said.

“We weren’t planning anything special. I think it would be OK. Go ahead and call her,” Gabby replied. “I think I might take a few pictures for the occasion.”

“Is that OK with everybody. Say one thirty or two?” Paula asked, receiving an enthusiastic general assent.

“Abby, I’m staying here for a while to see how Tommy does in the trials. Kate needs to be called as soon as possible. Would you do that. Better check to see how many shavers are going to be needed. Maybe there’s some way we can get those by Sunday too,” Paula said trying to get everything planned.

“Paula, I can do that. I’ll pick up some shavers on the way back. I know just which one Kate recommends. Do you need anything else from the supplier?” Gabby asked.

“Won’t you have to pay for it?” Paula asked.

“No, I can sign for Kate,” Gabby responded.

“Oh, right. Who needs a shaver?” Paula asked. Three hands went up; Doris, Rhonda and Heather. I guess everyone else has one. Gabby, three shavers. They’ll need shaving gel and they can split a gallon of special moisturizer. Make that two gallons just in case anyone is running low,” Paula said.

“Great job Paula. You can manage my events anytime,” Iris said grinning.

“Terrible habit of mine. If I start to do it again, somebody kick me,” Paula laughed.

“Come on Tess. Let’s get home so I can call Kate,” Abby said. “Bye everybody. See you Sunday.”

They trouped out leaving Paula, Christine and Melissa behind.

“That is so cool Mom. And you’re going to have a bald swimming team just like I said Christine,” Melissa told her excitedly. “Everybody is going to look really great with their heads shaved smooth! I can’t wait to seem them get it done!”

“It’s very cool Mom. The Moms are really super. And Gabby is so neat to do what she’s doing for Gail. Kate never mentioned her, so why would she do that?” Christine said faintly perplexed.

“Think about it Christine. It’s pretty obvious. Gabby can sign for Kate. They’re more than just friends,” Paula responded.

“Oh, I get it. Well I like Gabby too. She really wanted to be friends with Gail didn’t she,” Christine replied.

“Yes she did and she wanted to let Jeremy know that he could call her if he though Gail needed anything,” Paula said.

While they were talking the fifty meter trials had been finished. They were a formality because there were only seven guys who had signed up for the try outs and only three of them were swimming the fifty meter free.

“Tommy should be in the next set,” Christine said. “He’s fast because he’s so strong, but he needs a good coach to help him learn how to use the right technique. His coach this summer didn’t know too much about it and I don’t know how to show him the right way. When I tried I
made it worse. I’ve got to understand it better,” Christine said.

“Here they come. It’s only three,” Melissa announced.

“One of them is that good swimmer on the Wasena team. I think the other one was on last year’s team at Forest, but he almost never got to swim in a meet,” Christine commented.

When the trial was over Tommy had made a respectable showing coming in second comfortably ahead of the third swimmer.

Half an hour later Tommy was closing the gap with the same good swimmer during the last fifty meters of the two hundred free. In a longer race he might very well have been a serious challenger.

All the boys had times good enough to make the team.

Tommy emerged half an hour later to be greeted by Christine who gave him an exuberant hug.

“You did great Tommy,” she told him.

“I could do a lot better if I learned to swim correctly, Coach Dickersen told me. You were right that my technique was wrong. I’m going to have to work on it and try to unlearn what I’ve been doing,” he told Christine a bit chagrined. “It’s sort of like trying to correct some of the things I learned wrong in tae kwon do when I first started.”

“You’ll do it easily when you have someone to help you who knows how to explain it right,” Christine said.

They arrived back at their home just after four in the afternoon. Tommy would have dinner with them and he and Christine would go to a movie at the little theater where they had their first date. It was the last weekend before school started and they wanted to make the most of it. They would probably do something tomorrow as well but they didn’t know what.

They were talking quietly, mostly reminiscing about some of the more memorable events of the the summer, as they entered the back hall. Melissa headed toward the telephone where she checked to see if there were any messages.

“Mom, you have a message, and so do you Christine. I have one too. I’ll listen to mine,” she said as she pressed the button. Cindy’s voice came on and announced that all the amigas were invited to Cindy’s place for Saturday afternoon where they would be treated to a barbecue and games.

As expected Paula’s call was from Abby who confirmed that Kate would open the shop on Sunday afternoon for a group of women and girls who wanted to be bald as an onion in Abby’s odd analogy.

The biggest surprise came when Christine listened to her message. There would be a catered celebration for the new Forest High Women’s swimming team at Jessie’s place. Jessie’s dad along with a couple of others had planned it during the week. The girls should invite whoever they liked to come with them.

“Wow, that’s great. Tommy I’m inviting you to go with me. I’m sure Brian will be there,” Christine said.

“Of course I’ll go. I wouldn’t want to miss it,” Tommy responded.

The three teenagers eagerly helped with the dinner with Melissa maintaining a steady chatter and Paula, Christine and Tommy adding their comments now and again.

Dinner over, they all sat in the back yard for a while. Finally Christine spoke up. “I need to change to something different so I can ride my bike. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” she explained.

When she returned she was wearing the same ‘skort’ that she had worn on her first date with Tommy. He recognized it immediately.

“That’s what you wore when we went to our first movie. It still looks great,” he said with a smile.

“Well, this is the last day of summer vacation for us. I wanted to do something special,” Christine responded. “I’m ready to go if you are.”

“You look great Christine. Bye, kids,” Paula said.

After they left and while she and Melissa were still chattering Paula had a sudden thought. “Melissa, I just had an inspiration. I remember Hallie saying that she was going to get her hair cut even shorter this week in preparation for having it shaved for Steffie’s wedding. I’m going to call her and see if she’s interested in going with us to Kate’s on Sunday. I bet she will be. To bad she couldn’t come to the tryouts with Audra this morning.”

“Good idea Mom. I think she always likes to be with her friends when she does something different,” Melissa offered her insight.

“Audra, is that you. It’s Paula Jenner. Can I talk to your Mom?”

“Sure Mrs. Jenner. Mamma it’s for your. It’s Mrs. Jenner.”

“Hello, Paula. Audra tells me that the girls did great at the tryouts.”

“They certainly did. So good in fact that that they were way ahead of the four girls from last year’s team. As a consequence a bunch of us are going to Kate’s shop Sunday afternoon to get shaved. Abby, Iris and I are the adults. Four of the girls will get shaved also. You said you were going to get yours cut shorter this week and would get it shaved for the wedding pretty soon. How about coming with us and getting it shaved now.”

“Now that’s a tempting idea. I planned to go to the barbershop across town tomorrow, but maybe I should just go ahead and get it shaved now. Hold on a minute. Let me ask Victor what he thinks about it……………….. He asked me what I had been waiting for,” Hallie laughed. “What time should I meet you. I can’t get there before about two. I’m in the early service choir, but you know how long it takes us to have our Sunday dinner,” she laughed again.

“I wouldn’t disrupt you Sunday dinner for anything. Just show up when you can. We’ll all be there. It’s going to take a while for Kate to do the six of us. We were going to do it tomorrow, but the amigas are going to Cindi’s place, and the swimmers are celebrating at Jessie’s house. Besides, if that many people showed up unexpectedly would cause a problem for Kate because of her regular customers.

“That makes sense Paula. I’ll get there as soon as I can.”

“That great Hallie. I’ll see you there. Bye.”

:Bye Paula. Congratulate Christine for me.”

“Oh, I will, Bye.

“Bye.”

“Well, she was eager Melissa. Apparently Victor has been encouraging her to get it shaved,” Paula said.

“That’s what Audra said too. She heard her Dad ask her Mom why she was waiting to get her head shaved. I just remembered something Mom, didn’t we get letters from Elmwood and Forest about what we needed when we started school again.”

“Goodness, yes,” Paula exclaimed. “Thanks for reminding me. We’ve got to stop by Super lots after we leave Kate’s shop Sunday. It’s a good thing they stay open late even on Sunday. Let’s go look at the letters. They’re in my office.”

They went upstairs to retrieve the letters.


The movie was over at nine. Tommy and Christine left the theater and rode leisurely back through the Crown Point Park where they stopped at the picnic benches.

“Coach Dickersen told us that we’ve all qualified for events at the Eastern Regional Spring Meet. I know we all want to go. I hope you can go.”

“I’ll need to get a lot faster in the two hundred and four hundred to qualify. If I can get my technique straightened out maybe I’ll make it. But I’d like to be there with you even if I’m not swimming. There’s probably a way for me to come,” Tommy said.

“I hope so. It would be kind of lonely if you’re not there,” Christine responded. “I guess we’d better go.”

They rode quietly the rest of the way home and came in through the back porch and through the kitchen to the family room.

“We’re back Mom,” Christine announced.

“Did you enjoy the movie?” Paula asked.

“It was OK. A little silly though,” Christine replied.

“The situations were pretty unbelievable Mrs. Jenner. They were trying to be funny, but it didn’t seem realistic. It was more like a cartoon,” Tommy explained.

“Too bad. Some movies are like that. I guess I’ll go up Christine. Don’t stay up too late. You’ve had a busy day already and another one coming up tomorrow. Goodnight Tommy,” Paula said.

“Goodnight Mrs. Jenner,” Tommy replied.

Christine and Tommy retired to their favorite spot, the
swing on the back porch. Christine laid her head on Tommy’s shoulder where he caressed it gently. “I’m glad your Mom had your head shaved.” Tommy told her.

“So am I, but why are you glad?” Christine asked.

“Well, if you hadn’t, I might not have found a reason to talk to you,” Tommy explained.

“That’s pretty funny you know. I don’t think of you as being that shy. Of course, you didn’t talk with me last year. Maybe that was because I wasn’t bald,” Christine laughed.

“Maybe so. Being bald made you special, but you’re special in a lot more ways than that. I think you have a big responsibility now. The other girls respect and look up to you as their leader.” Tommy told her.

“I didn’t to mean for that to happen. I just wanted us to be a good team. I’m not all that different,” Christine replied.

“You just need to keep on doing what you’ve been doing and it will work out. You’ll be part of the best bald swimming team anywhere,” Tommy said with a laugh.

“It’s pretty funny. I’m sure Bridget and Ellen will qualify for the Spring Regional meet in the next couple of months. So we’ll go as a team. I hope we can all qualify for the Summer Meet too,” Christine said.

“Ellen and Bridget want to be like you Christine. They’ll work as hard as they can. They’ve already proven to themselves that they can succeed if they work at it the way you do. They’ll make it,” Tommy told her.

“I think I had better go in. I’m really glad Mom had me shaved if that’s what it took to get you to talk to me. I guess I’ll just have to stay bald to make sure you keep paying attention to me,” Christine added.

“I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll stop paying attention to you,” Tommy said as he leaned down to kiss her. He stood up and she took his hand as she stood up in turn. They held each other for a long moment before kissing with a bit less restraint than on previous occasions.

A few minutes later they were at the end of the driveway with Tommy’s bike.

Week 12 – Sunday at Kate’s Barbershop

Paula, Christine and Melissa were sitting around the kitchen table talking after their breakfast. Their talk had wandered from subject to subject without focusing only anything in particular.

“Christine, were there any other guys there beside Tommy, Brian and Jeremy?”

“Ellen had invited Sean. Do you remember him? He was in one of my classes. Bridget said that he was always hanging around Ellen last year. He seemed to be pretty hung up about her. And Janet invited Denny. I know they’ve been out a few times, but he acted uncomfortable to be around a bunch of bald girls. Bridget invited Suzy. I thought that was funny, but she’s pretty cool and gets along with everybody. She hadn’t seen any of us except Bridget this summer, so she was surprised, but she seemed to like the bald look,” Christine answered.

“We had a lot of fun at Cindi’s. Mrs. Michaels fixed salmon burgers and veggies. They had homemade ice cream. What did they bring in for you guys? I’ll bet that it was pretty fancy,” Melissa said.

“Actually it wasn’t all that fancy. They had veggies with dip, and some nice veggie wraps. And they had a lot of good fruit like fresh sliced peaches and pears, boysenberries, grapes, and cherries. Dessert was the fancy part. It was some sort of fruit custard. It was good,” Christine answered.

“Christine, I just had an interesting thought. You know that Abby is going to take Tess to school tomorrow. What do you think of the idea of all the swimming Moms going with the kids and all arriving at the same time? You could ask Tommy to come with us too.” Paula asked.

“That’s a cool idea. We could all go in as a group even though we would be going to different classes mostly,” Christine responded enthusiastically.

“Melissa, I’m sorry that I can’t do the same for you. What do you think of the idea?” Paula asked.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea Mom. A lot of the kids already know that there are a bunch of bald girls playing soccer. I think we can just go and act normal. It’s a little different in High School,” Melissa said.

“You’re probably right, Melissa. We’ll just leave things the way they are. I’ll talk to Abby and Iris when we get to Kate’s and we can see if we can all get together,” Paula said.

“Mom, what happened to the Club meeting. I thought it was going to be every month. It should have been today,” Melissa said.

“That’s right Melissa, but there’s been so much going on for the last two weeks that no one could find time to get it organized. So after a while we decided to not have one this month and have one at the end of September when everyone will be settled down somewhat,” Paula explained.

Two hours later they were on their way to Kate’s shop. The parked almost directly in front. Another two cars were parked further down the block. They had hardly gotten out of their car when another car pulled in behind them. Bridget stuck her head out the window and called, “Hey, wait for us.”

Rhonda, Bridget and Gail emerged.

They walked in to be greeted by Kate, Heather, Penny, Abby and Tess. Gabby was fiddling with the shop’s light trying to reduce shadows.

“Who else is coming?” Kate asked.

“Let’s see, there’s Michelle and Cindi, Iris and Janet, Hallie and Audra, they’ll be here later, Doris and Ellen,” Paula recited. “I’ve missed some.”

“Leigh and Beth are coming,” Heather said.

Sammie and Jessie are coming too, although they’re not getting anything done,”
Rhonda said.

The bell jingled as Iris and Janet came in. “Hi, everybody. I hope I’m not too late to get a shave,” Iris said laughing.

“Not at all. We’re about ready to get started. Who wants to go first?” Kate asked.

“Mom, I think you should be the first. You promised to do it when I first got shaved and to do it before the first day of school, so you should be first,” Tess argued.

“Absolutely right on Tess. You made the first specific commitment Abby. You should have the honor,” Paula agreed.

“Well, I’ve been looking forward to it for several weeks. I’m very much ready, so I guess I’ll take you up on being first,” Abby said as she stepped up on platform and settled herself into the chair.

“This is going to be a first for me too. I’ve never shaved even two women in one day, much less three,” I will be the experience of a life-time and I’m honored to be the one to do it. Gabby thinks its going to be some sort of a historic moment and decided that she should record it for future reference,” Kate responded.

“Actually it’s even more historic that you think. Hallie is coming and she’s going to get shaved too. She’ll be the fourth,” Paula corrected her.

“Hallie? She’s never been here before has she?” Kate asked.

“No, she hasn’t. She’s Audra’s Mom, Paula explained.

“This really is going to be historic. Four women getting their heads shaved just because they want to!” Kate responded.

“Abby, I’m going to start by giving you a clipper shave with my trusty old clipper with the triple zero blade,” Kate told her as she turned it on. “Head down. Way down,” she ordered loudly to the amusement of the people present. Gabby snapped a picture.

Kate began a running commentary as she ran the clippers up the back of Abby’s head.

“Now this lady is going to look quite good with a smooth shaved head. You can see that the back of her head doesn’t have any bumps or hollows and it is nicely rounded. You don’t want a perfectly round head if you’re going without hair and hers is just right. Its a little longer from front to back than it is from side to side. You can see that now that I’ve cleaned up this side. Another important feature of this lady’s head is that she has nicely shaped ears that lie close to her head,” Kate said to no one in particular as she clippered first the right side and then the left side of Abby’s head.

“Some women have quite irregular hairlines in front, which mea
ns that they don’t look quite right with a buzz cut. In those cases I recommend that they get their hairline waxed to correct it. But once you decide on a smooth shaved head, that little problem is eliminated. Now this lady did have a good front hairline and her previous buzz cut was quite suitable for her,” Kate continued as she ran the clippers from the front hairline back to the crown. Several passes later Abby’s head was clippered to the nearly shaved state that a triple zero produces.

Abby sat fascinated as much by Kate’s commentary as by the experience of having bare clippers running over her head.

“Well Abby, what do you think so far. I’m going to give you a deluxe shave in a few minutes,” Kate said as she brushed off the stray hairs from Abby’s head.

“It was fun. I enjoyed the feel of the clippers. Do you give a running commentary for all your lady customers who come in for a smooth head shave,” Abby asked.

“Actually no. I just thought it would be fun and a little bit entertaining to do a running commentary. I do that when I’m doing videos for contests. Hot towel coming up. I think your audience got a charge out of it. I would have loved to have done a video makeover with Christine as my model, including shaping and coloring her eyebrows. If you ever grow out you hair and want it shaved again, please let me know Christine, Kate said.

“I’m not letting it grow out anytime soon, Kate. I don’t know what could happen that would make me want to let it grow out. I feel like this is me,” Christine said.

“I feel the same way,” Tess added. “I really like the way I look without hair on my head.”

“Hot lather coming up,” Kate said as she applied a generous handful to Abby’s head and rubbed it around to cover every spot.

“Wow, that feels good!” Abby exclaimed.

You’ll probably get to feel it once more. I’ll probably have to shave you twice. That’s usually the case for a first shave. Tess, how are you doing?” Kate asked.

“I only need to shave three times a week now. It won’t be long before I can shave just twice a week,” Tess responded.

“You should be able to get it really smooth now Tess,” Christine advised her. “Melissa and I found that we can press harder now and there’s no problem. It feels really smooth for two days after we shave.”

Kate had been steadily shaving Abby’s head. She had started in the front working from right to left and toward the back. After reaching about half-way back she switched to the right side of Abby’s head and began shaving down. The hint of sideburn that remained disappeared. Working from the top she shaved the side with a few deft strokes, wiping the blade frequently. Next she carefully shaved around Abby’s ear. She continued around Abby’s head cleaning up the nape and working her way up to the crown. On the left side she repeated the process, shaving downward to the top of Abby’s ear then working around it with careful short strokes.

When the bell jingled announcing the arrival of someone she did not look up. She heard greetings and Sammie. She assumed that meant Jessie also. She continued without a break until she lowered the chair so that she could reach the top of Abby’s head more comfortably. Abby’s head was soon clean except for some bits of foam here and there.

“Mom, you look funny with those little bits of foam on the tops of your ears. But you’re going to be beautiful when it’s all done,” Tess announced enthusiastically.

“I’m going to have to shave it again Abby. It’s not as smooth as I’d like it to be. I guess everyone should expect to be shaved twice and have a very smooth finish. Oh my, we’re running out of seats. Will someone help Gabby bring in those folding chairs from the back. I think we can squeeze in those four. We’ll still be short quite a few. You kids are going to have to stand up or sit on the floor I guess,” Kate told them.

The little shop was getting crowded. They moved the table to the back blocking the door there and set up the other four chairs. The three amigas present sat on the floor. Meanwhile Kate had spread hot lather over Abby’s head and was beginning her second shave. She changed tactics and began on the left side of Abby’s head, shaving downward and then backward in front of her ear. She continued this mode shaving around her ear at a backwards angle, resulting in skin that had no trace of hair to the touch. In the back she cleaned up the nape area before she shaved both left and right up to the crown. On the right side Kate she also shaved at an angle to the grain. On the top Kate shaved from the top to the side, first in one direction and then the other. At the crown she she shaved in every direction to make sure it was very smooth.

“Well, Abby that does it. I gave you a really close shave. Since you’ll be using the special moisturizer every day, I didn’t worry as much about overdoing it,” Kate told her as she cleaned off the last of the lather with a damp towel.

Before Abby could answer, Tess interrupted. “Wow, it’s awesome Mom. You look so great. Dad is going to flip!”

Kate had turned Abby to face the mirror while she applied the moisturizer and massaged her scalp.

“Oh my Kate, I thought the clippers felt good, but I never imagined my head being so seriously sensitive. I think I’m going to have to teach Dan to do that for me,” Abby said with a big smile and her eyes first opened wide and then closed as she savored the sensation.

“Goodness Abby, you do look marvelous,” Paula exclaimed.”

“Wait a minute until I put on the bronzer, then she’ll look even better. Your scalp isn’t as pale as it would be if you hadn’t been wearing a buzz cut Abby, but it’s still rather pale. Remember to use sunscreen when you go out and wear a hat. Tess has gotten a very nice tan on her head. She had light hair anyway and now you can barely tell that she isn’t naturally bald. Your brows are not too dark, but you might want to make them a little less prominent,” Kate advised her.

As Kate removed the cape, Abby stepped out of the chair flung her arms out and did a pirouette of pure delight with a radiant smile. Tess had rushed forward and as Abby turned back to face the group grabbed her in a fierce hug that was returned enthusiastically by Abby who kissed her on the cheek and received a kiss in return.

“You’re beautiful Mom,” Tess said as she felt her head. “It’s so smooth. I’ll shave you every day.”

The bell rang again as Doris and Ellen arrived.

“Hi, Doris. You remember Abby don’t you?” Paula jumped in.

“Hi, Abby. I sure do remember you. You had one of the nicest buzz cuts, but I think your new look is much better,” Doris exclaimed.

“It’s wonderful Doris. I love it. It feels so amazingly sensuous. I’ll just have to get Dan to give me a head massage every day after I shave,” Abby laughed.

“Do we have a next?” Kate inquired.

Penny instantly held up her hand. “Could I be next. I’ve been thinking about having it shaved for a long time. “I like it really short and I want to see if I like it shaved like Melissa, Audra and Beth. They look really good,” Penny explained.

“Well why not Penny, even though you and your Mom got your regular trims Saturday a week ago.” Kate responded.

“Penny, maybe you should wait until Audra and Cindi get here. They would really like to see you get your shave,” Melissa suggested.

“That’s right. I wasn’t thinking. I should wait. Maybe someone else should go next,” Penny said.

“Well, I’m quite ready, but I’ll be happy to defer to Paula,” Iris said.

“I wouldn’t mind taking you up on that offer Iris. I’m like Penny. I’ve been looking forward to it for days,” Paula said.

“It’s a good think that I got pictures of you with your buzz cut last week, Paula. Otherwise you wouldn’t have had a complete set of pictures of your transformation,” Gabby laughed. “I want to record your clipper shave, then I’d like to take Abby and Tess outside where I can get some good Mother and Daughter sho
ts. I’ll want to do the same with Paula and Iris and their girls.”

Paula had already stepped up and taken a seat in the barber chair, where Kate had caped her.

“One clipper shave coming up,” Kate announced as she clicked on the big clipper and with no further ado began running it over the top of Paula’s head leaving a bare strip in the middle.

Paula giggled. “That feels pretty strange Kate,” She said.

“If you kept it clipper shaved like a few women I know, it gets pretty routine, but you never seem to tire of feeling it on your head,” Kate replied.

Kate had finished the right side and was starting on the left. She pressed firmly as she pushed the clippers up and then around Paula’s ear which she had folded over. The back yielded easily to the powerful clipper leaving Paula’s head bare except for the noticeable “five O’clock shadow” effect produced by the close cutting clipper. A few more passes back and forth across the top and the crown left Paula with only a hint of hair on her head, even less than Iris now sported since her clipper shave of Thursday only three days earlier.

“That looks good Paula,” Iris commented. “That’s the way I looked on Thursday. Now mine has grown out so much I hardly recognize myself. I’m glad I’m going to keep it shaved smooth. That’s even better than a clipper shave.”

“Let me get a few shots of it Kate, then you can continue with her shave,” Gabby said as she made sure she could get a good shot without too much shadowing. “Turn her to the right a little. This is the best I can do without setting up a lot of lights. Now turn her to left. OK, Paula put you head down and to the right, open your eyes and look up. There, that’s it. Thanks, I’m done.”

Gabby had taken a dozen pictures in little more than a minute, adjusting the exposure and other functions between shots in order to compensate for the less than ideal lighting in the shop.

“OK, Abby and Tess, let’s go outside.” Gabby said.

As Tess reached the door, Cindi reached it from the outside. Like many older shops, the door opened inward. Tess pulled it open.

“Hi, Cindi and Mrs. Michaels. You missed my Mom’s shave, but Mrs. Jenner’s is just starting,” Tess greeted them smiling happily.

“Hi, Tess,” Cindi responded.

“My, you look very happy Tess. And you look great Abby. I have to admit I’ve become a great fan of the shaved look on women and girls. I’m looking forward to the time that Cindi and I show off our beautiful bald heads,” Michelle said.

“Hi Cindi and Michelle,” Paula said.

“Sorry we’re so late. We just got behind schedule and couldn’t catch up,” Michelle announced.

Greeting were shared all around. Kate had applied a hot towel to Paula’s head. Now she took it off and covered her head with hot lather, massaging it gently to soften the tiny bristles.

She began shaving the top of Paula’s head from the front working from right to left and then down and back around her right ear with short deft strokes keeping the skin taut with her left thumb. The left side was followed by the back and the remainder of the top.

“Paula, I’m going to shave it again using my gel. It has a built in moisturizer and anti-irritant, and I can do an even better job. I should have used it on Abby but I forgot,” Kate told her.

She applied the clear, bluish gel to Paula’s head and tilted her back slightly.

“This will be the very smoothest shave I can possibly give you Paula,” Kate said as she began shaving the top of Paula’s head from front to back.

Meanwhile outside the shop Gabby had set up a screen back drop and a couple of diffusing reflectors to provide uniform sunlight for her shots of Tess and Abby. She had Abby put her hand on top of Tess’s head to the amusement of both.

“This is so funny. I would love to have copies of some of your pictures Gabby,” Abby exclaimed. “I’m sure that Tess and I are going to be bald for a long time. I think she looks absolutely adorable. And I think I look terrific. I’m probably kidding myself, but I think I look almost as young as Tess,” Abby said with growing enthusiasm.

“You do look terrific Mom. It will be fun to go places with you,” Tess said.

“you look a lot younger Abby. It always amazes me when I see a woman get her head shaved how much younger she looks,” Gabby agreed. “I’m done. Let’s see how Paula is doing.”

Kate had nearly finished shaving Paula, who was in a rather odd position leaning far forward so that Kate could reach the back of her head to shave from the bottom upward, once again pulling the skin taut with her fingers. Kate explored Paula’s head, found a few spots where she reapplied gel and shaved it again. Finally satisfied she used a damp towel to remove the last bits of gel.

“It’s done Paula. Let Christine and Melissa shave it for you if they have time before school. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to get it pretty smooth with the shaver,” Kate told her. “You do want the special moisturizer don’t you?”

“Absolutely. I’ll be very happy when I can shave it just once a week. Once a year would be even better,” Paula said as she admired herself in the mirror. “I think I look super good without any hair.”

Christine and Melissa had watched mesmerized as Paula was transformed from an elegant looking woman with a flattering buzz cut to a striking bald woman.

“Wow Mom, you’re unbelievable,” Melissa said almost jumping with excitement.”

“It’s terrific, Paula. An absolute winner. You’ve never looked so good,” Michelle blurted out.

“It’s true Paula. I couldn’t agree more,” Leigh chimed in.

There was a buzz of talking as everyone tried to congratulate her simultaneously. They didn’t hear the bell jingle as Hallie and Audra came in.

Paula was the first to see them. She wanted to introduce Hallie to Kate. Hallie would be the last one of the close group of friends to experience Kate’s magical touch.

To be continued in Part 26

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