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Jim B.  ©opy write November 2009

Chapter I: Meeting Doris and Rose

“Hello, Roy’s Barber Shop, Roy here,” the voice answered. “Hi, Mrs. Taylor, what can I do for you?

“Sorry to hear that – tell him to get well.”

“Well, I won’t be here, but I’ll tell Doris and Rose,” Roy continued.

“No problem. I ‘m sure you’ll like the way the girls cut hair. I’ll tell Rose to cut Mary’s hair. I am sure Mary will like Rose.

“Alright, see you in an hour. Tell Stan to take care, and maybe we can go fishing when he gets better.”

Mrs. Taylor hung up the telephone and called for the boys and their sister to get ready. She would drop them off at Roy’s to get their haircut, while she took Stan, their father and her love, to the doctors. They usually got our haircut as a family and had been going to Roy’s since Stan and she moved here seventeen years ago.

Roy had a nice barbershop and has always catered to men, women, and children.

But, he was getting on in age so a few months ago he heard about Doris and Rose, who worked at a beauty shop, looking to relocate to a barber shop. After all they were barbers, not cosmetologists.

When they saw the shop they fell in love with it, so he made a deal with them – “Come work here and when I retire I’ll sell the shop to you.”

They had no problem getting their clientele to follow them, nor picking up new customers. Roy was even encouraging his customers to get their hair cut by one of them when he was not there. This helped the ladies and his customers would not have to go looking for a new barber when he retired.

Which was coming soon.

Roy told Doris and Rose the Taylor children would be coming for summer hair cuts, and they were to get crew cuts – no ifs, ands, or buts from them. But he forgot in his rush to get out the shop on time, to tell Rose one of them was Mary and she was to get a nice short Bob cut, kind of high in the back.

About half an hour had gone by, when Rose, who had just finished cutting a customer’s hair, told Doris she was going to take a quick run to the store for a soft drink and asked if she wanted anything.

Doris told her ‘no’, and reminded her the Taylor children would be arriving soon. Rose said she would be back in time to cut one of them.

It was a few minutes after Rose left when the Taylor?s arrived and Doris was finishing her customer.

“Be with you in a minute,” she told them as they began looking through the bookrack.

Unknown to Doris, and Rose for that, the youngest one was Mary but because she was wearing blue jeans and a pull over shirt, with tennis shoes, she looked like her brothers. The only difference was her hair was a longer than the boys.

As they sat waiting their turn Mary decided she wanted to sit in the barber’s chair like she always did. Doris noticed her climbing in Rose’s chair, and told her, “You’ll have to wait a few minutes for Rose to come back.”

Mary smiled, nodded her head that she understood, and went back reading her comic book.

Doris called for the first Taylor boy, Ken – who was 16 – to sit in the chair. As she ran her fingers through his hair she commented, “Crew cut?”

Ken nodded his head in agreement but then again he didn’t have a choice.

It took her about fifteen minutes to cut his hair and he was stepping out the chair and his brother, Ron – who was 15 – was climbing in.

Again she commented “Crew cut?” He too nodded his head in agreement.

Just as she started cutting his hair Rose came into the shop.

“Yours is waiting for you,” she told her, pointing to Mary, who was 12, 13 in a few months, who was sitting in her chair already.

Rose said “hi” and tossed the cape across the chair. She wrapped a tissue strip around her neck and pulled the cape into place. Without saying a word Rose grabbed the clippers and began to oil the blades. The sound of the humming clippers didn’t catch Mary’s attention, nor her brothers’.

“Better tuck the book under the cape a few minutes,” Rose said, as she placed her left hand on top of Mary’s head and tilted it forward. Mary responded and sat waiting for her hair to be cut.

It was then her brother, Ken, noticed Rose had the clippers.

Before he could say a word, or move, Rose began moving the clippers up the back of Mary’s neck and head, tossing a large amount of hair away from her head with the flick of the wrist.

Mary, who for years had taunted her brothers about having to get a Crew cut every summer, sat not saying a word as Rose began another pass up the back of her neck and head. Again she tossed the hair when she pulled the clippers away.

Ken sat watching with his eyes wide open and mouth opened a little.

He started to say something, but Mary pulled her left hand from under the cape and waved him to keep his mouth shut.

Unknown to him, his brother and their parents, Mary had always envied them when the summer came. They always got their hair cut real short and she had to settle for a short bob, which hung in her eyes when she tilted her head down.

She had dreamed for the day when she would be able to get a Crew cut, and now, for whatever reason, her dream was coming true.

Ken saw the look she was giving him, just sat back and went back to reading his comic book.

When Ron stepped out the chair he noticed Mary’s hair was clipped on the left side and back, as Rose was clippering the right side.

He turned to Ken, who just looked at him and shook his head.

As he walked to sit next to Ken, he watched as Rose placed the clippers on the top of his sister’s head and began pushing it back.

He turned his head to Ken and Ken whispered to him, “Let her go – I tried to say something but she gave me them ‘eyes’.”

Ron looked back at the chair as Rose was walking around the back to the chair to the left side, to finish clipping the top of his sister’s head. He, too, just went about reading his comic book.

Clippers finished, for now, Rose began dusting hair off Mary’s face, and commented, “You know, you would look better with a shorter cut than your brothers.”

Mary looked at herself in the mirror, behind where the customers sat.

“What do you say,” Rose asked. “Shorter?”

Mary looked at her brothers, who looked up, then tucked their heads back in to their comic books. Mary turned her head to Rose and nodded her head. She dared not speak a work, or Rose would know right off she was a girl – not a boy as she thought.

Rose walked back to the shelf and changed the head of the clippers.

“Number three – no, number two,” Rose said as she pushed the head on.

She oiled the blade and turned to the chair.

She placed her left hand on top of Mary’s head and tilted it forward. The popping sound the clippers made caught Mary off guard and she jumped a little.

Rose placed the clippers at the hairline and began an upward pass.

It was followed by pass after pass cutting Mary’s hair shorter, then her brothers. When she began passing the clippers over the top of Mary’s head – Mary realized how short her hair was being cut. Her eyes grew wide as she had not thought of cutting her hair this short.

But, it was too late, she had told Rose it was alright.

When she was finished Rose turned off the clippers and removed the head and took another one from her jacket pocket. When she returned the clippers to live she tilted Mary’s head to the left and began clipping the right side of her head.

Mary could hardly see any hair as the clippers moved backwards over her ear and to her neck. She felt the cool air from the air conditioner as Rose began clipping the left side of her head.

“There,” Rose said as she turned the clippers off. Taking her hair duster she began dusting small clippings from Mary’s face. She placed her left fingers under Mary’s chin and moved her head toward her. She looked the clipping over to make sure she had an even cut. She smiled when she was s
ure she had done a great job.

The clippers were hung on the hook under the shelf.

A sound of wood on wood sounded in the shop, the boys looked up to see Rose removing a large white towel from the cabinet.

They looked at each other and smiled, Ron leaned over to Ken and whispered – “She wanted a crew cut.”

Holding a hand to cover their mouth, they both began to laugh softly to themselves.

Mary looked at them questionably when she felt the cape slide down her front.

Then, she realized what they were up to when Rose began tucking the towel in the collar of her shirt. Her head quickly turned forward to see Rose standing by the shelf. Her left hand was under a silver object and her right hand was pushing down on it. It began to wind as something white came out.

As the pile grew Mary’s mind told her what it was: shaving cream.

She watched Rose turned and began spreading the shaving cream along her hairline.

First she lathered the right side, then the left. She felt Rose spread the shaving cream across her neck, but higher than she had seen Mr. Roy spread it on her brother’s neck.

Rose wiped the excess cream from her hand and picked up her straight razor.

She walked to the right side of the chair and took hold of the leather strap. Pulling it tight with her left hand she began stropping the open razor’s blade. Mary’s eyes followed the razor’s movement – up-down-up-down – to the sound it made as it moved over the strap.

Rose stopped and looked at the edge of the blade. She scraped it across her lower part of her left arm.

With the blade sharp as she wanted it, Rose began trim shaving Mary’s Crew cut. Each stroke was very short and quick, with the edge of the blade being wiped clean after every few strokes.

Rose shaved the right side, then the left side; then she tilted Mary’s head forward and began shaving across, in a straight line, her neck.

Mary knew she was shaving higher up her neck than the boys got.

But she did not mind.

When she was finished, Rose put the razor in the cabinet and wiped the excess shaving cream from the hairline. She shook some powder on the hair duster and dusted around Mary’s Crew cut and across her face. The cape was removed and Mary brushed her fingers over her face then her head.

She smiled as she felt how soft and nice it felt. Her dream had come true, before its time.

She stepped from the chair and walked to the mirror and felt her head again.

Ron walked up to her and ran his fingers over her head.

She smiled.

Ken paid for the haircuts, then walked up behind Mary and ran his fingers over her head.

He whispered in her ear, “We weren’t here when you got your hair cut. We had walked over to the park to wait for you.”

Mary turned and smiled at him, “O.K..”

They turned and walked out the shop, as both Doris and Rose told them to come again.

They turned and waved to them, Mary could not resist but to say, “Thank you for the Crew cuts!”

When they heard her soft feminine voice they looked at each other!

Chapter II – Part I: Then, I was 15

Needless to say, when their mother picked them up she very upset, as was their dad, that Mary had a Crew cut.

But, true to her promise, she told her parents she had to wait for Rose to come back from the store, so her brothers went to the park to wait for her. For some very strange reason they believed her, and her brothers’ story.

Mary continued, she had always dreamed of getting a Crew cut and when she realized she looked like her brothers that morning – only with a little long hair – it was time for her dream to come true.”

She told her parent?s she talked in a deep voice when she talked with Rose. That she even questioned her but she told her she had a cold. So, they could not blame her brothers, nor Rose.

Her mother forbade her to get her hair cut the rest of the summer, which was all right with Mary. As she had gotten her Crew cut.

Thus, her hair grew uneven for the rest of the summer.

And, she began to notice boys.

When her fifteenth birthday came around her mother had forgotten about the Crew cut, or maybe she just chalk it up to a learning experience for Mary.

Mary had let her hair grow past her shoulder?s, and had a little curl in her hair.

Her mother had even let her lighten the color a little during the school year. When she turned fourteen her parents had promised they would let her decide what she wanted to do with her hair when she turned fifteen.

Mary spent most of her spare time looking through hairstyling magazines for something she liked. She even talked things over with Rose, whom her parents had not held responsible for the Crew cut and let Mary go to for trims. Rose made recommendations, and even if she had time, would comb her hair to somewhat look like a style they had seen or thought of.

When she was in the eighth grade she had gotten a job at the local sporting goods store. She worked after school and on weekends and during holiday breaks.

She began to dress up more, wearing high-heels and make-up. Her mother had allowed her to get her ears multi-pierced and did not say a word when she came home with the left side of her nose pierced one day.

But, Mary knew this upset her, because she had pushed a little when they began letting her on her own.

School was out and she began working eight hours a day. She became very popular with the boys who came to buy tennis shoes and other sporting goods.

The owner of the store, Mr. Van Meyer, had offered her a full-time job when she finished high school. Even, if she went to college.

The week before her fifteenth birthday her mother began asking her about her hair. It was almost to the middle of her back and she knew she did not like it.

But, she had let it grow because her mother had asked her.

But, mom knew Mary did not like long hair and would be cutting it in a few days.

For the rest of the week Mary looked through the magazines, looking for the style she wanted. She found a few nice short cuts and cut them out. She showed them to her friends and got their opinions, as well of her mother.

But, her mother told her it was her decision – no one else’s.

The night before her birthday she began to dream of when she got the Crew cut.

How she felt with her hair cut so short, how she liked it and wished she was older.

The looks she got from the boys, them not believing she had done it.

Her girlfriends telling her how brave she was. Some liked it others did not.

No matter how she got her hair cut, it would have to wait until Tuesday.

That was four days away and her thoughts of the Crew cut lingered in her mind every night. She tried to talk with her mother about it but her mother told her she would have to make the decision – not knowing what Mary wanted to talk with her about.

When Tuesday came Mary was up early, even though she did not have to be to work until eleven a.m..

Again she tried to talk with her mother about how she wanted to cut her hair, again her mother told her it was her decision. Even though Mary mentioned her thoughts of when she got the Crew cut, her mother stopped her short.

“Well,” Mary told her, “you’re going to have to call Rose and tell her it is my decision. And, you have no objections how I want my hair cut.”

She thought her mother would begin to question her, but her mother just picked up the telephone and called the shop, now co-owned by Doris and Rose – “D&R’s Barber Shop.”

She began wondering – thinking – about the cuts she had cut from the magazines. But, she saw herself with a Crew cut in each.

After about an hour she decided to take them with her and let Rose pick the best one for her.

After getting dressed Mary returned to the kitchen, to eat something before going to the barber shop then work. He dad had come home for lunch and was seated at the t
able.

“Hi, Mary,” he said as the raised his cup of coffee. “Mom tells me your going to cut your hair short, again! Hope it’s not like you did when you were twelve!”

“Now, Stan,” her mom, Connie, commented, “she was a child and did know what was happening. Besides, she’s a young lady now.”

Laughing, Mary sat down and began fixing a sandwich. She wanted to tell him, them but she began feeling like she was twelve again.

After her dad had finished his lunch, he got up and gave his wife a kiss. He leaned over Mary’s shoulder and gave her a kiss, too.

As he turned to leave, he asked Mary, “Do you have enough money?”

“Come now Stan,” her mother said, “it’s her birthday. Just give her the ten dollars for her haircut and don’t worry about it.”

He reached in his pocket and counted out fifty dollars.

“Here,” he said handing her the money, “I didn’t know what to get you for your birthday.”

Mary took the money.

“Thanks, dad,” she said. “I understand. I’m getting to old for you to find something for.”

He patted her on the shoulder and gave her a little kiss on the top of her head, she winked back at him with a smile.

As he walked past her mother, who was standing in the door, she smiled at him. They looked at each other, knowing what Mary told him was right.

Her mother reached up and patted him on the cheek.

“Better give me some of that,” she told him. “I think I’ll get my hair cut today, too.”

“Connie, Connie,” he said.

He reached in his pocket and started to count out but she just took two tens and a five dollar bill. He smiled, kissed her again.

“See you ladies tonight,” he said and left shaking his head.

Mary heard what her mother said and looked at her. Before she could say anything her mother spoke.

“I’ll drop you off at work after we get our hair cut.”

Mary started, again, to tell her mother what kind of hair cut she was thinking of getting. Again she stopped her.

“You’re old enough to decide for yourself.”

Mary tried to talk about her decision but her mother just looked at her. She did not want to hear what Mary wanted to say.

When they arrived at the barbershop Rose was sweeping.

“Hi,” she said to them.

Mary asked her mother if she wanted to go first, but she told her no.

Mary set her purse on the chair next to the one her mother sat in.

She walked to the chair and sat in it.

Rose tossed the cape across and pulled it in place around her neck.

“Happy Birthday, Mary,” Rose commented.

“Thank you,” Mary replied.

“So, have you decided on which cut you want?” Rose asked.

Mary took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

She looked at her mother, who was seated in front of her, looking through a magazine. Mary looked at Rose, their eyes looking into each other’s both somehow knew the answer.

Mary closed her eyes and turned her head forward.

“Yes,” she told Rose.

“I have decided.”

She looked at her mother, who had looked up a little.

“I have decided… I have decided…” she wanted to say it but it wouldn’t come out.

She looked at her mother, who was not looking right at her. Rose began running her fingers through Mary’s mid-back hair.

Mary took another deep breath, “I want a Crew cut.”

As she let out her breath her eyes closed, as she waited to hear her mother’s voice.

She sat waiting, waiting.

She heard nothing and opened her eyes.

Her mother was still looking at her. Her expression was still the same.

Rose looked at her in the mirror, then at her mother.

“Like last time?” she asked Mary.

Mary, still looking at her mother, nodded her head. “Yes, but shorter.”

Rose reached to the shelf and picked up her comb and scissors. She combed Mary’s hair out.

Then, starting on the right side she began cutting Mary’s hair along the hairline. With each snip of the scissors more than a foot of hair slid to the floor, or down to Mary’s lap.

Mary looked at her mother, her mother looked at her.

Mary looked but did not see what she was looking for. Instead she saw a look of someone who was interested in how she was getting her hair cut.

Her mother did not blink an eye as her hair fell to the floor.

Soon, Rose had cut Mary’s hair all round her head. She looked like she was wearing a twenties hat. The kind that fixed tight to one’s head, back then. She had seen pictures of her grandmothers with this kind of hat.

“CLICK”

Mary watched as the sound made her mother jump a little. She inhaled causing her to fall backwards a little.

Mary closed her eyes as Rose tilted her head to the left and began pushing the clippers up the side of her head. Mary’s mind went back to the day, the day her dreams had come true, when she got her first crew cut.

Now, her dreams again were coming true. She was not hiding it from her mother she was there to see it come true.

Rose worked the clippers upward tossing hair to the floor when she pulled it from her head.

She watched in the big mirrored wall, something she could not do the first time, as Rose clipped her hair shorter. Her head was tilted forward as the clippers buzzed up the back of her neck and head.

Then, the left side of her head was clipped.

Rose, still standing on the left of the chair, brought the clippers to the back of her head.

Mary felt the humming clippers touch the arch of her head and begin moving forward.

She watched the pile of hair being pushed before it; then her eyes closed with a blink as the pile of hair slowly fell past her eyes.

Rose repeated this one more time, then walked around to the other side of the chair.

Two passes over her head, then a third down the middle and all her hair was one length.

Her hair was now a quarter of an inch all over.

Mary smiled at herself in the mirror. She saw the young woman she had seen many times in her dreams. Her face was glowing, like the woman in her dreams.

Quickly Rose removed the quarter inch attachment and began clipping the side of Mary’s head again.

This time the clipper’s head was shorter than the first time.

This time, this new clippers Rose had just purchased day?s before, had a shorter cutting head. “00000,” the pamphlet said.

She had used it that morning on Doris, whom she had given a high wedge. It cut the hair so close it looked like she had shaved her head.

But, she felt the little hairs when she gently ran her fingertips over the clipped area.

Mary closed her eyes when Rose did this. It felt very sexual in a way.

Rose continued clipping until she had finished.

Mary moved her left hand from under the cape and brushed the sides and back of her head. Her hair felt strange, like her father’s, and brothers’, faces in the morning before they shaved for the day.

Rose noticed her expression, and quickly explained.

“New clippers,” she told her showing her the clippers. “They have a closer cutting head than the one I used on you the first time.”

She reached behind Mary and undid the cape, letting it fall in her lap and a cross the arms of the chair.

Mary knew, remembered, what she was going to do now.

She remembered how warm the lather felt.

How sharp the edge of the straight razor felt, as Rose shaved that thin line along her hairline.

Rose tucked the large white towel in Mary’s blouse. Then, spread it out over her shoulders.

She turned to the shaving dispenser and let a pile of warm shaving cream fill her left fingertips.

With just the right amount she returned to the chair and began gently dabbing a small amount along the hairline.

She did one side then the other, then when she started spreading the lather across her neck Rose went a little higher. Higher than the first time.

She lathered Mary’s neck completely to the top of her head but Mary did not mind her doing so.

Ros
e wiped her fingers of the excess lather. Mary said nothing, her mother?s eyes widened as she watched.

Finished, Rose wiped her fingers and picked up the straight razor.

She took hold of the leather strap and began stropping the blade up and down over it. She did this, like she did the first time, until the blade was as sharp as she wanted it.

Slowly, like the first time, she gently shaved along the hairline.

First, she shaved the right side, then the left.

As Rose pushed Mary’s head down, she took a deep breath.

First, Rose shaved a small line across the bottom of her hairline.

She stood there a few seconds, waiting for Mary to raise her head.

But, when she didn’t, Rose moved the sharp blade up higher and began shaving a two-inch section. It was then she saw Mary shiver a little.

When she was finished, Rose turned and walked to the shelf and placed the straight razor in the glass cabinet.

She looked at herself in the mirror and took a deep breath and watched as the color came back to her.

She did not know how Mary would respond to her shaving that high up her neck.

She was nervous when she applied the lather so high.

But, when Mary did not raise her head after shaving the straight line across her neck, Rose had a feeling.

And, she reacted to it and Mary reacted as she wanted her to.

Rose quickly dusted around Mary’s head and face, pulling the cape off her.

Then, she lowered the chair so she could get out.

When the chair came to a stop, Mary stood up on the metal footrest. She raised her hands to the back of her head, as she looked at herself in the walled mirrors.

“Nice,” she said as she stepped from the chair.

Her mother looked up as Mary walked to the customer’s waiting chairs.

Her daughter had a pleased look on her face.

She did not want to tell her how she felt but she felt Rose had cut her hair too short. She also didn’t want to tell her she had a feeling she was going to get her hair cut in a Crew cut again.

They said nothing, just looked at each other’s eyes.

Mary stood next to her mother brushing her fingers over the sides and back, then over the top of her head. Her mother stood and brushed her fingers over the back of her neck, where Rose had shaved high. She shook a little at the feeling of the smooth skin.

Connie then walked to the chair and sat in it.

Rose caped her, pulled the cape around her neck and pinned it in place.

She took out her comb and began combing her hair out.

“Well, Connie,” Rose asked as she combed more of her hair, “how much do you want trimmed?”

Chapter II – Part II: Then, I was 15

Mother looked at me, but I did not look back. I was reading a magazine.

I heard her and Rose talking, but my mind was on the article I was reading.

When I turned the page I looked up to see Rose cutting mother’s hair just below her ears.

She had gotten her hair cut this length a few times before but that was years ago. Dad liked her hair at that length. I remember how he would stand behind her and kiss her neck. He always seemed to do this when she was fixing something to eat, or when she was busy ironing things.

So, I did not think much of it, until I heard that sound.

“CLICK.”

I looked up just as Rose combed a section of hair off her face, then combed it outward until the comb was about two inches from her head. She ran the clippers over the comb sending two inches in mother’s cape-covered lap. She combed another section,a little higher, then ran the clippers over the comb.

I did not want to seem too interested in what was going on, so I went back to reading the magazine.

But, I could not keep from peeking to watch Rose as she worked her way around the back of mother’s head. I don’t know if I was surprised or not. It had been years since mother had gotten more than a trim.

Then, we did not talk that much about our hair, as many of my girlfriends and their mothers did. Mother seemed pleased with her hair at the length it was. She could do a lot with it, because it was neither too long nor too short.

I took more interest as Rose began combing and buzzing over the comb when she started on the left side.

Mother was beginning to look like someone I did not know.

Someone, who was younger with attention catching eyes.

Her soft face began to show. I could see a slight smile on her.

When she was finished, Rose walked around combing a section out and looking it over. If it looked too long she would comb the section out and quickly run the clippers over the comb. Reaching the right side she combed her hair back off her face.

With the clippers turned off, Rose combed the hair on top of mother’s head forward from the crown. I thought she was going to cut some bangs, but she placed her comb on the side of mother’s head and started combing a part.

She stepped to the side of the chair were she was able to comb the new part better. The new part looked a lot better than the center part mother had been using.

Again my attention was taken away from the magazine, when I heard Rose click the clippers back to life.

I looked up as she combed a section of hair, combed it out, stopping when the comb was about a half inch from mother’s head, and ran the clippers over the comb. This cut her hair shorter than I thought mother wanted, as her expression was of surprise when her eyes followed the cut section down into her lap.

Rose combed another section, a little higher,.

Then, ran the clippers over the comb. She repeated this one more time, again a little higher.

Then, began doing the same thing as she worked back over her ear.

I set the magazine down as I was becoming interested in mother’s haircut as it unfolded.

Rose pushed her head down as she began combing and clipped the back. I was now looking mother in her eyes, looking for some sign.

Something that would tell me something.

But, there was none.

Her head was lifted as Rose began combing and buzzing the left side. I watched as my mother began looking like a woman I did not know.

But, a lovely woman.

Then, just when I thought Rose was finished with the clippers, she combed a section of hair upward from the hairline. The comb was almost lying flat on her head when Rose ran the clippers over the comb.

She combed upward again, ran the clippers over the comb. She repeated this again and again until she had reached the arch of her head.

Then, she repeated this over her ears, working around her head until she finished on the right side.

Rose turned off the clippers and laid it on the shelf.

She picked up a hairbrush and began brushing mother’s hair from its new side part.

This, the brushing, made her hair look softer. Her face looked brighter, she smiled at what she was seeing and it was bright and pleasing.

As Rose walked around to the back of the chair, she stopped.

I saw her put the hairbrush down, as her left hand removed something from the glass cabinet.

Then, her right hand picked up something and they met.

She turned and walked to the right side of the chair, pushing mother’s head a little to the left.

When she stopped and was standing facing mother, I saw the clippers in her right hand.

It had a small attachment on it.

She clicked the clippers to life again.

Quickly she brought the clippers up to her head and pushed it upward, clipping the side of mother’s head shorter. Just a little longer than she had clipped the top of my head.

She worked quickly around mother’s head, tilting her head forward as she pushed the clippers up the back of her neck and head. She did not go as high as she had when she used the comb and clippers, just a little below.

I quickly realized Rose was cutting mother’s hair like dad got his hair cut years ago, when I was a child of five or six.

I remembered mother liked dad’
s hair cut like this.

How she would gently run her fingers through his hair, tell him how nice he looked.

I had never head her say anything about wanting her hair cut like that, like I had mentioned many times about wanting a Crew cut.

I had never seen her with her hair combed back off her face, nor asking how she looked.

Soon, Rose was clipping the left side of her head.

With the last pass of the clippers, Rose turned it off and hung it on the hook under the shelf.

She undid the cape and let it slide to mother’s lap and across the arms of the chair. She took a large towel from the pile on the shelf and began tucking it in mother’s blouse.

I looked at her as Rose did this. She took a deep breath as she moved a little in the chair.

Rose began spread the warm lather along her hairline. But, she did not spread it high up her neck, as she had done to me.

As with me, she sharpened the straight razor until it was as sharp as she wanted.

Then, she began shaving just a thin line along the hairline. With each stroke of the razor mother took a deep breath until Rose was finished.

She wiped the excess lather from along the hairline.

Then, dusted around her head. The chair was lowered and mother stepped from it.

Like I had, she ran her fingertips over the sides and back of her head. She smiled, one that said she was pleased.

We did not say anything. We just smiled.

She picked up her purse and handed Rose two ten dollar bills.

I started to hand Rose a ten, but mother reached out and told me, “The haircut is on me.”

I gave her a smile as she told Rose to keep the change, of four dollars.

When she turned, to face me, I gave her a hug and a gentle kiss on the cheek. We stepped back a little and looked over each other’s haircut.

We laughed and hugged again. I felt very close to her, more than I had ever before.

Chapter III: Ten years later

Where I got home that night mother and dad were sitting on the couch, all hugged up into a bundle of love. Dad was running his fingers over mother’s head, as she did many times to him. I could hear him telling her how great she looked, between little kisses on her head.

I tried to sneak past them, but they heard me when I bumped against the hall table.

Dad looked at me with a smile. “See, I knew you were going to get a Crew cut again!”

I smiled at him and said, “I see you like mother’s new haircut!”

He looked at her and smiled. “Yours looks a lot shorter than the first one you got?”

I ran my fingertips over my head and smiled. I winked, turned and walked upstairs to my room.

There I lay on my bed thinking back to this morning.

Thinking back to my haircut, and mother’s haircut.

I remembered how we walked out the barbershop, how great it felt we did something that someone else liked on us.

Over the next few years I stayed on at the sporting goods shop, going to college at nights and on the weekends. I let my hair grow out for my senior year.

I did not want my picture in the yearbook to give the impression I was a boy, years later when it was shown to others.

Mother kept her haircut in the man’s cut, returning every month with dad as they started getting their hair cut together. It kept them together and their lives grew rather than fall apart.

On the last day of school I had Rose cut my hair short like she had mother.

I was now the manager of the sporting goods store and with that I had more responsibilities.

Then, last year things changed. Mr. Van Meyer, who owned the sporting goods store, had a heart attack and almost passed away.

After heart surgery and months in the hospital he tried to return to work. But, he found it hard and decided to retire.

He called Mary to his house one night. The talk began pleasantly with him telling her how much he enjoyed having her work for him over the years. How he had seen her grow from a part-time employee to one who was just about running the store by her self.

He surprised her when he told her he was giving her half the business, with an offer for her to slowly over the years buy him out completely. Mary could hardly say a thing, because she was expecting for him to tell her he was going to either close the business or sell it to someone else.

It did not take her long to say yes to the agreement. A few days later they made it final, by signing an agreement to it.

Mary was now twenty-seven years old and now owned seventy-five per cent of the business.

She had made many changes most of them were strong ones that kept the bigger sporting goods stores from coming in her area. She had expanded to selling fishing boats and canoes, as well as more hunting, fishing and camping things.

She had been out signing contracts with the high schools, to provide them with uniforms, when she realized she needed a haircut.

Her hair had grown almost to her shoulders and she hated that.

She could never stand her hair getting that long, ever since she got her second Crew cut. Even the man’s haircut was too long for her, but it was more businesslike and she wore it well.

Mary waited until the following Saturday to go to the barbershop to get her hair cut.

She had worked part of Saturday morning, checking over some material on new goods she was being asked to sell. She put things away around 10 a.m., and told the manager she was going.

On her way to the barbershop she stopped for a small lunch. It was almost 11a.m. when she arrived at the barbershop. Both Rose and Doris were busy.

The shop was not that full but she could see they had been busy earlier. There was a pile of hair behind each chair,and one off to the back of the shop.

“Well, where have you been?” Doris asked as she walked in. Rose looked up from cutting a woman’s hair. They smiled at each other.

“Have three ahead of you,” she told Mary. “Two buzz cuts and a regular, after I finish Monia’s wedge.”

Mary looked around, she was too tired to go and come back. The wait would be good, so she got herself a soft drink, a magazine, and she sat and waited.

Just as Rose had said, she finished Monia’s wedge, gave a regular haircut to an elderly gentleman, then two quick buzz cuts to two young boys, around seven or eight.

“All right,” Rose said to Mary as she shook the cape out.

Mary put the magazine down and walked to the chair. She began running her fingers through her hair as she sat in it.

“I really need a haircut,” she told Rose.

Rose ran her fingers through her hair, saying, “Haven’t seen your hair this long in years.”

She caped Mary and began brushing her hair of tangles. When she was sure her hair was untangled she put the brush down and picked up the comb and clippers.

As she walked to the right side of the chair Rose flipped the clippers to life.

Mary sat waiting to see her hair being cut short like she liked it.

She noticed some of the men looking at her as Rose combed a section of hair and ran the clippers over the comb.

Five inches fell to the floor.

Rose combed another section and again ran the clippers over the comb sending another five inches to the floor. One young teenage boy moved so he was sitting in front of Rose’s chair. He did not blink an eye as Rose combed a section of hair then ran the clippers over the comb.

She worked her way up to the arch of her head.

Then, she combed a section from the top and quickly ran the clippers over the comb. The boy’s eyes opened wide as he sat up in surprise.

Rose continued combing section after section of hair, then quickly running the clippers over the comb sending five or more inches of hair to the floor, or in the cape.

When she began on the left side more customers, two teenage boys from the local junior and senior high schools, began coming in.

There was one lady, who had a very short clipper cut, came in with her two
daughters.

One of the girls looked at Mary’s haircut and commented to her mother, “Look mommy, that lady is getting all her hair cut off.”

Her mother grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to the chair next to her. She told her something, but no one could hear over the television and the clippers.

When she was finished Rose brushed her left hand over Mary’s head.

Mary smiled, telling her, “That feels great.”

Rose put the comb on the shelf and began looking for the attachment she wanted, as Mary moved both her hands from under the cape and brushed them over her head and face.

Rose saw her do this in the mirror.

“A lot better?” she inquired.

Mary looked up in the mirror along the wall and told her, “YES, a lot better.”

With the attachment on the clippers Rose turned around and began pushing the clippers up her neck and the back of her head. Mary had closed her eyes, enjoying what she had not felt in a few years.

Slowly Rose began clipping the right side, clipping Mary’s hair close to her scalp.

The teenage boy was now sitting on the edge of the chair, almost falling a few times. His eyes were still wide open in disbelief.

The little girl had walked to the chair a few times looking at Mary, then watching Rose push the clippers up the side of her head.

She would run back to her mother and motion for her to bend down.

Then, she would tell her what she saw. Her mother would pick her up and sit her in the chair and put a finger over her lips. Two times the little girls asked her mother why was that lady getting all her hair cut off. Her mother would look up at Mary and wonder the same thing.

A few times Mary noticed her looking at her in more than a glance.

She even ran her finger through her hair twice, as she looked at Mary.

Mary smiled at her, telling her the last time, “Very comfortable for the summer.”

The woman quickly looked away, only to look at her a few seconds later.

Rose was now buzzing the sides and back of Mary’s head with the big clippers. The one’s with the “00000” head, the ones that buzzed hair so close it looked as if she were shaving the sides bald.

The little girl was now following Rose around the chair, watching her buzz Mary’s head close to her scalp.

She stopped and began cleaning the clippers’ head, when she looked up in the mirror. She saw Mary brushing both hands over the sides and back of her head. She saw Mary rock her head back as she ran her hands over the top of her head.

Rose stood there, just like she did when Mary was fifteen.

Staring at her like she did then, when she had applied shaving cream over her entire neck.

Remembering how she had shaved that thin line across the bottom of Mary’s hairline, then standing there waiting for her to move.

Remembering what she did when Mary sat there.

How Mary sat still when she began shaving her neck from the occipital bone. How nervous she was waiting for Mary to say something, but she hadn’t.

Rose brushed hair clipping from the teeth of the clippers.

She applied a little oil and ran the clippers a little.

She wiped the head clean.

She looked again at Mary in the chair.

She was brushing her fingertips over the sides of her head.

Rose turned and walked to the right side of the chair.

Mary saw her and placed her hand under the cape.

Rose stood there as she brushed her left fingertips over the top of Mary’s head, then the right side of her head.

“How… how…?” Rose tried to ask.

Mary looked at her, then down to the clippers still in her right hand.

She saw Rose push the switch against her legs, turning the clippers on.

She looked up at Rose’s eyes and gave her a smile.

When Rose returned her smile, Mary turned her head and looked at herself in the mirrored wall.

She watched as Rose brushed her left hand over her head again.

She watched as Rose brought the clippers up to her head again.

As if in slow motion, Rose pushed the clippers, still with the .00000 head and no attachment, over her head, buzzing it as short and close as she did the sides and back.

With each backward pass over Mary’s head Rose tried to swallow the dryness in her mouth.

Like the last time she was nervures, but more so this time.

Unlike the last time she only shaved a small part of her head and that was in the back.

This time she was taking it further. And, she hoped Mary was just as willing as she was the last time.

When she finished the right side, she walked around the chair and began passing the clippers over the left side of her head.

Again she looked at Mary before beginning.

They looked at each other in the walled mirror and smiled.

When she was finished Rose hung the clippers on its hook under the shelf. She took a large white towel from the pile on the shelf, between her station and Doris’s station. With her left hand she undid the cape and tossed it so it fell into Mary’s lap and across the arms of the chair.

Doris looked at Rose and they smiled at each other.

She noticed the young teenage boy watching, his eyes blinking in disbelief as Rose started tucking the towel in Mary’s blouse.

The little girl was now sitting close to her mother as she held on to her arm. The woman was also looking in disbelief, but Mary noticed her breathing was more of excitement.

Rose walked to the right side of the chair and pulled the cape off Mary. She shook what hair was on it and hung it on the bar on the back of the chair.

She turned on the hot water, when she saw Doris looking at her, again.

Doris said nothing but picked up her scissors and comb and began cutting the young boy’s hair in her chair.

Rose reached in a lower compartment and removed a smaller towel. She put in the sink and let the hot water soak in it. When it was wet enough she wrung it out and began wiping Mary’s now buzzed head.

She set the towel on the shelf and took another large towel from the pile. She put it in the sink and let the hot water soak into it.

Doris stopped her haircut and walked over to her.

“Going to shave her head?”

Rose looked up in the mirror at her.

Still nervous she nodded her head “yes”.

Doris looked at Mary sitting in the chair. She had not said anything when Rose buzzed her head, nor when she wiped her head with the towel. She smiled at Rose and went back to cutting her customer’s hair.

When she turned around to wrap the towel around Mary’s head, she saw that all the customers were watching in disbelief.

Doris had turned her chair a little to the right, so her customer was looking in the walled mirror to watch.

Mary noticed this too, but she still sat there as if nothing unusual was happing.

The little girls were now standing up, still holding their mother’s arm, the young teenage boy was staring.

Rose wrapped the towel around Mary’s buzzed head. She pressed in close to her scalp.

Then, let it sit while she dispensed a pile of shaving cream into her left hand.

She removed the towel, tossing it to the shelf by the small one.

Slowly she began spreading the warm lather over Mary’s head.

First, she spread it over her buzzed haircut.

Then, she began rubbing it in. Pushing the lather close on the scalp, between the very small hairs that stood from Mary’s head.

She applied another covering of lather, then wiped her fingers.

She stood looking in the mirror at Mary.

Again remembering when she lathered the back of her neck.

Remembering how nervous she felt looking at Mary’s neck.

Now she was feeling even more nervous as she looked at Mary, sitting in her barber’s chair, her head completely lathered this time.

Unlike last time Rose did not ask herself the questions she did back then. She didn’t even want to know if Mary understood what was going to happen.

She reached for her s
traight razor, flipping it open as she turned and took hold of the leather strap.

She didn’t look at Mary as she stropped the blade over it.

Sharpening it more than usual.

With each movement she wanted the blade to be sharper, to shine.

She dropped the strap and it fell and swung, stopping when she stepped close to the chair.

She didn’t notice Mary’s eyes looking at her, as she raised the sharp straight edge razor to the middle of her head.

She did not notice the young boy almost fall from his seat, nor the woman as she raised her hand to her head pushing her hair back off her face.

She did not notice Doris had stopped cutting her customers hair, nor the little girl now standing in front of the chair looking at her.

Her eyes stared at the razor, her mind slowly telling her what to do.

She slowly began shaving the first strip of fuzz and lather.

It was a short stroke, only two inches long.

She wiped the lathered blade in her left palm.

Then, returned the blade to where it had stopped.

Again she shaved another short strip, then wiped it in her palm.

She had half of the right side of Mary’s head shaved when she noticed the young teenage boy.

He was sitting in Doris’ chair, she had turned so it was facing hers.

The woman had moved to where he was sitting, right in front of her chair. She was holding her daughters around their waist, so they would be out the way.

Five male customers had come in the shop. Rose didn’t even notice them come in.

For the first time since she began shaving Mary’s head, she looked at her in the mirror.

Mary was sitting there smiling.

Smiling, not saying anything like she did the last time, the time she had shaved high up the back of her neck.

She began shaving the back side of her head.

Then, around the back.

Down her head and neck, down to the area she had shaved smooth the last time.

She glanced at the others, mainly the woman who was now watching more intensely.

Rose looked at her, wondering why she was doing so.

As she began shaving the back left side of Mary’s head, the little girl burst out, “Mommy, the lady is going bald like grandpa.”

Her mother reached feeling around for her, still watching Rose with interest.

Rose looked towards Doris’s chair and saw she had buzzed the young teenage boy. She had him ready for a trim shave, but she was watching Rose.

Rose continued shaving Mary’s head, smiling as she finished taking the last stroke.

She washed the lather from her left hand.

Doris walked next to her and smiled.

Rose put the small towel under the warm running water. She turned to the chair and began wiping Mary’s head of the excess lather.

She noticed how Mary closed her eyes as she did this. With her head wiped clean, Rose ran her fingertips over Mary’s head.

Mary, as she did too, began taking a deep breath, causing her body to rock backward. Her body rose as she smiled.

“How about I shave your head one more time?” Rose asked her.

Mary just smiled.

She lathered Mary’s head again.

This time she would use a safety razor. It would shave her closer and she could shave in different directions, thus making Mary’s head a lot smoother.

Rose paid more attention to the customers watching this time.

She would shave a section, rinse the razor off, look at the customers, and shave another section. She did this until she had completely shaved Mary’s head a second time.

When she was finished she wiped Mary’s head twice.

First with a warm towel.

Then ,a cooler one.

She patted her smooth scalp dry and applied some skin cream.

After letting her scalp dry a little, she shook some powder on the hair duster.

Like she always did she dusted along the sides and across the back, then she dusted across the top of Mary’s head.

She saw a laughing smile come to her face, as she pulled the towel from her blouse.

She lowered the chair to its fullest.

Mary raised her hands to her smooth shaven head, slowly running her finger tips over her scalp. As she stepped from the chair the little girl looked at her.

Mary smiled at her.

“Can I touch your head lady,” she inquired.

“Betty,” her mother called out, but Mary bent her head down to the little girl.

Her mother tried to stop her daughter from touching Mary’s head, but it was too late.

She laughed and told Mary, “Nice.”

Mary smiled at her and replied, “Very nice.”

Mary picked up her purse, turning to Rose who was dusting the cape over the seat of the chair.

She looked at Mary.

Then, called out, “Who’s next?”

The customers looked at each other, as Mary walked to the door.

She stopped, turned back to Rose.

“7a.m. Tuesday morning?” she asked.

Rose turned her head toward her, as she was lifting the little girl in her chair, and said, “Seven is great.”

Mary walked out the door.

Rose looked at the little girl in her chair. She looked towards Doris’s chair, she now had the teenage boy’s head all lathered.

Rose looked at the little girl’s mother.

“How do you want her hair cut?” she inquired.

The end  ©opy write November 2009

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