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Gone ...

December 5, 2008 - LLee Janssen

It's gone. About a foot or more of hair that I've been growing for, truthfully, not all of the past five years. But quite a good part of it.

I had determined last summer that it was about time to go see a professional again. I hadn't been to one since my long-time stylist and master colorist, too, had passed. More than an artist of his craft, though, Scott Hayes had become a very dear friend.

He was a champion of women. Early on when I met him, I remember him taking me back to the shampoo bowl. As I reclined back into it, my eyes went naturally to the ceiling, where he had placed a Jessie Bloom campaign poster. He was all for promoting women into areas previously only walked by men.

And he was wise, becoming a sounding board over the years who welcomed me into his home when I needed someone to talk to who could really understand my perspective when I might have been feeling repressed.

We all go through ups and downs. But nothing is ever as down as when you lose somebody with whom you've had a close connection. People are what matter in this world.

It's been five years. He's still in my heart, but it's time to get somebody new on my head.

Actually, I came to that conclusion over the summer. I decided to honor Scott by having my hair cut and donating it to the Locks of Love program in his memory. The program takes hair donations from people of all ages and uses those donations to make wigs for children with cancer. All I needed to donate to the program was 10 good inches, plus enough to leave room for a decent style.

The fifth anniversary of his death came, two weeks ago, and I measured and thought "barely" and went back and forth over the matter, then decided to just go through with it. 

So after work Thursday, I drove directly to Barone's and walked in. I hadn't been there in years, since shortly after Scott's death when I tried several times at different places to have others work on my head. But each time, and it didn't matter where, all I wanted to do was cry. I would hold back in the shop but ultimately end up in my car in tears.

The shop wasn't terribly busy, and an older stylist and mine got to talking with me about why I was doing this, and why I had let it go so long. I shared the deep sadness I had for so long about going into any hair salon. The one lady told me that one of their own had passed recently, and many of his long-time customers have a similar reaction and some can't even go into the shop without breaking out in tears.

They understood. And that felt really good.

Figuring those in the business often know one another, I then asked the older lady if she knew Scott. It turned out he once worked there, back when he first began cutting hair.

And knowing that made the experience all the more special.


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