When I graduated cosmetology school in ‘93, I didn’t know what to do. My mind just lost that spark for hairdressing.So I took a year off find myself and when those twelve months were over, I still had no clue what to do.
When the thought of hairdressing again came to mind, I knew I had to do something with that as its theme.I did love to travel so becoming a traveling barber was the most logical conclusion.Before I left to hit the road, I filled a suitcase with the essentials: cape, comb, scissors, and electric clipper with all the attachments.
I bid farewell to my house, intending not to return, and went on tour.Traffic was non-existent for a while but soon I got a few calls about my ads in the local paper.It was a simple advertisement for a hairdresser who would come and style your hair at home.
The call came in the fifth town I came to, there was probably one barbershop in the whole area and the old geezers took it over so it was natural to call me.I was told that there would be good pay for my handiwork if I came that day.It was the beginning of a new school year and my client needed her three kids’ hair cut.
Obliging her request, I drove to her house; it was a house not far from the town.When I knocked on the door, a little girl with chestnut tresses answered the doors. She was no more than eight and she curtseyed when she saw me.A woman came to the door and smiled,”You must be Tracy, the barber I spoke to on the phone”
”That I am”, I replied, shaking the woman’s hand.
”Please, come in”,the woman invited me in,”I’m Laura”
She escorted me inside, the place was dimly lit by sunlight and it was very clean.Laura introduced me to her three kids: Grace, Haley, and Isiah.
The one I just met, Grace, was the youngest with her siblings being a year and two years ahead of her.Her hair was long and thick and desperately needed a trim. She was the first in the chair.
It was a dining chair, her mother and siblings gathered round as I tossed a cape over small frame.
”What style do you want me to give her?”I asked Laura.
”Oh, they’re all getting the same haircut”,she answered me,”Buzz the sides and trim the top short”
I was a bit taken aback by the request but this was my first job and I needed to do a good job.My hands opened the suitcase and pulled out the clippers.As I separated Grace’s crown from her sides, I asked Laura what guard was best to use on her children. She told me to use no guard as to let the hair grow back slowly throughout the school year.
With that, I got to work.The chestnut locks on the sides of the little girl’s head tumbled into the cape and onto the ground. She sat still for me and never complained.It felt like a tragedy to see so much hair come off at once but also exciting.
Her sides were completely buzzed and I started brushing her crown.Laura looked at me which gave me pause,”You know what, just buzz it all”
Grace’s other siblings were shocked at their mother’s words but said nothing.I shrugged and did as she asked, taking my clippers and buzzing the rest of Grace’s hair off.When I was done, Grace looked like a boy in a dress but she worked with what she had. She rubbed her shorn head gingerly as I shook out the cape for the next kid.
Haley, a black-haired beauty, was up next. She was paler than Grace and walked nervously to the chair. I sensed she didn’t want all her hair to be buzzed but like Grace, she accepted her fate. I caped her and had her buzzed in no time.Her widow’s peak made her look like a little vampire girl and when I told her that, she smiled a little.
Girls all buzzed, Isiah was the last of children in my chair.At least, for him, it made sense for him to get such a short cut. I finished his buzzing and let him free to rejoin his siblings.
I thought that was it so I was about to close my suitcase when Laura piped up.”Miss”,she said,”Do you cut woman’s hair?”
”Yes, ma’am”, I replied.
”Good, I could use a change”,she rose from her seat and sat in my chair. I assumed she wanted a trim and caped her up as I did her children. I combed through her hair and asked her what haircut she wanted.Laura smiled,”Give me a buzz, why don’t you”
I was giddy inside,”Same as your kids?”I asked.She nodded and so, I gave her what she wanted. Her dirty-blonde tresses mixed with her children’s hair and when the deed was done, her was so short she almost looked bald.
Her kids ran to her and she hugged them tightly to her chest.They all now looked the same.Buzzed and ready for the school year.
As for me, I was paid generously for my labor and tipped handsomely.