I don’t know how many haircuts Vernon has had in his lifetime. It would be so much more cute and clever to title this post “Haircut 100.” But I figure if Vernon has had 5 haircuts a year (give or take a few, obviously) this averages out to 240 haircuts in his lifetime.
So far, Maila, his favorite hairdresser has been the only one to cut his hair since his foray into care homes and hospitals. In fact, she insists on coming, even though insurance apparently covers the cost of in-house coiffure. She is just sweet like that. But yesterday, when Vernon’s grown-out hair was sweaty and his time in the PT gym, and the “Beauty Shop” door was open, just across from the gym…I asked what it took to get an appointment and she said she could take him right away! The styling stars had aligned. Good thing we got in, because after that, several wheel-chaired ladies queued up in the hallway, ready for their weekly curl and updo.
Here is Fita holding the mirror for Vernon to check out her handiwork. (He was more interested in looking at pictures of the kids on my phone.) An in-house hairdresser at a convelesent home: there are so many jobs I never even knew existed till now. It reminds me of what a real community these places become. Hairdressers, chefs, chaplains, entertainers, neighbors…everyone has a part to play in creating a real neighborhood. And that’s what it has to be for many of these residents…especially those who never plan to leave.
While I was watching Fita trim Vernon’s hair, I sat next to a sweet little lady, whose curls were being set under the dryer.
This is Dorothy Cherry, age 94. She watched me chat with Vernon for a bit, then asked me if I had a good marriage. I said, “Yes, I think so…at least it was.”
“Then you have everything you need,” she said.
She had been married for 61 years until her husband died 5 years ago…now she is in the care home because she can’t take care of herself. She said it’s great to be healthy but none of her friends are around anymore…most of them have passed away, so it gets lonely. I joked that she has to start making friends with young people, they’ll stick around longer. “Like me!” I added.
“If you have your health,” she said, “you have everything you need.”
It’s always interesting to get the backstories of the residents there. Each one of them is so special and has so much life behind them, if not always ahead of them. Today I saw her again. Her hair looked lovely. She smiled her big smile and reached out for a hug. I guess I have a new friend, after all!