Monday, December 24, 2012


Once again another holiday season has rapidly arrived. All around are the sounds and decorations of Christmas and the impending New Year. I ask myself every year how can I find the magic that Christmases past once held. Now as I sit here and write I have yet to find the elusive childhood excitement that came with the magical eve of Christmas Day. It seems my thoughts turn inward and I reflect on the life that is now in the present and look back on the year that brought me to this moment. It seems that my age has taken me on a sentimental journey through the time and space that I now understand as "life". Upon reflection of holidays past I seem to recall with more sentimentality the people that no longer grace my presence, some are still with me and others have moved on to other places or have left this earthly existence. I have learned to not dwell in the past for long and more than ever work extremely hard at staying in the present. It still does not diminish the emotional connection to what once was. I often revel in the joy of those moments and still hold fast to the day when some new memories will fill more of the pages within my book of life. Most of my friends are far away but they appear to be close at hand whenever I need a friend the most. This year brought a lot of retrospective days, a lot of tears and revelations of myself that I was not quite prepared for. In fact I am still reeling from some of them. I can honestly say that I have lived to tell and my greatest loss of the year still tears at my heart on a daily basis. I look around and still reach for dreams that seem rather unachievable yet it seems to be my nature to dare to reach for the things that I have an inner most desire to have or do. Restarting my career once again has created some fear and doubt which seems to be the fuel that drives home some sort of success by proving to myself that I could do it once again. It certainly could not have been accomplished so eloquently without some major help and for the ones that helped me, I am forever in gratitude. So now I begin a new year with hopes of brighter tomorrows and soon will celebrate a ten year relationship commitment. A feat that I never thought I could pull off yet once again the universe provides greatly. Now as the lights glow from the Christmas tree I will try and glow along with it and as I awaken tonight for my secret 4 AM venture to reflect on Christmas Day before the sunrise, I will reach deep inside and allow my emotions to feel this time of the year and give thanks that I made it through another year of life and a season of holiday reflection.

Monday, December 3, 2012


There is not a moment or day that has gone by that I don't think of you and miss you. I pray that a tomorrow will come and I will awaken to see your furry presence near my side always ready for the love and hugs that would follow any moment you were near. I wonder where you have gone, my Dolbeth. The many questions consume me daily and I hope you are not on your own, and are having fun with other creatures around, and someone there when you search for someone to hold you and give you the attention that I can no longer give you. Everyday that goes by is like a memory and I ask myself do you ever try to remember me? I still feel you by me in my automobile or whenever I see the bright green park where you used to roam. I hope your alright whever you are. If you are still within the realms of my thoughts, or over some telepathic wave I just want you to know that you were my best choice and wherever eternity takes you please know that I still love you so. Often in the dead of night, I hope you hear me call for you as it's not quite right with you not here at all. I ask myself over and over if I made a mistake letting you slip away, it's a constant unaswered question in my head. I then realize it is merely me talking to my heart which feels empty and sad. I want to rejoice and have you close by and I still keep a place for you here. Tonight, once again I stood outside and heard the echo of a train's whistle passing by, it cries nearby and I know that soon it will fade into the distant hills and die. I then send out a message to you, like a ship upon the sea, I am still in distress and only your presence can send the lifeline out to me. I really want to know that your doing fine as I just can't seem to let you go. If that is wrong then I will have no choice but to miss you until I no longer have the energy to do so. Within the realms of my thoughts you will always be present. For the many tears that still fall from my eyes, luckily, they blur my present and for those moments I can feel the invisible ribbon of connection that has yet to be severed by time. Until such time exists and it gets broken apart, my love for you is still very much alive. I only pray that somewhere in the space of divine energy that you will receive it and know that you are truly and overwhelmingly missed. I miss you Dolby!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


As of late I have had a lot of time off and have taken the time to do a lot of things that people usually put off doing. Organizing things and going through things that no longer need to be held on to and overall just cleaning out some debris that has needed to disappear for quite a while, yet it never got taken care till as of now. In doing so I came across a cache of many photos and old personal cards. So many people that once played a role in my life, some are still here and so many are missing from the memory banks of time spent with past friendships. As I rummaged through the stacks and stacks of photos I came across scenes from my past that I so longed to be a part of and once again feel the emotions that once surrounded the now of then. I sat removed from the present time and could sense the power of memory and the amazing gift it is to possess. I held in my hand a photo of my 12 year old self in bright red pajamas hugging tightly the neck of my mother on a Christmas morning back in 1964. There on its stand was the prize "Stereo" with swing out speakers and a built in sing along microphone. It was the iPad of a generation to me and one of the most thrilling moments in my life at the time. Time passed by as I relived the whole event and could still feel the tight hold Mother had on me as I was crying from excitement as I heard my first stereo record being played. I melted within the confines of her loving arms and wanted so badly to reiterate how overwhelmed I was that I got what I had asked for and still possess to this day. I clearly had relived the past to feel the now of what once was through the imagery of the photo. The color that appeared on that Kodak paper once again colored my life as very lucky to be alive. From that one photo I walked the dizzying road through the stacks of pictures and rekindled many friends with my recognition and acknowledgement of their space and time spent with me. It all resonated similarities with a recent trip that I took by going back to my previous home area. I spent countless days and nights spending precious moments in time and conversation with friends. I found myself experiencing their prescense as we spoke on the topics of many things. Night after night I spoke of the realities that I have recently been coming to terms with and spoke of my awareness of how much the little things will one day become the biggest things that change us all. I saw an entirely different landscape that I never appreciated from that past time of life, due to my health and unhappiness. I got lost in the cruelty of private misery totally based on the truth that I had to move and step away to once again be found within myself. A process not at all for the weak of heart, as I never knew that a heart could break apart into many pieces and then repair itself so secretly. Then one day you wake up to find yourself living within a mind, body and spirit that you never knew could arise from clearer present thinking. I now have taken to freeze framing the images that touch me these days. I no longer feel the need to move beyond the next five minutes in any given day. I see, hear and feel things that are happening at that moment I am experiencing them. No matter how hard anything seems I have learned that nothing can be harder than to reevaluate the person within you. Recently reconnecting with friends that have weathered many situations with me showed me the way that TRUE friends can accept you through the good and the worst of times. So now when your going through your day remember to take a step back, focus in on the amazing gift of life and take that snapshot, freeze frame your joy and revel in the fact that it does not take a bright flash to see things more clearly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


In an attempt to locate a copy of my high school diploma, I begrudgingly had to haul out a chest of items that possessed a lot of my past. Many things were stacked inside and many other things were placed upon other items. It was a reality check on how we continue to stack things in our heads until so much is buried until you go looking for an answer to a question you may have. On this occassion I did not go looking for an answer, I wanted a physical paper, but what I uncovered was one hell of a reality check, so momumental that its remnants are still hanging on to me I was quick to find what I was looking for and I should have just shut the damn lid and put it away but my curiosity took over and I just kept digging, virtually unaware of what I was about to find. I had stashed so many things in that chest over the years and never really took the time to see what I had been storing for so long. Some items I remembered and some I had never looked at when I stashed them away. I came across a very old cigar box with a pink ribbon. I had never seen a Havana cigar box look so elegant with its stained pink ribbon that was tied around the box with a small if to say "Do Not Enter". I did not easily recognize the box and then I remembered it had come from my Mothers hope chest along with several other items that I had stored after her death. At that frivilous time of my life I took no time to see what lay inside the box, I just placed it from one chest to another. I could still smell the scent of the cedar wood from Mothers hope chest as it still permeated from the cigar box. I gently untied the ribbon to see the contents within. Inside were old letters that were tied together in three different stacks. I looked closely at the return address and discovered that they were letters from my father when he was in the Korean war. The army address was an official PO Box and the dates preceded my birth. Suddenly I felt a twinge of guilt from discovering items that I am sure were not for my reading pleasure, yet the devil sat on my shoulder and I could not stop myself from opening the first letter dated chronologically. I hesitated at first but my eyes became glued to the soft yellowed paper that I held in my hands. What lay written on the pages were stories that my father had written within the trenches of war. Amazing stories of where he was and the details of what was going on at the time of writing the letters. Between the lines of each and every letter were fears and trepidations of perhaps not ever seeing the green grass of home again. Although the stories were riveting, each letter spoke words of adoration for my Mother who was sincerely missed. He wrote of yearning to see her again and, what they would do if he returned safely to his homeland. It was my first experience in realizing that my Mother and Father actually were at one time in love. While my presence on earth proved the consumation of their love, I never recalled a moment when I saw an act of a loving touch between them. I spent five long nights reading those letters and came away with a whole new insight into the dynamics of what I considered a tumultuous married relationship between my parents. While the detailed stories of war were frightful they were counterbalanced with endearing words of love and affection written in a way that I never knew my Father was capable of expressing. Within the pages of each and every letter were the hidden answers to so many questions that I thought would never be answered. The explanations to so many queries were exposed through the gentleness and anguish of the stories that he wrote, often while he hid in a trench with other soldiers. It seems as they hunkered down in the holes of mud and sand they all would take turns writing letters to distract them from the bullets and bombs that flew overhead as they huddled to protect each other from whatever fate lay beyond their control. He wrote letters by the light of a cigarette lighter that was being shared by his fellow soldiers who were also writing letters to their loved ones. All of them concentrating on the hopes and dreams of getting out of their trenches alive. It was obvious that writing perpetuated the fantasy that kept their reality in check. Letter by letter, each had detailed plans and dreams that he wanted to do when he arrived home. Some hopes came to fruition and sadly many others did not have a happy ending. Knowing how it all turned out in real life and then reading the words on paper created a huge reality check for me. The universe delivered him safely home but the shock and the horror of what he had to face during two wars sadly left him shattered and at times, unable to face life and its emotional upheavals easily. His comfort zone was to be left alone when he slid into a depression caused by his inability to talk about what was bothering him. The essence of their love for each other dissipated year after year as my brother and I watched it play out before us. Luckily for my brother he was removed from the finale by enlisting into the Air Force and saw his four years of duty behind the lines of another war, both abroad and at his family home. I reached in that box one last time to take out the last letter that was written to Mother. At the top of the letter in bold letters was written, "I'M COMING HOME" What followed were the most poignant and thrilling sentences that spilled off the paper and melted directly into my heart. Through moist eyes I read that he was overwhelmed at getting to see his baby boy, my brother, again and he wrote intimately that he wanted to spend many evening's in "bedroom sessions" making up for lost time" since he had been apart far too long. He told Mother of his processing orders and when to expect him, give or take a few weeks but he would not know the exact date until he was to be shipped out. Instructions were given to be prepared for his arrival and he would make sure that the earth would shake in their home from the loving he would give her. Though my face was wet with tears I could feel myself blushing from reading such private thoughts only meant for Mother to read. After reading all the letters I now had a new perspective on the many assumptions and the many questions that now were laid to rest. I knew now that love had once really existed between my parents. The affection and kindness they once shared was now a reality that I had only wondered about and never had any proof until I untied that stained pink ribbon on that box of love letters. Those letters were the offering from beyond to satisfy my silent curiosity. So in the closing words of this story I can only assume that upon my Fathers arrival that the earth must have really shaken because it's eruption would deliver another baby boy to the family nine months later...and that boy was ME.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I suppose that within every second of your life there are situations that arise that can create an impact and send you down another road that was least expected to travel down. Within everyone's life there is some sort of constant energy that infiltrates our daily lives and creates some sort of momentum that moves you through each twenty four hour period. Even in a dead sleep the silent energy is still moving around you. I have heard tell of situations that arise in life which shake you up one side and down the other. A force so strong that it blasts apart every known reality that you previously had lived. The unseen moment is a creeper that sneaks up on you and the impact is monumental. You quickly realize that the seemingly solid pieces of your life are now scattered everywhere and there are no printed directions of how to put them all back together. No matter how I try to understand it, the remnants of what was still lay scattered around me. Even though the smoke has cleared the ruins still remain. I look around and realize that what once was... will never be again. The sadness is overwhelming at times but the present uncertainties are blinding. At times the feeling of loneliness is overpowering. To say that the signs were not appearing to warn me of any impending explosion would be a falsehood, and like most I just read them wrong and created a distraction so that my view would be obscured, thus I would not have to deal with it at that time. Once there was a time when reaching out for anything that I dreamed was easy and incredibly exciting. Moving from one desire to another was innovating and before I could finish one desire I already had five more waiting in the wings just ready to be activated. At the present time I still have many dreams but the links with which to connect them all are missing and I can't seem to find the missing link that will put them all together. I know it is there and while I sift through all the debris that seems to be hiding it I am trying to comprehend the changes that are present and try to find the shred of hope that will keep me hanging on to the future. I am learning the hard way to accept grief as part of any life situation that deals you an unfortunate loss. I can try to avoid the sadness, but suddenly it will appear when I least expect it to. When it hits I just have to roll with the punch and wait to come up for air and when I do, I take a deep breath and just keep moving. The absence of my loss is huge at the present time and this mountain is a hard one to climb and as I still feel the reverberation from the loss impact my tears quell the pain which absorbs my heart. Soon the emotions will get a little easier to handle and my eyes will begin to see a little clearer. The hole in my heart will soon heal and my reach for the stars will once again get nearer. My moment of impact was riveting and undeniably shattering to my core being. I know that the changes that occurred from this will strengthen my awareness of the "life" signs that will be read correctly and most of all be paid astute attention to. I will wait more patiently for my future rush of exhiliration...for when I locate the missing link will connect me to the now of dreamed realities that will create a happier moment of impact.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Often I sit at my computer and look at the blank screen and try to decide what I should write about and what would the reader most relate to that could be some sort of inspiration. I try to search my own personal experiences and hope that the stories can be enjoyable or enlightneing or even better yet,inspirational. All of those feelings are presentations that I try to put into words in hope that I may truly reach someone who may laugh, cry or just take the time to think about a correlation in their own lives. If only for that now moment they related to my written story. It was just the other day I decided to finish emptying the last couple of boxes from another long distance move. It was my last ditch effort to not look at those boxes anymore and put away the contents within. It was like a treasure trove of items that I had not seen for quite a number of years as the contents remained stored. As the saying goes, "if you don't see it you may not remember it or possibly did not need it afterall". I began opening the first box and it did not hold much that I really even needed or wanted, so I quickly dispensed most of the contents into a recycle bag for a Goodwill run. Near the bottom of the box was another box that was taped shut and no information of its contents was written on the outside of the box. This piqued my curiosity so I quickly removed the box and with my trusy razor blade, I unvieled a box of memories that I had thought were long lost many years ago. For some universal reason it was time to make contact once again with the memories and joy that were attached to the objects within the box. I carefully removed the items one by one and felt each attached memory that became exposed as I held each piece in my hands. As I neared the bottom of the box I noticed a piece of material that covered what appeared to be a book. I removed the cloth and gasped at the sight of my long lost discovery. There lay my most treasured of books that I had given up for "lost" many many years ago. Even though I had bought countless replacements and second editions for myself and for gifts to many friends, my heart still was attached to this original book. As I lifted it out of the box I left my present state of mind and was magiaclly transported back to the day when I first discovered my literary influential companion. Inside the pages that held so many of my emotions was a story of mystery, intrique and most of all requited love. Each page held a fascination for me and the words danced before my eyes as if it were written especially for me. For days I can remember the constant mind thoughts of how it would all play out and how I so did not want the story to end. I recall the moment that I discovered that belletristic fiction that would forever change my hope on finding real love. My friend and I had been following the flow of shopping pedestrians on that hot summer day in Washington,DC. The year was 1981 and we were still suffering from the disadvatages of being out too late the night before at the disco, and the effects of the previous nights libations and loud music were still wracking havoc on our heads. The heat was not helping the pounding inside my head so we decided to get out of the heat and found our way into a bookstore that was nearby. The blast of air conditioning cooled us immediately as we wandered through the store looking at all the books. We separated and I turned down an alternate aisle where I was taken aback at the cover of this one book that had its own display. It looked much like a gothic romance novel you would find at most stores and their cover pictures would jump out at you as they always had the handsome hunky man and some kind of woman in distress being held in a most seductive pose. While those books were not my choice to read, I must admit the pictures conjured up some pretty risque images in my head which I would silently put into my own words, and would only imagine what was written inside. It was always fun to look at those book covers in the stores but the book that I noticed on display at this particular bookstore bore a stiking resemblance to those other book covers only this one did not have a man and a woman on the cover, it was two men and it's picture screamed to me across the room. I stood there entranced by the cover and opened the book in hopes that it would be something I would enjoy reading. After looking through and reading bits and pieces I realized that I held the first gay gothic novel I had ever seen and had no idea that it would forever change my ideals about life and love, but would also serve up a huge dish of inspiration that would feed my desire to write. We left that bookstore and headed for home as my greatest desire was to get lost within the pages of the book that I had just bought. I savoured each page and had anxiety that I would be running out of pages to read as my ability to put it down was non existant. It was by my own forced choice to stop reading so that I would not have to reach the end so swiftly. My focus was deep into the pages and life did not exist except for the characters within the lines that I read. Of course the inevitable occurred and the epilogue arrived through the veil of tears that ran down my face. Sad that I had finished the book and happy that the conclusion left its magic aura in my heart full of hope. I silently made a vow and asked the universe for my own Donough and twenty years later it finally happened. Again and again I would read the book and each time still felt the excitement I felt upon the first reading. When I finished the book the first time, it continued to linger in my thoughts for days after and I took it upon myself to write the author a letter. While it may have come across like a gushing fan letter, I meant every word that I had written about the joy that book had brought to me. I received a wonderful response back and could feel the sincerity in thanking me for writing about his work. I planned a trip to his city of New York and we had hoped to meet each other however the schedules did not allow for our rendevous. While we did not get the opportunity to meet each other on that trip I never gave up the idea that I would one day meet him. I would always research for any new written titles he may have done. Whenever he would release a new title I would be always looking forward to reading his newest work. To this day that first novel still resonates within me as if it was a part of my soul. Upon discovery of my lost book I took to the internet in search of the author and was pleasantly suprised when I located an email address to once again send another letter. In my email I retold the story of our previous communication and how much his writing had meant to me and how I had just that day found my original book that had been stored and thought to be lost for over thirty years. I very much wanted to tell him that he had made such an impression on me because of his writing but more importantly how much he influenced my desire to write. It was a joy to share that gift,unbeknown to him, of how much influence his writing had indelibly inked my mind with the desire to put into words the many thoughts and ideas that are being transposed daily. There are people in all of our lives who have made an impression on us, and most of those same people never have a clue that in their own unkowing way left us with personal motivation to change our ways of thinking as well as influence a desire that was ready to be fulfilled. For me, I wanted to reach out and give thanks for the incitement that altered my course in life. When I received my response back from my email, the reply made me realize that I had made the correct decision to follow through on reiterating the wonderful influence that I received from that literary locution. We both agreed that had somehow connected us and although we have yet to meet, I know that in my future we will meet and it will close the last arc of the circle of predilection. In other words, friends connected by fate. If someone has influenced your life, take the time to let that person know, and you may find that silent connection that was made to connect you to your future path and the literal thrill of knowing their words had made a connection that got through to someone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The weekend spilled into Sunday as it always does and with it brought another round of special memories. The end of that week day possesses certain routines that are easy and comfortable as the easy chair that fits your being like a warm blanket. Every Sunday comes with the knowledge that another week is just around the corner. Lately with so much time on my hands I have had the time to take a look at how many weeks and months have dissolved into years that now have seemed to fly by.

It appears to me that when we are so completely taken with our day to day work and home life that we hardly take the time to see where we have been and how we got there in the first place. For some reason the last day of the week always has a special presence unlike the other days of the week. It is a time to do things that don't get taken care of during the week. A time to reunite with friends and the ultimate Sunday dinner that permeates the room with the smell of what has been cooking all day.

For me it would all be enhanced by the country music that always filled the airwaves with its twang and heartfelt lyrics. Those special days now are spent with the misty memories of my youth. Now as the autumn of my life has taken hold I hold dearly those times of innocence and family life that dissipated with growing up. The changing of life still holds within its grasp the many friends that spent those adult Sunday's, all of us sharing moments of time and space and adding to the file of memories that each weekend would bring.

Why does it all seem so important now, I asked myself that question and realize the answer is all to easy. It always has to do with a beginning and an end that all humans seem to live by. When we begin our week we inevitably can't wait for it to end so that we can have the time to do what really pleases us, all the while silently planning the next beginning of the new week ahead. Having had the days and weeks merging together for me for a while now, I find that I travel often into my memory banks and become aware of the things that I often took for granted or just never took the time to appreciate.

The amount of things that went unnoticed are never lost inside the hard drive of your mind. Somehow certain past moments magically appear, and given your present state of mind, offer you the opportunity to feel emotions that were long overdue for recognition. Taking the time to stroll down memory lane is healing and an affirmation of the incredible past that each person indelibly holds within their brain.

Taking the time to waltz down memory lane is a joy and can open the flood gates of emotion. I can assure you that the tears that fall with each past memory, are the cleansing waters that purify your future awareness and makes you thankful that the next years of life will no longer be misty.......................................

The fog has finally lifted.......and the flight of your life continues onward.



It was only three days later when she called to make another appointment and I happily scheduled her. In fact I looked forward to hearing how her previous engagement went and how the changes we had made were received by her husband and all who were in attendance that evening. She arrived fifteen minutes late that day due to the baby situation and her Mother arriving late to help her. Her demeanor was very angry and it took a while to calm her down. The use of four letter word sentences came quite easily for her and made for an enlightening experience in vocabulary. Her mood was tense to say the least and after another twenty minutes of venting we made it to the shampoo area to start our appointment.

As she lay back in the chair she immediately told me how she looked forward to having me run my fingers through her hair again. I took it as a compliment at first and replied a big “Thank You” which led to her hand patting my thigh. I shrugged it off and continued my work and when I helped her up from the chair she swiftly grabbed me and hugged me which knocked me off balance a bit and broke the embrace. At that moment I felt very odd about what had just happened and got the signal to be more aware and keep a certain distance so that would not happen again, as the abruptness left me feeling strange.

We finally made it to the styling area and she began telling me how great her evening had gone and spoke of the endless compliments that continued through the evening. Her husband loved what I had done and all the women wanted to know who did all the hair changes. For those brief moments I had forgotten what had transpired a few minutes earlier. All that changed quickly when her elbow seemed to find its way into my crotch as I stood on the side of her combing out her hair. At first I thought that it was an accident and swiftly realized after another slight push that it was no accident. I knew instinctively to not react as if I felt her motions, so I moved myself to the back of the chair as if nothing had happened. I could hardly stay focused on her talking as I was trying to not appear disturbed by what she had done. It was very clear to me that I needed to say behind the chair so that would not happen again.

As I recall the whole incident I can still remember how unprepared I was for such blatant physical contact. I struggled to stay up on her conversation, and lucky for me it was only a thirty minute styling appointment, as the countdown to have her leave was my priority. On four more occasions on that visit, she tried to do more physical contact and I intercepted quickly and avoided all her other tries. It was becoming clear to me that I had a cougar on the prowl and I needed to cage it before it got out of control. However that was not to be and would only be the beginning of trouble for her as well as myself. As she paid her bill that afternoon I kept myself behind the desk so that I would not receive any further contact but she continued to insist that she wanted a hug to say goodbye. At this point, I began to feel a little panic, when my next client walked in and saved me from another physical confrontation. As she walked out the door she made it very clear that she would be returning soon and that I owed her a hug. I felt powerless and began to fret over the fact that she would show up again. How long it would be, I had absolutely no idea at that moment but would find out soon enough.

It was only a couple of days later that she showed up at my home. I had stepped out the door and was locking it when I turned around and saw her heading up the walkway. In a state of complete shock, my first thought was to run but my legs did not obey and so I just pretended to be nice and ask how she found out where I lived, upon which she replied that she found my address in the phone book. She said she wanted to surprise me, and having brought an expensive bottle of Scotch, wanted to have a drink with me. I firmly told her that I was due at another function that I was almost late for and needed to be on my way, but that went in one ear and out the other. She replied that she came all this way and that I should take the time and share one drink with her. Panic ensued and I vehemently told her that I did not like Scotch and would not be able to stay. She reached for my arm and grazed it as I pulled myself back in the nick of time. I played it off as if I did not see her reaching for me and just hurried to my car and told I really had to go and that she should not stop by without calling as I usually am quite busy with my free time.

I left her standing there as I drove out of the driveway trying to remember where I was headed. The whole scene had completely jumbled my thought process and my panic had yet to subside. It could not have been more than five minutes later when I noticed her car in my rear view mirror following me. By now my anxiety level was high and my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. How to lose her was my only train of thought, but how to do it had yet to be determined. I had to think fast and decided to take the bridge over to Tampa and hopefully she would not follow. I had angels watching out for me that day as she turned off when she realized I was leaving the city. Across the bridge I drove and turned around at the other end and drove back into town to finish what I had set off to do before my unwanted guest arrived. I was completely unnerved and could hardly keep my focus on what I needed to do that day.

I arrived back home later that day and feared that she would return and was happy that did not occur. It was all I could do to keep my mind active and stop anticipating that she would come around again. The weekend ended and I returned back to work the next week and was not surprised to hear her voice on the phone wanting another appointment. After four tries of explaining to her that I had no availability she gave in and asked me to call her if there were any cancellations that week. I did not tell her I would call I just stayed silent when she asked me to call her. The week was wonderfully uneventful and I thought I was out of the woods, but she appeared at the salon in a very agitated state and insisted that I do her hair. She was not going to take no for an answer and I did not want a scene in the salon so I worked her in at a time that I would not have to be alone with her, and stated very clear that it was the only time that I had available. She turned around and let me know that she was not happy with the time but it would have to do. Having witnesses helped me tremendously as I would not be the only one to see such a display of an angry personality. Everyone readily agreed that something was amiss with her and that I had better stay clear of any more appointments with her. There was no disagreement there, but how would I stop her, that was going to be the problem.

She did not arrive for that appointment that day and I was elated and felt happy that perhaps she would not return. The joy of youth is the innocence, and I was beginning to feel that becoming the adult did have its disadvantages like my recent adult situation that would need to be dealt with. Clueless and still a teen, I did not have the knowledge or the grace to deal with a woman who had her eyes set on me, personally, and who was suffering from a mental disorder that no one had recognized yet. I would not be alone in this situation. So much more was transpiring at her home front that I was not privy to yet. That information was soon to be revealed in another obtuse unscheduled meeting. It would be at that meeting that I would shed the last of my teenage naiveté.

Less than a week later, when I once again began to feel that she was gone, she reappeared at my home. I opened the door and she asked to come in and I told her directly NO! Asking the question of why not, I did not hold back and told her that it was not appropriate and that she was married and did not need to be coming over to my home. Did she not realize that I was gay or did I mislead her in any way? Those were just some of the questions that ran through my head as she explained that she left her husband after telling him that she was in love with me. Completely taken aback and dumbfounded, I unleashed a mountain of anger that took her by surprise. Hurling sentences and explanations at her did not seem to faze her. It was as if she was on another planet and did not hear a single thing I said to her. She told me she had nowhere to go and that she wanted to stay with me. I physically shook her and told her to listen to me, she was not welcome here, I was not in love with her and that she was making all this up in her head. It was obvious to me that I had to leave before any further action was taken by either of us.

I quickly turned away from her and made a beeline to the car leaving her standing there. I drove off with no particular direction, I just knew that I needed to be gone a while so that she would realize how absurd this whole situation was and find her way to somewhere else and hopefully to the room of a psychiatrist whole could put the pieces of here jumbled mind back together so that she could get a grip on reality.

I kept myself away for over five hours and reluctantly headed back home with the fear that she would still be there. Much to my happiness she was not, but it did not dispel my trepidation that she would show up later that evening. I decided to hide my car a few blocks away so that she would not see it parked outside if she decided to return again. Luckily nothing transpired that night and but I kept my guard up all night expecting the worst.

I arrived at work the next day hoping there would not be a message from her that she may have left wanting an appointment. No messages appeared from her that day so I began my day in a positive way.
I had just checked out my client and was about to go for lunch when a very handsome man and an older woman opened the door and came into the salon. I did not recognize them as regular clients so I greeted them and asked if I could help them. He asked for me by name and I told him that he was speaking to me and he asked if we could go somewhere and talk. Fear spread through me like a volcanic eruption and I aggressively asked who he was and what he wanted from me. At that moment the older woman got up and said it was about “Jackie”. At that moment I realized he was Jackie’s husband and the lady was her Mother.

We went back to the back break room and he unfolded a story that made my heart melt. Her mother asked me in no uncertain terms if I had been having an affair with her daughter, to which I readily replied absolutely not. My answer coincided with her fear that her daughter had made up the story and she told me that she believed me and was sorry that she had to ask the question in the first place. At that point Jackie’s husband poured out a scenario that could have been a Hollywood screen play. He spoke of her disoriented mood swings and her anger of having to take care of their baby. He began to take responsibility for being absent so much from their relationship that he did not see her splitting apart from reality. He went on to tell me that she had left him the day she showed up on my doorstep and returned later that day in fury which culminated into fight that ended up with her being taken away to a hospital for extreme mental breakdown. They both apologized continually for my being brought into the situation and wanted to assure me that she would not be coming around anymore and that she would be getting the mental treatment that she needed to get well. While I breathed a silent breath of relief I could feel the immense sadness that emanated from both of them. I readily assured them that it was not their fault and that she was obviously not aware of what was happening to her and I was very sorry to hear of her dilemma but was very happy to hear that she was getting the help that was needed.

We parted ways and they told me that they would update me on her progress and said they were very appreciative of my understanding the situation. When they drove off I could feel the weight of the whole experience drop off my shoulders and looked forward to not having to deal with it anymore.

About eight months later I was sitting in the back having my lunch when I was told that there were some people upfront asking for me and I assumed that they were clients but as I walked toward the reception area I could see Jackie and her husband and Mother. A little unnerved, I approached them and said hello. Nervously Jackie stood up and began an apology that brought tears to my eyes. She spoke of her problem and had been told by her doctor that she should make amends to everyone that had been involved during her mental breakdown. He felt it would help her recovery and make her understand what she had put people through. The woman who stood before me was not the same person I met on that desperate day of hair renovations. She was soft spoken and calm and very focused on her apology. I sat there transfixed on the metamorphosis that had taken place within her.

All three people were kind and very sympathetic in making sure I had received the apology that was deserved. I told them that it had been my first experience with anything like this and it would make me very aware if it should ever occur again. I graciously expressed my joy in seeing the change in Jackie and thanked them for coming by to put a final end to the story.

My experiences with this kind of behavior have come up a couple of times in my career. I recognized it early and made it my goal to always inform the family members of an impending downfall if something was not done quickly. At the time of that first situation, there had not been a confirmed diagnosis for mothers who rejected their babies after giving birth. Now we know of post-partum depression as something that affects a lot of women. It sneaks up on them unknowingly and transforms them into people that are almost unrecognizable brought on by their depressive behavior.

I have helped several people recognize the road they were heading down and saw them struggle to get the help they needed. I am happy to report that all survived the mental anguish brought on by the hormonal chaos within their bodies. After analyzing that first situation I have a much clearer understanding of what I should have done first, but my youth did not have the grasp on the truth that was unveiling before me at that time.

I did not have any further contact with her so I have no complete ending on how it all worked out for her. I can only hope that she moved through her ordeal with the success that I saw with the other people that received help. The immense amount of information that I learned from her would be paid forward to help others in the same situation. So I would have to say that something good did come from that experience. In the end it was having a heart that really mattered as I learned compassion and an awareness that would be with me for the rest of my life.

Friday, February 24, 2012




I arrived early that morning with the phone lines ablaze and hurriedly answered the three blinking lights as quickly as possible. As I answered the third line I could barely get out “Please Hold” before she began speaking in a rushed desperate hysterical tone. I forced out the “please hold one moment “ while she continued to talk, took care of the other two lines that were still on hold and when I returned after a couple of minutes, I realized that she had never realized that I had left her on hold. She still spieled off words in one continuous conjecture of sentences. While I tried to understand and comprehend what she was trying to get across to me, I had to loudly interject “Slow down and take a deep breath and repeat slowly to me what you are trying to ask”. The shock from my aggressive overtone took hold and she was silent for a moment and then began to tell me her story as to why she was calling and what she wanted to have done. I could tell immediately that she had made her “hair” decision and was very ready to act immediately and wanted an appointment as soon as possible that day.

It was imperative that she got her hair done that day as there was a pending business dinner with her husband that she had to attend and did not want to go looking like a woman who had just had a baby recently. She readily explained that her pregnancy had been long and arduous which coincided with many nights of no sleep that had left her feeling unattractive and miserable. Getting an appointment was to be the miracle cure that she wanted and today was the day as her Mother was going to babysit the baby. Since she would have limited time to get a new dress and have her hair coiffed, she acted swiftly and manically.

After getting her information and hearing the desperation in her voice I made room for her appointment knowing that I would need more than a couple of hours with her in order to soothe her panic. This would be my first post pregnancy emotionally shattered mother. I would later come to realize that this same scenario would reappear over and over with all new mothers that have been deprived of sleep, personal time, husband encouragement and compliments. It was to be my first introduction into postpartum depression. At this particular time there was not a medical diagnosis name for the symptoms but it has now been diagnosed as a common problem with many post pregnancy women and has given light to a new awareness that was long overdue. Now when I am in a client situation that has all the familiarity of postpartum symptoms, my awareness allows me to have a much better understanding and sensitivity to their mood swings and inability to make decisions on their choice of style or color.

After speaking with her, I had a mental vision of what I assumed she would look like when she arrived however my mind’s picture was way off. For some reason I pictured a woman with no make-up, a little post-delivery added weight and totally unmaintained oily dark rooted hair. However what stepped out of the Mercedes was an attractive svelte young woman, who was made up to the hilt. She hardly looked like she had just had a baby and as she closed the her car door, she caught her Louis Vuitton purse in the door and was having a panic attack trying to unlock the door to free the purse. It was obvious to me that it was already adding another crisis to her day so I quickly ran out the door to help her before she melted into a tearful mess. As she struggled to pull the handle strap free from the door, I could see the tears welling up in her eyes. I came up to her and asked her to let me take care of this, surprisingly she gave in and let me release the strap caught in the shut door.

After freeing the purse I calmly shut the door and handed her the newly contorted strap and purse, to which she gratefully acknowledged a big thank you. On our way up to the salon door she dabbed at the tears that had now wet her cheeks. I could feel immediately that this was going to be more than I really had prepared for as the frustration that now surrounded her was beginning to surround me as well and the atmosphere had now changed inside the salon the moment she had entered the doors.
Carefully I scanned her being noticing how put together she was. In no way could one have ever assumed that she had just had a baby six weeks earlier. She was quite attractive with dark blond hair and a maze of frosted blond hair that blended throughout the orb that sat on her shoulders. Despite the fact the she was still wearing the shag haircut that was a duplicate of “Mrs. Brady” she was demurely put together. Her rich navy blue Bobbie Brooks slack suit was pristinely pressed down to the stitched seam on her pants. The low heeled matching shoes coordinated with her overall look and made the statement that her trousseau was filled with a Saks Fifth Avenue aura. She held her petite framed body upright and the spring in her step showed me that this was going to be a no nonsense woman who had a goal to reach. I realized more fully at that moment that I was going to represent the final touch-down; I just was not sure how to maneuver the field goal yet.

I took her back to my styling chair and as she turned facing the mirror my eyes locked dead on to the most piercing golden eyes that seemed to latch on to my very core being. I found myself staring into them as if I was being hypnotized with each second that passed. She began speaking in the same desperation as she had on the phone earlier that morning. Luckily it broke the spell of visual intensity and I asked her to please stay calm as it would not help her to be so frantic. Softly I pressed my hands upon her shoulders and tried to reiterate in my own words what I had pieced together from the information that had been desperately spoken. As I tried to speak she frequently tried to interrupt me but I did not give in to her attempts. By the time I had finished speaking I saw that she had given in to allowing me to speak and I could tell that I had made a connection with her. She agreed that it was time to banish the “Shag” haircut and to treat the darkness that had grown out. We discussed some haircut ideas but she had nothing definite except to want to stand out at the evening affair that was planned for later that evening with her husband. I took a chance and asked her how daring she really wanted to be and if she wanted to risk a completely new look as I had already concluded in my mind what I truly wanted to create. She stopped and started to speak a couple of times and then blurted out that she would let me do what I thought was best, and finished, of course those lasting words ”As Long As I Look Good”. Those fleeting words that stylists always hate to hear from clients, as if we love to create UGLY.

I sent her off to change into a dressing gown so that I would not get anything on her clothes and I began my color preparations. When I returned she seemed very relaxed and as she sipped on her cup of coffee we began the conversation that would spill the details on the outline of her life. This has always been my favorite part of a new client situation because within five minutes of conversed information I can determine the personality that I am going to be dealing with. Those newly revealed sentences set the boundaries of communication as well as determining just how much freedom I can have with the client. Those first few minutes of connecting will always be my guide to the future of client retention.

It was apparent that I had scored a touchdown so far as she began to open up with her conversation as I began the coloring process on her hair. Within the first twenty five minutes I knew how old she was, when she got married, what her husband did for work and how she was ill prepared for motherhood and she flatly told me that she did not feel she was cut out to be a mother. She explained that she did not even feel bad for leaving her newborn that morning and that she was not looking forward to having to return to her home and deal with the baby again. Selfishly she made it clear that she had no time to herself anymore and missed not sleeping later. Due to a lot of traveling in his work her husband did not seem to want to help much. Marriage was not what she expected and it was beginning to be clear to me that being a Mother was not what she expected either. As she spoke I could feel that something was missing within her demeanor to feel or hear what she was saying to me. When she asked me if I thought that she was a complete “bitch” I interjected that I did not think that she was, but I did feel that she needed to research her emotions and try to find the time when everything seemed to split apart. At that point her cold stare gave me a twinge of uncertainty that I may have stepped over her line, but then she replied that she never would have thought of doing that and that the advice would be well taken. As for being the right thing to do, I really had no clue, I just instinctively knew that at one time there must have been a happier time when her life would have competed with Cinderella’s at the ball.

It seemed to me that it was hard for her to keep from talking as she spoke continuously while I continued to do my color work. In between bated breaths she would expound on an alternate topic that was not on the same track as we had been talking. As quickly as she jumped the conversing track we had been on she would jump back and pick up the talk as if she had never left the track. I found it hard to be able to say much due to the frantic pace at which she spoke. I would truly have to say that she was not aware of half of what she was saying and just seemed to vent her frustrations. It became very clear that her home situation was very tense due to the changes that had occurred with the baby’s arrival.

Her assessment of her family life was not a pretty one despite acknowledging that she never had to worry about anything and that money was never going to be a problem for her. She was able to spend as she pleased, yet because of that, she felt lost and empty. She had never held a job and just went from her childhood home, into marriage and now a child had added the extra pressure that she was not ready to fulfill. I spoke in sensitive terms and told her that I felt that time would make things better as the baby would soon be sleeping through the night and more time with her husband would come as the baby got a few months older. She turned a deaf ear to what I had just said to her and made absolutely no response back except to elaborate further on how miserable she felt.

I continued my work and decided that I should just dedicate the rest of the conversation to making her feel secure about the changes I had started to do with her hair. Encouragingly I continued to speak in positive overtones that were directed at the unhappy ego that surrounded her. It was obvious that the more I focused my attention directly about her, the intense aura she came in with slowly started to fade away. I could feel my demeanor start to change toward her and knew that we had made some kind of connection that had yet to be determined.

The color processing and a couple of self-directed hours of conversation finalized with the new haircut would further open the “insecure” door that she constantly opened during our previous hours of conversation. I had made the decision to update her haircut to the trendy new wedge haircut that had been popularized by the Olympic skater, Dorothy Hamill. Jackie’s hair texture and natural movement was very well suited for that style. I felt instinctively that haircut would supersede her expectations and would create the complimentary sensation that she most assuredly wanted. The illumination of the new blond color streaks and the line and movement would make for quite a stunning hair renovation. As I did my work I kept her turned away from the mirror as I did not want to deal with image insecurity as I applied the color and wrapped the foil. Any woman who has a color process criticizes herself for the way she looks during such a process and I already had enough of her insecurity resonating from my styling chair.

When I completed my cutting and the blow-dry I carefully turned her chair to face the mirror and expected the worst scenario to happen. You could have stabbed at the tense air as it was so thick of fear and trepidation…….I watched as her eyes filled with tears and awaited the worst, however the worst never appeared……quite the contrary. The tears that fell were tears of joy and appreciation that I had made her look and feel better and she knew that she would once again receive the compliments that had been elusive for too long. She quickly stood up and pulled me close to her and gave me one hell of a hug. I was taken aback and completely surprised by her responsive action and happiness. As the hug subsided she began to shower me with appreciative feedback.

She pulled herself together and retreated to the changing room and I stood there almost stoned from the accolades that she bestowed on me from doing her hair. I had to assimilate the whole situation and knew that I had jumped the moon and I would know soon enough just how happy I had made her. The continual bevy of compliments continued while she pulled herself together to leave and while she paid her tab. Just as I had thought it was done, I came around from the back of the reception desk and once again she grabbed me once more for one last hug. Her hug felt appreciative and her arms told me that she had not had a male respond back for quite a while. I innocently hugged her back as tightly, and crossed a line that I had no idea had been drawn.

She waltzed out of the shop a very happy person and I could tell her attitude had been realigned. I felt proud of what I had done and to have completed an absolutely exhausting client situation. I was unaware of the consequences that came from making a connection with her. It would become a relationship that I could never have been prepared for. Unbeknown to me, she was at the top of a mentally exhaustive mountain and had no idea that she was about to take a free-fall into the valley of post-partum depression, and all who were drawn into her vortex would suffer the unjust consequences of her unstable mental state.

None of us had a clue that demons danced within this beautiful human being, yet we all would soon learn her many sides and would be privy to what emotions can do to a person who has split from reality. At this point of my life, I was still very naive when it came to understanding the complexity of her condition and found myself involved even though I did not pursue the relationship. She, on the other hand, had begun to build a fantasy scenario the day after she left my salon. Looking back, I try to recall any little piece of information that I may have missed, yet nothing turns up and I cringe at how easily I was led into what would become a very one sided unrequited illusion of love on her part.

Monday, February 6, 2012


It was at this salon that I would transcend into the “shear” madness that would forever shape my career. I learned to utilize the innate ability to feel out any client insecurity, special needs and to totally listen and perceive the situation that I would be embarking on. Paying close attention to their conversations opened up communication that often lead to psychological insecurities and emotional road blocks.
On very rare occasions those road blocks became impassable, yet the adventures leading up to those blocks were astounding. The reasons and the rhymes of those delusional insecure mindsets would become the stepping stones to understanding just how much mind energy it took in a day to smooth out the clients porous hair as well as their disheveled personality. There was always a sense of completion at the end of the day, yet it was emotionally exhausting and would tend to make me unsociable in the evening just trying to regain my own mental composure.

These first experiences of diva client privileges began my journey to the styling chair of client T"HAIR"apy. It was not just the hair that would need special attention. No matter what you would apply to the hair for control, it became very apparent that I also had to control and smooth their crowded, unhappy, insecure mind. The insecurities that fell out of them spilled around me like rain water, only I was the gutter that channeled it to a different direction of mindset.
Just listening and letting out sympathy from my heart would be the encouragement they needed to unleash more of their sadness. The privileged information came at no price to me as I never charged them for advice but they would hand over the money freely and happily and always eagerly awaited their next appointment to continue their stories.
Many women and men felt open to me and all their life stories would blanket me daily. I would learn more from these people than anyone could have ever imagined. This International House of Hairdom held within its doors my pathway to human fragility and loneliness. The hallways echoed the cries of convex conversations which were turned inward and I seemed to provide them with a straighter path to move forward. My gift of conversation and genuine interest brought the clients to me and they would leave a mark in my heart and create the vast amount of information that I possess to this day.

My stay at this salon was enlightening and informative. My new clients lead the way to the success that was noticed and soon I had been given the opportunity to relocate to another elite salon that my owner had recently built. Looking back it was a blessing in disguise as the fall of the “House of Hairdom” was imminent, as the lease had ended and was not going to be renewed. The era of this salon would end and the “Euro” staff would separate and find successes elsewhere.

This former salon was to be the beginning of my awareness of how much the clients depended on me. Unbeknownst to me I was part of a hair curriculum that was not part of the cosmetology training. This syllabus would hold a psychological consequence of an amazing positive aspect. I would learn to understand just how connected to the female psyche I was becoming and the intuition I had with each and every one of them would serve me well. My career was still very new but I could sense that incredible things were about to happen. My clairvoyant ability steered me in the right direction and kept me safe when I strayed into situations that needed to be dealt with quickly.

The “International House Of Hairdom” experience provided the new horizon that I would follow and I exited those doors with a brighter tomorrow. Taking on this new location would prove to be an exciting adventure. It was at this salon that I would meet the first of many clients that would challenge me in ways I never knew existed. Many of these new clients became like family while others would introduce me to the world of narcissistic, sociopathic insecure Clairol Christians. These clients were the most dangerous and most challenging.
No matter how you played out your appointment scenario you were never able to move beyond their total consuming "ME" syndrome. You could spend hours with these ladies and they would never walk away happy and then you would reap the pain of many repeated phone calls asking the same questions that you tried to answer with those many hours before in your T"HAIR"apy chair. Nothing would or could satisfy this type of client as they needed much more than a color process on their hair to bring them a happy demeanor. Luckily that type A personality client was rare and many, many other clients would become like a family to me. I became entwined with their lives and we shared a common ground of consistency and conversation that would be helpful to the both of us. The trust they put in me was never spoken except by their continued loyalty as a clients.

I had finally cracked the code of my responsibility to the wonderful people who would take this journey with me and who provided me with a strong grasp on reality and all that life can give you through the value of friendships. I was truly blessed by knowing each and every one who graced my styling chair. These people were the reason that forty three years later I can still be thankful for one hell of a styling career. Within my grasp was the power to make people look good and feel good. Sharing the gift of conversation only helped to make the whole experience positive for both the clients and myself.
Attached to every strand of hair was a head filled with so much information and life experiences that it would be as exhilarating as it could be debilitating.

Remembering each and every conversation and the person who was attached to it came easily for me. Somehow my mind stuck post it labels to each client and so it would come to pass that I would easily remember where we left off with our last conversation. So many people would come through my salon doors as clients and time would allow them to metamorphous into dear friends. There were people who made such an indelible mark on me as a person that it changed my awareness of many things.
The vulnerability that came from some clients desires, needs and high expectations delivered some of my career’s most amazing stories. On the other side of the fence were the wonderful clients that entered my hair kingdom and brought their trust, respect and loyalty over the years. Within the next chapters of this book, there will be actual revealing true situations with clients with whom I shared life experiences, some good, some bad, and others that were absolutely life altering. All of these situations took me to a new level of human compassion as well as understanding.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It happened to be one of those days where there was not much to do so I decided that I would go through some old boxes of items that still had not been put away in a proper place. At the bottom of the box laid a compact disc with no writing on it and even though it appeared unused I slipped it into the computer to see what may appear on the disc. As the computer read the disc music began to flow out of the speakers and incredible flashbacks began firing off like fireworks in my mind. I recognized the people singing and all that transpired when this music was made. As the lyrics of the song played on I began to hear the words differently than before. So much time has come and gone since I last heard these tracks and the emotions that were once felt have been replaced by finality's and uncertainties.
I sit and think about the time, long ago, when this all felt magical and the music that was made ignited an excitement within that has not been felt for quite a while. I look at the screen and see it being written as I type in the script that is in black and white and realize that the lyrics of that song were justifiably right. What once was is no more and we have opened and closed the doors that once would swing both ways. It repeats the question "Is it Too Late"? This query can not be truly answered. There is no desire of communication anymore and hurt feelings get in the way of the pain that comes with remembering that past.
How could it all so easily dissipate as if there was no solid ground with which to stand on and the answer is was only a one sided relationship of convenience. As the disc continued to play, the next track said it best and once again the lyrics had taken on a new meaning. When you realize that you had been fooled by a feeling it is necessary to step aside and remove yourself from the personal opera that continued to disappoint.
Now that years have come and gone and the dreams have flitted away, my life has moved on and the colors of tomorrow no longer appear in black and white.
It is true that dreams don't lie because my dreams have moved me to the overnight sensation that continues to unfold daily. The absence of what once was is now fading from view but the void it leaves in the heart has yet to be reconciled.
I know something will come to fill the void and I will look back on those hungry years and see a new spectrum culminating from the peace of mind by having laid to rest the black and white images of what used to be.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Chapter 3

Being new to a big city did have its advantages, but unfortunately with those advantages came the disadvantages. The bigger the city, the more diverse, perverse, decadent, unusual, and sociopathic it becomes. All of those adjectives would describe the future experiences that I was about to unveil a little at a time. It was a good thing that I was still young enough to have a certain amount of innocence intact as the experiences that were to follow would have had a different impact if I had been older.

There would have been different outcomes if I had a little more life knowledge under my belt, but fate held my hand and removed the innocent layers one at a time. Slowly my eyes opened to just how much craziness existed in the world. Most of this newly found information had been held back by living in a smaller town and pure naivety, but then I was jumping in with both feet and could hardly wait to get wet. Looking back I can see where I should have made a right turn instead of a left, and which door I should have shut before I opened another door.

All things that most of us human animals must experience in order to gain the life knowledge needed to stave off any other crazy situations that may appear. Knowing when to leave is the smartest thing that anyone can learn, and luckily that was to be my first real lesson by living in the big city. After settling into my new home and my new city I began the task of looking for a new salon to begin work in. While it seemed there was a hair salon on every corner I was not willing to settle into another ordinary work environment. I would spend a couple of weeks visiting several places with which to work in yet nothing arrived that was a comfortable fit. As fate slammed its gavel once more, I was out once again shopping when I took the direct wake up call. Located in the elite shopping mall that I was in was the salon that I was to begin my next phase of hairdressing.

Entering this new area of HAIRistocracy was my premier visit to the world of well to do society matrons and dashing blue blooded men. Crossing through the doors of this salon put you into a past world of elegance and waning 1960’s décor. The grand crystal golden chandelier lighted the way into the marbled front foyer. There you were greeted by the reception staff. Always buzzing and chaotic receptionists would check you in and see to your needs before the stylist would be ready to see you. The receptionists decided the fate of the stylists each day by the correct booking of time, client needs and client tolerances and insecurities; in other words, incorrect booking meant a disaster that would destroy any semblance of a calm and flowing day of elite hair maintenance.

As you made your entrance into the large flowing styling area, custom made styling stations lined the walls. Matching themed décor golden mirrors hung elegantly to entice a view from every angle. The styling chairs emanated auras of the previous past decade of clients who had frequented the salon. It was obvious that the grandiose furniture had seen better days, yet all the pieces still held their regal appearance and still functioned well. Even though the decorum could have used a renovation most clients just accepted it as it was.

The area where you were taken for shampooing and chemical services was strategically placed away from the styling area to insure the privacy and security for the clients who did not wish to be seen during some rather unattractive processes. Six deep black shampoo sinks stood behind the line of long lounge chairs, where the clients laid back and let the professional techs take control. All techs wore their white uniforms and white polished shoes, and were only seen when they escorted the freshly washed and toweled client to the stylist’s chair. They were to disappear as quickly as they appeared. We were told to stay away from their area and only use the shampoo area if time was of the essence and the techs were all busy, otherwise you remained in the styling area.

It was a very new and different scenario from the past work situation yet the atmosphere was always charged with a vibrant energy which I would later understand as too much testosterone in one work environment. I was a fish in a big pool and the sharks swam around all the time just waiting to take a bite out of me and watch me drown. I learned how to be a different kind of fisherman, and survive without getting hooked, caught, and thrown back out to sea. Although there were some times when the hunter got captured by the game, I still managed to live to tell and came away with a whole different point of view.

This NEW styling position that I became a part of was once again a Salon Europa and this time I would be working for an owner from Germany, as if the Italian had not been enough. Nothing could have prepared this country boy for “Allemange Attitude” which is French for German attitude. It was there that I would be slapped awake and would learn how to keep my eyes and ears opened more than ever. This International House of Hairdom turned my working hours into a complete and utter challenge like never before. Evilness is created by those who seek to control and manipulate, which is probably why they hired me in the first place. I would assume that they felt that I could hold my own, and as a novice actor I guess I convinced them that I could but was really faking my way through it all.

The salon was one big sea of testosterone and only one other female stood behind the styling chairs. By the owner’s German standard way of thinking no woman could style hair the way a male was able to. Only one female made it on the roster of stylists in this salon. The only other women of employment were the receptionist’s and the shampoo tech’s who would diligently work and be completely subservient to all the roosters who strutted throughout the salon. If ever there was a sexual discrimination suit to be won it would have been here.

The owner was one of a healthy stock of German and European stylists who were trained and brought to the states by the former owners of the salon establishment. My new boss was one of many young European male hairdressers that were brought to the Unites States to work for a mere pittance for the chance to work in a salon in America. He had worked his way up through the ranks as an apprentice and survived those hard working years of the 1960’s when you would shampoo and set up to 30 women a day. He started with learning to shampoo and then after that slowly learned the skills shown by the previous owner who ran the large operation that he now called his own. Unfortunately he felt that all the other stylists were beneath him and no one was better than he was in his styling skills. Tall and strikingly handsome, he seemed to command any room that he walked in to. Whenever he walked, his dark blonde hair would bounce on his head and he always had a rude comment to share if he should get in your line of eyesight. I often wondered why he would choose to say such mundane and irritating comments and now I realize it was his way of trying to stay above everyone else. By trying to degrade others presence it gave him the air of superiority. Anyone of us who showed him up would always reap the consequences of his insecurities. The one great quality he showed was his love of family. He was married to an American woman and he had two children to complement his solid marriage. Despite his manners or lack thereof in communication skills with his staff, he was one hell of a hairdresser. I just had to learn his body language, and in doing so I learned how to react to his attitude.

Trying to keeping in step with this kind of behavior was a challenge that I did not like very well and made it my goal to prove that I could take him on at any time. The fact that I was twenty years younger than he was, only made his vulnerability show through even more. I was the youngest in the salon and being the new kid on the block, I had to take his knocks and keep fighting. His arrogance and attitude seemed to create some rather embarrassing situations in the salon. His flippancy and condescending ways suggested strongly that he knew the most about everything. It would take one situation to prove his vulnerability amongst his staff and it served up a healthy dish of crow that he would eat most deservingly.

In the fashionable city of Atlanta the one thing that most of the ultra riche and society matrons looked forward to was the Governor’s Ball. The event to end all events, and to get an invitation was to be on the A list of people. On this particular Saturday, the whole salon was packed with madams and messieurs that were to be attending the function that evening. It was on this day that we had an early meeting and he told us how important this event was and how necessary it was to stay on time with our work schedule. At that same meeting he took the time to show off this fancy new super blow dryer that he had recently purchased and told us to plan on buying one for ourselves so that everyone would have the same dryer. The “YellowBird” was a forceful dryer and was the top of the line when it came to blow dryers in the 1970’s. Because of its blow force it also required a lot of air and the side vents on it were like a mini vacuum. I watched him use it that morning and noticed that when he got too close to the head with it, I could see hair lifting towards its side vents from the suction of air power.

During lunch I mentioned what I had seen to him to make him aware that it appeared that his new dryer could possibly suck hair into it vents. He rudely told me that could not happen and that I should just pay attention to my own clients as he knew how to handle the dryer. I made it clear one more time that it was an accident waiting to happen and he ignored me and went back to work. I took his advice and just ignored what he was doing when suddenly a scream was heard throughout the salon. I glanced around to see where it came from when I noticed his client sitting there frightened as the “Yellow Bird” dryer had swallowed a small section of her long hair. The dryer was now resting on the back of her head, and the motor was still smoking from the hair that now clogged its dryer chambers. I rushed over and pulled the plug to stop the current and saw that he was totally shocked at what had just happened. I knew it was in my best interest to keep my mouth shut and two of us stylists came to his rescue to help him try and remove the hair that was so entangled inside the dryer. Unfortunately her hair was not letting go as we tried to tug and pull it out easily. Our only other choice was to take the dryer apart and remove it gently and hope that the section of hair had not been burned and ruined. We located some tools and set about dismantling the dryer and as we removed piece after piece, the fears we both felt were confirmed. Wrapped tightly around the motor was the one section of hair. It had melted it into one cinged mass that was unsalvageable to remove and it had to be cut in order to get the dryer off her head. The client was frantic beyond belief and was emotionally falling apart before our eyes. Having no other choice, he made the snips that finally set the dryer free which left a gaping section of hair that no longer blended with the rest of the clients hair. The woman was livid and began verbal threats and attacks but he was not able to speak for his embarrassment shattered his demeanor and he was speechless. It took a while to calm her down and we explained that it would not be a problem to repair and I casually explained how we would do it by slightly re-layering the cut.

At first I thought I would be in some sort of trouble for taking over, but I smoothed the situation into a happy ending. After such a scary ordeal she left with a congenial smile and an apology for the threats. As I picked up the mess from the parts of the dryer, she made her way toward me and presented me with a personal gratuity for her hair rescue. I was completely taken aback and graciously thanked her. I was prepared to be asked to leave the salon but instead was humbled when he acknowledged that he should have listened to me as he was also noticing how strong the vent suction was but he just did not like people telling him what to do, and that he let his arrogance get in the way of the observation. From that day forward his attitude toward me had changed and would be noticed by everyone on staff. I was no longer the new guy and now felt more a part of the staff family.

All the other working stylists were from different countries and it was always a continual bevy of languages going on at all times. At any given time you would hear at least six different languages being spoken which made for a truly European experience. In this salon I would learn the true meanings of adultery, sexual deviation, perversion, solicitation, intimidation and survival. On one side of me, to the other side, I would be privy to absolutely amazing conversations and topics. Personal stories and dalliances were shared by both client and stylist
The male stylists were the studs and the rich women that graced the salon came for the closest thing to a Warren Beatty they could get. Each one of us was at their disposal no matter what it cost. I had no clue, once again, to what I was getting into and but I just went with the flow, which would pay off handsomely. It did not matter what your sexual preferences were these rich dames needed attention and not just for their hair. The owner made sure that we were taught exactly how to handle the women, which meant how to upsell their salon needs and how to up charge their service when required to do so, and oh yes, house calls were mandatory.

I always laugh when I hear the word UPSELL. That six letter word would mean an entirely different thing when away from the salon for a home appointment. Very quickly I realized it was synonym code for a coiffed liaison. My working partner to my left would be my guide to the world of home salon satisfaction. He was the definition of a true man-whore who would partake of any free moment to satisfy his appetite for the female sex. He was not a real handsome man, but his swagger and his mane of reddish-brown hair would dance lightly around his shoulders which exuded masculinity. He donned the ruddy complexion of a red head and his freckles made his face always look tan. The bushy moustache that graced the upper line of his mouth only served to make his plump red lips look even redder.

The sexuality that oozed out of him was self-contained within the tight form fitting pants that he always wore. His German dialect would always sputter his English grammar and always served as a way for his clients to help him try and speak the sentences correctly. Therein would lay the ploy and trick of his trade to win over most any female that came within his space. The clients that came to him for services were the cream of the money crop. They were the southern debutantes that came from Daddy’s money and their southern dialect would always drip from their mouths like honey from a bee. Their feminine voices were soft and slow with a seductive drawl would always excite him, which was fairly obvious from the anatomical outlines that would always appear from the exterior of his pants.

Clients would come into the salon for an appointment with him and I always noticed that most of them would disappear for a while with him. When they returned, he would then begin their styling appointment. I never asked where he was always going to but would find that out entirely by accident. This would parlay into one of those life moments that you would see in a Hollywood movie only it really happened to me. In retrospect, I would have to say I just fell into it by accident.

The salon as I stated before was very grand and large with lots of hidden areas for supplies and storage. It took the opening of a wrong door that would answer the mysterious question of the disappearing clients. Shocked and surprised was an understatement, as I was mortified to have been unfortunate enough see the carnal activity that was taking place atop the stack of boxes in the storage room.

I will forever have that image in my mind which only serves as a reminder to knock before entering any closed door. As I had exposed myself to the secret that had been kept hidden, I knew that I now held the key to open the door to the contacts and the divine divas. I kept my own little nugget of newly unveiled information to myself knowing very well the he knew he had been caught.

I promised sincerely that I would keep this from the owner pending assistance from Mr. “Red Riding” Hood. It did come to pass that the wolf came around to my way of thinking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I was sitting outside in the warm sun and felt the soft gust of the cool breeze surround me as I watched the last of the broken clouds drift off for places unknown. I have always wondered where the clouds go when they bust apart and but it seems they regroup again at another time and place. Much like people, family and friends who regroup at some time to form a "love cloud" of memories and which breaks apart and the energy of that affection will meet up once again when the timing is right.

My dog sauntered out to remind me that it was time for a dog treat and as she followed me into the office I suddenly got a message from my computer telling me that a new message had arrived in my box. I sat down to retrieve it and my whole body smiled with joy that a special family member had discovered me on FACEBOOK and gave me accolades for my writing.

I could hardly contain myself to reconnect those clouds again and drift back to our family memories and dish on the "now of then". As in every family there is always one person who stands out above the rest. The one who accepted all of you and nothing less. The person who was rebellious above the rest and took to life and self discovery as if the army were chasing them to the finish line. I had my connection with her and still feel as if it was yesterday that I first had my cousin connection.
It truly does not matter that so much time has come and gone because it still feels as if it happened last week. Through tears of unspoken gratitude those memories are some of the most cherished moments on my hit parade of life.

I can recall the exact moment that she made the biggest impression on my life which would become the catalyst for a lifetime of amazing discoveries. Still a teen herself, she got saddled with the duty of taking care of me as a young boy of seven which suited me fine as it was a getaway from the other sitters that were old biddies who wanted to strap me to a chair and torture me because of my inability and unwanted desire to do what they wanted me to do.
No...., my June bug was different. She also busted the mold of authority and sought to find life on her own terms. To this day I believe the karmic connection brought us together from another life where we lived our previous life with wild abandon and it just carried over to the next to complete what we didn't get finished before.

Despite what you would believe we were connected and the rest just fell into place. I always loved when she would visit us at home and became infatuated when she talked about her life and how her Mother just could not understand her. It was a song that played a lot in my home also as my Mother had the same problem. Both of our Mothers would not accept that we wanted to go our own way without the benefit of their opinions or guidance. Their dilemma was how to control us and our dilemma was how to get the hell away from them as quickly as possible.

Cousins of related Mothers, but all it was all in the family genes I guess. We captured the adventurous genes while the other family members remained staid. We never let time go by easily because we milked every second of consciousness looking for a new adventure. Now bear in mind there was a time that there was an age gap that separated us in maturity but that gap has long disappeared and now our connection is all on an even keel as the age gap faded long ago with our life experiences.

It was on that Saturday long ago that I sat in her apartment watching American Bandstand and was perusing through her box of records that I discovered that Decca record that would forever cement the bond. Not that it would mean much to anyone else, but to me it signaled happiness and an excitement that she liked the same singer that I did. The proof was being held in my hand and she took her teenage time to school me on the others singers who were filed within that "Platter Pack" of 45 RPM records. It was 1959 and my world of music had began to spin just for me.

My world would never be the same after that wonderful Saturday afternoon. She introduced me to Dick Clark and rate a record. She carefully explained to me who he was and who all the "in" dance couples were. I sat totally enamored with the black and white spectacle that seemed to never end. I can remember when the show finished asking her if I could come back next week and watch it with her again. Just what she needed another visit from her cousin when there were dates to be had on a weekend.

Unfortunately for me we did not get to repeat that weekend visit but as I got out of her car that day when we returned home, I could see a whole new vista beginning to glow around me. It still resonates within me when I ponder the memory of that special day.

She would always appear in our lives and still made time to spend with us even though she was making new roads in her life. I recall a visit when I became aware that she was pregnant with her first child. I did not know why her stomach had gotten so big and with her funny wit she explained the truth of what was happening and why she had a large stomach. She was quite savvy and left the birds and bees out of it but she was the first woman that let me feel her baby kick. My Mother was taken aback at how mesmerized I was at what was transpiring before me. Once again unknown to her she had opened a new window for me to peer out of.

The rebel in me became the mantra that we both so securely lived by. At times others would judge her because of her "unsavory choices", but I secretly loved that she wrote her own music and sang her own songs. Year after year I witnessed the changes that she went through and sought to become someone like her. I also desired the free will and would never listen to the guidance of others if my own inner sonar had a different path to follow.

It did not matter how much time had passed, but when we would reconnect it was like no time had gone by. It seems that as we spoke our memory of events was as sharp as the day that things happened. While we may have held the title of "rebels" we clearly made our path known and lived life as we dictated it on our own terms.
I recalled many events where I clearly now would have made a different decision but we both agreed that we had absolutely no regrets and we are still living to tell all.

In these autumn times of our lives we seem to reflect on things and people who clearly defined areas of our lives. Often times people never have the opportunity to tell the person how much they appreciated them in their life. I am the fortunate exception who recognizes one of the people who defined me as the person I am. She was totally unaware of the wonderful impact that she made in my life.

Often I get the pleasure of taking out the Decca album that she gave me as a get well gift when I had broken my wrist. I hold it in my hands and remember that young woman who had worked hard for that money to buy the album that would make me feel better despite the pain and awkwardness of my arm in a cast.
I can still feel and taste the chill of the "Seven Up" in that big green bottle that she brought for me also and watched her sip on the Pepsi that she drank while I opened up my gift. My joy on that occasion was obvious to everyone present in the room that evening. Little did they know where it all would lead.

I get to say my thanks now and share the love that I will keep with me for the rest of my life and she will finally know for sure that she had made quite an impression on a seven year old boy who always would whisper silent SWEET NOTHIN'S whenever she was around. Cousin's by birth and soul mates from yore.

It doesn't have to require any special month to bring out my JUNE bug, she flies around in my memory all the time and always lands on that special place in my heart.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Assuming the worst scenario with not much professional experience behind me, I totally prepared for my termination of employment. Why I felt that I was to be fired was totally an immature thought that I would not be needed any longer.
With great anxiety I sat down with him and the other three. He began to explain the day’s events and his predicament that led him to major disappointment with Marla’s sudden departure. He made it very clear that disappointments like that was not something he tolerated and would rather it never happen again, and like a caged dog I readily agreed. I had no real definite idea what I was agreeing to but just
moved with his conversation as he continued to speak. No one else spoke, when he spoke, and then he laid out his new plan for manager replacement and I was his choice which rendered me speechless,despite the fact that I was not talking anyway.

I was only nineteen, what the hell did I know about running a salon? After a long silence, I found my voice once again and explained that I had no experience in running a salon as I had only been out of school for just eight months. He made it very clear that he was aware of my skills and that I was not going turn him down. He mentioned that I would get the training I needed to do things the way he had set up.

I already had an insight into his “training” methods, I just was not sure I wanted to take the job. While he could have lured me into anything because of his demanding presence I stood up to him out of fear and spoke of my uncertainties, which for all purposes, was not acceptable on his part. He had his mind made up and I was his choice and I was to begin the job the next day. I was told to plan for most of
the upcoming week to be in “training”. How I loved his wording, as it would train me alright, and not so much in the salon management skills.

There was not much at all to the training the next day, except to learn what banks the money was to be deposited into and of course, was shown the “surprise” hiding place for the cash and daily tickets. The deposits were to consist of only checks as the major credit card situation had not taken on full force yet so it was all checks and cash. I was taught to make sure that the cash and checks balanced with the ticket totals from the register. Supplies were to be ordered on Monday and I was to be available every Tuesday afternoon, for a meeting with Mr.Tony and his “reps”.

Those meetings were a total rehash of all the previous things we had been over time and again. Banking issues were the major dilemma usually, as I would be in receipt of the daily deposit and the balance on the account was always nearly empty.
Our paychecks never bounced and they were from another bank in Chicago that did not match the ones that I deposited into. I made the fatal mistake of asking why the checks came from a Chicago bank and was abruptly informed that I did not really need to know why the checks came from that bank, it was none of my business and that was that. Mr. Tony felt very uncomfortable when asked about things he did not want to talk about, and his eyes would narrow and leer at you as if trying to hypnotize you to stop talking. I was a man of many questions and to this day, that still remains the same.

I began my new position and took on all the responsibilities that he sent my way. It would prove to be difficult at times to play the role of manager when the staff was much older than myself. I endured and moved things along as I was told to do.
After my first year of working for him I remarked that the salon could use an updating to keep in step with the changes in our industry. That would “cost money” he exclaimed and was unnecessary. I mentioned very directly that I would rather seek another place to work than keep working in an outdated environment.
He readily assured me that would not happen, so I stood up to leave and he quickly and strongly grabbed my arm causing me to flinch to which I yanked it away and told him never to do that again. I was done talking and made it much clearer for him to realize that I would not continue to work for him if he would not update the salon, in other words I was giving him my two week notice. I spoke it angrily and turned and walked away from him. I was done talking, evidently he was not as he and HIs “reps” came charging up behind me requesting me to stop, of which I did, so I turned around and stared him down. He felt the need to tell me to go back to work and he would talk to me later. I said nothing, turned back around and walked out the door toward my car, got into it and drove home, literally peeing my pants with the fear that ran through me by actually standing up for myself.

Shakily, I drove home and awaited my fate. I began to question myself as to what I had done earlier, but I meant what I said and would not back down from what I felt was needed to get changed. I phoned the salon to inform them that I would not be coming back in for the day and they informed me that Mr.Tony wanted to talk with me right away. That was not going to happen and I meant it. I hung up and decided to rest, as the whole scenario had taken a toll on my demeanor.

I was awakened by the brutal knocking on my apartment door and peeked out the window to try and see who it was at the door. It was almost ten at night and I had no clue who was visiting me at that hour. I called out and asked who it was and his reply made my heart jump out of my throat. Mr. Tony had located my apartment and wanted to speak to me. Immense fear spread though my body because of the way I left things earlier with him, and I did not want to have another scene like I had earlier that day.

With great trepidation and angst, I opened the door and invited him in and wondered if the other three “reps” were with him, to which they remained in the car. Silence filled the room when he sat down and I was petrified to start any conversation.
Mr. Tony cleared his throat and ran his fingers through his hair many times before speaking. I so remember watching his beautiful hair constantly fall across his forehead and noticed that this was his nervous habit when confrontation was occurring. He made it clear that he did not like me walking away from him and suggested strongly that I never do that again. I was to stay in conversation with him until he was finished speaking, and before he could speak further I reminded him of his manhandling me and I did not like being forced to do something that I did not want to do. I came to him as he had suggested I do when having some business needs and told him that he let me down by refusing my idea to update the salon. He tried to interject with his opinion and I just continued to spew out my feelings and concluded to him that I would not work another day in that environment and the way it looked. He informed me that WE had a problem, and I readily told him NO, he had the problem since there was not going to be any person in charge there anymore. I was not returning except to get my items that were personally mine. He stood up Quickly, and breathed deeply and made it clear that no one speaks to him like that, I pushed the boundaries and reminded him that I just did.

He opened the door and left without speaking to me again. I watched as his car sped off and could feel the uneasiness begin to spread once again throughout my body, I was certain this was not over yet. It was going to be a long night as I kept my guard up and waited for the worse to come. I really had no idea what to expect from standing up to him as I had only recently gotten a better understanding as to just who I was working for. The explanations that my best friend pointed out suggested
strongly that I was involved in a family much like a syndicate. I must admit that I did not know much about it other than what I learned in textbooks, but it did explain a lot of things that made me curious about his business dealings. Those explanations kept reiterating in my mind which just added to the fear of what lay ahead.

Responsibility played into my decision to go back to the salon that next morning to let everyone know that I was leaving and to retrieve my personal things. It ranked up high for one of the the longest drives of my life so far. When I pulled in to park near our entrance I noticed a large white truck unloading a bunch of furniture and as I made my way into the mall ,I noticed the salon was already open and our old stations and dryer furniture sitting out front and chaos inside as there were a dozen men removing the old furniture and replacing it with new furniture.
In the middle of the salon, directing all of this madness stood Mr. Tony. I was dumbfounded as to how in one night all of this was arranged but remembered what my friend had explained and now the addition that was hard for me to sum up finally totaled in my mind’s understanding of just what I was dealing with. I knew now that I was in too deep and needed an escape out. Mr. Tony noticed me and waved for me to come to where he was, yet I stood frozen with uneasiness as I literally could not get my feet to move because realization was folding in on me. In one full swoop the entire salon was refurbished with new furniture.
He explained that over the weekend it would be painted and new mirrors would be in place. In no uncertain terms he made it very clear that he had done what I had asked for and that I would not be leaving as I had planned. He even acknowledged that he understood how bad the place needed renovation and that I had guts pushing the limits with him. Then came the best part "I did you a favor and now I expect one in return”. At that moment I could feel the blood drain from my face and I began to understand what really happened with the previous manager and here I was in the same situation, except I was getting exactly what I asked for which only served to cement the deal of loyalty.

I began to wonder if I would end up being next bag of cement if I did not cooperate as he had suggested. With the facts at hand I realized this situation was going to take some serious thought and timing as to planning my exit.
With a newly decorated salon, and my job once again in place,I found myself working daily just waiting for the next bomb to drop.

In looking back I realized that there was something pending and I just did not know what it could be. My gut feeling did not let me down once again. A man appeared at the front desk looking lost a few weeks later, and as he showed his card and badge he asked for Mr. Tony. I intercepted and told him he did not work here but he came by once a week to check on things and I could give him a message. He asked who I was and I told him and he left me with a card to give to Mr. Tony. It was my first awareness of an Internal Revenue Service agent, of which he was a representative.

The visit from that IRS gentleman only added to the list of insecurities I was rapidly developing. The crowning moment of “on the edge” realization would arrive in the most unusual way and will go down as one of the funniest and most frightening moments experienced in my long career.

It was late afternoon and my client was a new referral for color. I cannot recall her name as the whole situation that took place sent her running and I never heard from her again, and I can understand why.
She was a client who had double process hair blonding and and she wanted to have her hair touched up which required the process of decolorizing her root growth and a color toner after the lightening process was finished. We began our meeting with a consultation and soon afterwards I began my process of applying the freshly mixed lightener to her hair and while I proceeded with the application, I began to notice that the bottle I used with the product mixed inside was getting warm and as I continued the process it seemed to continue to heat up. I just explained it to myself that it was the heat from my hand that was heating it up. I kept moving forward with the touchup when the bottle exploded as if a gun-shot had just been fired.

Evidently the nozzle of the bottle blew off and the impact of its tip slammed my clients head striking it as if she had actually been hit by a bullet. Frightened, she screamed “I’ve Been Shot”. Suddenly the women under the dryers and the staff all began to scream and took off running out of the salon in mass hysteria.
There I stood completely covered in the bleaching product trying to comprehend what the hell had happened and actually thought someone had really shot a bullet into the salon. It took a few minutes to gather my mental thoughts, but as I wiped the bleach off my face and eye’s, I saw the destroyed color bottle laying on the floor in pieces. The whole explosion finally made sense. The contained product had a rapid chemical release which created the heat. Since there was no room to expand inside the bottle it burst the bottle with a force much like a gun except without a bullet.

Everyone was still out in the mall area screaming for the police. I pulled myself together and went outside to explain what had happened and assure everyone that it was ok to come back in and no police was needed. They reluctantly made their way back inside and I set about cleaning the exploded mess that now clung to the walls, ceiling, floors, styling stations and mirrors.
My client was nowhere to be found as she never came back in with the rest and when I asked if anyone had seen her, the only explanation I could obtain was from one of the clients who was previously under the dryer.
She told me that she had seen a woman running out the mall door screaming for help, yet no one obviously came to her rescue as she mysteriously disappeared and never showed back up for another repeated “bullet” touchup.

I recall the fright of the whole situation culminating at the close of the day. I was left to close the shop alone. I kept replaying the days event and accepted the fact that I feared that a real situation could occur and my youthful anxiety of a possible bad scenario led me to the conclusion that it was time to make the change of employment.

I did not want to end up on the other end of an exploded color “bullet” bottle that was truly meant for me. As I finished the daily routine of closing down, I went into the dispensary to turn the lights off and noticed a piece of paper on the floor and picked it up to read.


Laughingly I shook my head as I headed toward the front door knowing now that the whole event could have been avoided. Even though my eyelashes and eyebrows were now a pastel shade of orange from the bleach bomb I held my head high and began to think about my future as my days in Rome were coming to an end and I wanted to leave in one piece. Inside my mind I could feel the winds of change beginning to blow and it would not be long before the breeze’s blew the sand from my eyes and I saw a new horizon coming my way. I knew that the time had come to put in my notice and leave this first job.

The tricky part would be how receptive Mr. Tony would be to letting me leave easily given his demeanor when things did not go his way. I knew that I had needed to move on to my next plateau and staying would have made it feel I was getting to deep into the politics that he worked by. It would take some shrewd planning and a very fast exit to make my getaway complete with no retribution from the “Family”.

I planned a meeting with him to let him know of my decision to leave and of my departure date. When we met he seemed sidetracked by some personal things and was hardly listening to me when I broke the news. I watched him bristle as I told him the date that I was planning to leave and I watched as he ran his fingers thru his black hair as he would do when trying to think of something to say. He sat quietly and told me that he could not see his way clear to let me go just yet as he needed to find a replacement. I readily accepted his appraisal of the situation and did not want to shuffle the deck any further so I agreed to give him time to find someone.

It was at that time he informed me that it would be at his discretion when a replacement would be hired and I was NOT to leave before that was arranged. I arrogantly informed him once again of my planned exit date and he turned a deaf ear to me so I got up to leave and he just sat there staring into space with no other comments. I could feel his resonant stare creep up my spine as I turned and left. It unnerved me and at that exact moment realized that I would never be leaving if he had his way and now I made it a goal to leave sooner than later or face whatever he would lay before me to stop my exiting.

I gathered my courage, went home and began to lay all the pieces out. One by one I planned my exit strategy. On that last Saturday afternoon, I took my last paycheck, cashed it at the bank, and packed the last of my items in my car and planned to leave very early the next morning. I knew that Mr. Tony would find the note in the money bag that he would pick up late that night, and I hoped that he would not read it until Monday when he would make his cash deposit into his personal account. Evidently he must have read it later as he never showed up at my apartment. I purposely left no forwarding address to find me.

It was to become the past and I never wanted to look back, except on occasion to see if someone was following me. No one showed! Luckily I had a friend in Atlanta that would help me with my transition and Interstate 75 would lead me to my new Atlanta home. That highway became my private yellow brick road to a world of unbelievable experiences that would have made Dorothy, Glenda and the whole city of OZ blush. It would also lead me to discover things about myself in ways I never planned on. Daily I would walk through my newly discovered land.

I would be transported into situations that would forever etch my memory, as well as touch my heart. It was to become my reality and created the awareness of people and their intricate lives.