Monday, April 8, 2013

Mr. Leonard

One day in the summer of 1959, my mom told me to get in the car. She had a surprise for me. I was 5 years old and was fascinated at the thought of taking part in something special that didn’t involve my sisters. It was eons until my January birthday, so I was intrigued. I asked Mom if I was getting a doll house. I was told no, I would just have to wait and see. When we arrived at the magical place of the Grand Surprise, I was disappointed. Turns out I was getting my long hair cut. Big whoop. The beauty parlor was located in the lady’s side of a barber shop. There were photos of hairstyles torn out of magazines lining the mirrors, yellowing and kind of dog-eared. And there stood Mr. Leonard. Anybody over twelve seemed old to me, but Mr. Leonard seemed ancient. I’m not sure if it was an age thing or a disease, but his hands had tremors. This did not bode well for being on the receiving end of sharp scissors. I believe I got the first shag haircut in Salt Lake City, years before it’s time. The best thing about my subsequent visits to Mr. Leonard was checking out the pet store a couple doors down from his salon. Watching the puppies in the window after my haircut made the frightening shaking scissor experience well worth it. I’m not sure how Mom stumbled upon Mr. Leonard, but she eventually took over for him and cut our hair. We sported some pretty heinous, super short Mamie Eisenhower bangs back then. Mom believed that bangs should have a curve to them, rather than going straight across one’s forehead. Unfortunately, she wasn’t always sure where to stop. Sometimes our bangs went halfway to the back of our heads. Talk about your bowl cut! My ears aren’t symmetrical, so getting my sides even was sometimes a challenge. I believe Dad took away my mom’s scissors on the Day of The Five Haircuts. She couldn’t seem to get my sides even and just kept at it - five times by my count. I went to a birthday party directly after this extreme haircut and the birthday girl said I looked like a boy. Oh the humanity! My hairstyle then looked pretty much they way it does now, minus hair gel. I’ve come full circle. I wonder if Mr. Leonard would approve.

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