Stories From Behind the Chair-Part Deux

The Appointment

So this is the second of my stories behind the chair as a hairstylist. You know it is quite intriguing to think that people who do not know you tell you the most intimate of details about themselves, having just met you. It has always blown me away how human that is, and I never blamed them or held that against them in anyway, most people were simply very honest and engaging as they told their innermost details.

I often kept a journal of my customers, such as what we did that day, what their next appointment would entail and a little bit about their personal life, this was an idea that one of my beauty school instructors gave me, and I did it so that I could remember something unique or important about the customer so that I could ask them about it later. It always made the customer feel better that you remembered them and cared about their life and managed to recall a little something from their last visit.

There was a special lady who became my client in one of my first jobs. I worked at an Air Force Base Beauty Salon. It was like my second job behind the chair and I enjoyed it despite all the politics that went with it such as the 'officers wife”. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my clients for the most part and your noncommished officers wives were the best clients, the friendliest people, the best tippers and most importantly, the most loyal. That’s not to say that all officer’s wives are a pill but most of them wear their husband’s stripes on their sleeves and expect to be treated as if they were the ones behind the medals. Many times the “regular” people would get bumped because the Base Commander’s wife had to get in for an emergency do because of some function, oh don’t get me started.

On a particular warm day in June, I was outside having a cigarette break and when I came in I was told that someone had given me an appointment with a lady that I will call Mrs. Beard. They said she was in a wheelchair and that she was going to need her hair colored and cut and washed and set. My coworkers sheepishly told me that her husband made the appointment for her and that he was an ex Colonel, and was very rude. He was bringing her in and they all thought that I would be the best one to handle them. I thanked them profusely (being sarcastic) and got ready for my appointment.

About 30 minutes later, I noticed a man in his seventies or so and he was wheeling a lady around in a wheel chair. I held my breath for a minute getting ready for whatever was to come. Mr. Beard brought his wife in and told me what he wanted me to do for her, without letting his wife speak a word. They were the most adorable couple. I mean him in his military style demeanor that hadn’t left him even if he had probably retired some 30 years ago. I found that humours. Mr. Beard said he would promptly be picking her up at 1500 hours, which is 3 p.m. I greeted Mrs. Beard and we talked some as we were getting ready for her appointment.

I asked her what color she would like for her hair and she said.’ she wanted a nice dark blonde for the “Colonel” and she spoke with the most adorable southern accent. I thought it amusing that she called him the Colonel instead of his name. Here was a lady of about 80 years of age and she started telling me the story of how her and the Colonel met and she was older than him, which was quite controversial back then and proceeded to tell me that she always did what the Colonel told her to do because he took such good care of her. She had nothing but good things to say about the Colonel.

The Greatest Generation

While she was still under the blow dryer, the Colonel walked in and asked if she was ready and I said that it may be a few more minutes, and I expected him to blow his top but he was very cordial and said that he would just wait and read a magazine.

While he waited he said that since he retired he didn’t come to the base very often, only to get medications and to get his wife’s hair done. He looked over and noticed a Lieutenant getting his hands manicured and said Geez, in the same indelible style of Archie Bunker, he said, “boy they sure don’t make soldiers like they did back when I was a soldier”. I thought oh hell, here it comes. But instead I tried to stir the subject away and asked him if he and his wife had seen any new movies of late? The big movie at the time was “Saving Private Ryan”, but instead I asked if he had seen Shakespeare in love just to move the conversation into a new direction . Then his eyes lit up, and said no but he did see Saving Private Ryan and drew closer to me and started relating stories to me about the war. I told him that my father and several of his brothers had been in WWII together and the movie reminded me of them, and he told me it was people like my father and uncles and the story behind Saving Private Ryan why they don’t or try not to send family in the military to the same place, especialy during a war; so that there aren’t as many casualties in one family as there used to be. I concurred with this and then he told me that he indeed had seen that movie and that he had actually been one of the many people who had been on Omaha beach during D-day.. He wasn’t an officer at the time, but just a young soldier who was scared to death. I looked into his eyes and he had tears running down his face. He said if you see this movie and you look at all the men scattered dead on the beach, and the horror depicted in this movie, that it wouldn't come close to the actual reality of the events as they unfolded that day.Yea, he saw the movie, he lived it and he saw bloodshed from his fellow soldiers and inevitable death from the bloodied sand on the beach that was to take his fellow soldiers and sink them into the abyss of the unknown soldier. He had seen many of his friends who had been shaving together a couple days before, who now had limbs missing and had their faces blown off.

It’s strange about older people and maybe its why I love them so much but a man like the Colonel probably couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast that morning but he sure could tell you what happened back on June 6.1944, that although was such a risk that caused so many lives was a triumph because of young, brave soldiers like the Colonel.

The Colonel took me by surprise that day and when I was finished with his wife he seemed very pleased. Mrs. Beard said in her so elegant accent, “Do you like it Colonel”? He just smiled at her and said that she was still "his girl". Yes the Colonel was pleased. He paid for the services and said he enjoyed our talk and more importantly how I treated his wife and that her hair looked great, he said, that he had a hard time washing it and so he asked if it would be alright if she had a standing appointment with me? I said that it would be alright and was touched and got the mental picture of a man washing his wife's hair, yes it was obvious that he would do anything for her, so it began, I did Mrs. Beard’s hair for a couple of years until she missed her appointments’ a couple of times and then never showed up again. I tried several times to reach them but was unsuccessful, I felt sad that I hadn’t seen either one of them but I thought that maybe something happened and I probably wouldn’t see either one of them again. I was right, but never forgot Mrs. Beard, and of course how could I ever forget the “Colonel“. From the Greatest Generation that ever was.

© 2010 ladyjane1

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Thank you for sharing this. Very interesting.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Sandyspider thanks for reading Its appreciated.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

ladyjane - I once heard that bartenders and hairdressers get to hear the best and most intimate stories from their customers. Guess it's true.

Thanks for the slice of life story.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

drbj you are quite welcome and you are right bartenders barbers and hairstylist I guess when we are touching someone's hair there is a closeness there that they become trusting of you. Thanks for reading as always it is appreciated. And nice to see you.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Terrific hub. I see a book in here, I really do.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

breakfastpop thanks so much you made my day. Blessings.


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Ohhhhhhh this was an awesome freaking story! I am a waitress/bartender and boy people say everything don't they? I don't care because I enjoy the stories. Often they come to people like us because we will listen...Funny, but I can bet many don't think we have learned anything from their stories..but look at that..we do! And this hub shares that sentiment!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ah Ghost Whisper nice to see you again and you are right, barbers and bartenders are like shrinks as they used to call them, only they don't get paid to listen. But like you said we do listen and our lives are enriched by their stories because everybody has one. Thanks for stopping by.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great job as usual Ladyjane. Thank you very much!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Micky Dee thank you for making my day as usual. Cheers.


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Great story. My daughter was a hairdresser. My daughter-in-law is one. It is hard to deal with all the different personalities. It can drive you crazy!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Granny's House you are so right and everyone is so diffierent. Thanks for reading. Cheers.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

That was an excellent read and the advice given to you about keeping a journal about your customers, we all love to hear and be called by our name when we get served by the people we do business with. My hat off to you for showing the kindness to your customers and respect and a listening ear. The service you get in retail establishments today doesn't come close to the service we received days gone by, when I witness poor service it certainly reflects in the tip I leave no doubt about that. You got the respect from the Colonel and his good wife. Lovely hub LJ a pleasure to read, rated Up by the Saddle and I leave you with a :0))


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

This hub gave me goosebumps. It reminded me of my father and my uncles who served in WWII. Awesome!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

saddlerider sorry or not getting back to you sooner. Thanks so much for reading this and thanks for the compliment. And you are right, good customer service is hard to get nowadays. Cheers.

Habee it makes my day that I gave you goosebumps! That day reminded me of my dad and uncle as well. Thanks for reading. Cheers.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working