Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Year Gone

"Happy Birthday To You. Happy Birthday To You." Michele, Vidal , Josef, (who elected himself as my personal nurse/bodyguard), the whole staff from the salon were singing off key. It was my birthday! We were at Ammies, celebrating my birthday. As I looked around, into each of their faces, I saw for the first time, how very lucky I was. This group of maybe the craziest bunch of men & women, were so happy to spend 'my birthday' with me & not being the least bit embarrassed that they sounded awful. I laughed so hard, it brought tears to my eyes.
"Hey, Baby," I looked up, it was my Viet Nam soldier, Richard. Damned, this was one sexy guy. Damned, this was one sick in the head guy. Damned, one night, just one night, would I go to hell, for just one night?
"Richard," I reached up my check for him to kiss, getting a very pleasant sniff of his cologne. "What are you doing here?" He was dressed really sharp, not his usual army clothing.
"Michele told me you guys will be here tonight." he glanced over to Michele & gave her a wink. A small twinge of jealousy stabbed me.
"Did she now?"
"Happy birthday, sexy. What are you drinking, let me buy you a drink."
"Ah," I looked over to Vidal, who was observing everything,"What am I drinking, Boss?"
"Mocha Vodka Martini's", he answered with that half grin of his. Beverly was in London this week, So Vidal & I were able to spend a lot of time discussing the salon & where he wants to take all of his salons. I haven't been able to work behind my chair yet, since the incident at my Mom's place, but I was well enough to do paper work, answer phones, & delegated the work load. That gave Vidal & myself a lot of time to talk business & expansion.
I glanced back at Richard, he raised his hand & made the peace sign.
"Gotcha babe", backing way from our table.
I looked over towards Michele, saw her eyes following Richard. I suspected that she liked him, but, Michele was hunting. What she was hunting for was a mystery, but it was known by all of us, that the girl was looking hard, but looking in all of the wrong places.
"What ya need guy?" Nikki was working tonight at Ammies.
"Mocha something?"
"For CeCe?"
Nikki mixed the intricate drink & a few seconds later, presented the glass to Richard.
"What do I Owe You?"
"Nothing my friend," Nikki smiled into Richards blue eyes, "CeCe's drinks tonight are on me. That girl has been though hell. Glad to see all of her friends around her. She doesn't need to know that I've got her tab, just sit it in front of her."
"I can't do that!"
"Yeah, you can, man! Just let it go. Give her the drink & baste in her thank you. That's a special lady there, she doesn't need to know that I've got her bill, Okay Brother?"
"Then, you must accept this!", Richard slid a twenty dollar bill across the bar towards Nikki. She looked into his eyes, & with a flash of glimmering teeth, nodded her head, laying her hand over the twenty.

"Hi, CeCe," I looked over my right shoulder, towards a familiar voice, & there stood Sunny.
"Sunny," my voice cracked. It had been a few months since I requested that he not patronize the salon any longer.
"What's with your arm?" I still had to use a sling.
"Oh, just an accident."
"What have you been up to?' Sunny had managed to place himself between his friends & My business prospects were getting VERY thin. 0% of nothing is still 50%

Friday, October 3, 2008

Painful Memories

I woke up feeling 'GREAT'. Spring was around the corner again! My son will be seven years old in a few weeks. My God! Seven! Where did the years fly to? Sal started first grade this past Fall. I intended to go to the first Parent-Teachers night, but my Mom never told me when it was, so I got very upset again with her. Since that really big fight we had last year, I'd decided not to push my points with her anymore. I feared Sal got the repercussions, when no one was around to see. He had gotten a lot quieter as time past, I feared for what it might be. I feared to find out. So, like a coward, I backed down & backed out, when our 'talks' got a little heated.
I was dressing to go get Sal. He needed clothes, & I wanted to find out what he wanted for his birthday, plus ask him about his birthday party.
I no longer had the key to Moms apartment. as I approached the building door, someone was leaving the building, I was able to walk in. As I approached the apartment door, I noticed that it was silent on the other side. Ignoring my thoughts, I knocked. Silence. I knocked again, "Mom," I called through the door. Silent. "Mom," I called out louder, still knocking on the door.
"Mom, Sal, It's me," It was getting very warm in the hallway. Beads of perspiration was forming on my forehead & neck. "Mom, answer the door,Please?" I knew my voice was loud, My heart was starting to beat faster. "Please God," I silently prayed, "Please make her answer this dammed door." Memories came rushing through my head. A little girl, hands cupped over her mouth so no one could hear her crying. Visions that I didn't want to remember.
"Mom," almost a whisper, "Mom, please let me in."
I didn't hear the building door open, nor did I hear my name, until I felt a hand on my shoulder.
Startled, I looked to my right. There stood Andrew, with a puzzled look on his face. I could smell Scotch on his breath.
"CeCe, why are you just standing there?"
I hated this man. The man that my Mom lived with, worshipped, beg, borrowed & stole for. This man, that I used to refer to as my 'Dad'.
"Mommies not answering. She knew I was coming." I was almost in tears, struggling to hold my composure, wanting to scream.
Andrew unlocked the apartment door, & I followed him in. There, sitting on the couch was my Mother, eyes squinting, lips held tight. On the chair in that room, sat my son, hands clasped tightly on his little lap, eyes wide, full of fear.
When Sal saw me, he attempted to get off of the chair to come to me. Mom glanced over at him, & my son stopped, slid back into the chair. I saw his little mouth quiver, afraid to cry. I ran to him, scooped him into my arms.
"It's o'kay now Sal, it's o'kay." I held him as tight as I could, his small frame pushing closer to me.
"Why didn't you answer the door, Mom?"
"I don't want you coming here every week."
She got off of the couch & walked into the kitchen where Andrew sat.
"I told you two days ago, I was coming today. I'm taking Sal shopping, & looking for his birthday party stuff. Did you send out the invites to his friends at school?"
"He is NOT having a birthday party!"
"What?" Andrew looked at her, shock written all over his face,"What are you talking about, Marie?"
"Just what I said," She raised her nose to the ceiling, "I want an end to this. I don't want you here! Do you understand me?" She screamed at me, her eyes ablaze.
With Sal still in my arms, I walked towards the door. My sons little legs were wrapped around my waste tightly, his grip on my neck getting tighter with every step that I took.
I was right at the frame of the doorway to the hall, when suddenly, there was a pinching pain in my shoulder. It took my breath away for a second. Sal was openly crying now. I heard Andrew say something. I kept walking, the stinging getting worse with every breath.
As I reached for the outside door, I saw Andrew grab me by the wrist.
"You can't go out there," he was saying. My back felt wet, but I knew that it wasn't sweat. "Come on, come on," he was pulling me back into the apartment.
As we got to the apartment door, she came towards me, hands extended. As I turned away, to protect Sal from being removed from my arm, I felt her push the knife deeper into my shoulder. A scream escaped my throat as I fell to my knees. God, I thought to myself, protect my son!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunny's New Style

Christmas came & went, 1967 was three days away. Vidal has now given me full responsibility of the salon. He had casually mentioned wanting to open another salon in Queens, over the past few months, & now he has started to look for good property seriously.
I started to give Brad more responsibilities, since my clientele was so strong, especially for my hair coloring methods.
My relationship with my 'Mom', was still strained, but for my son, we called a truce. If we don't talk to each other, then we can't fight. I was allowed to take my son on shopping trips & outings again, thankfully. We always had such fun together, but, going home, the both of us would fall silent. I prayed that I would soon be in law school, with the promise of having my son live with me.
Josef & Agness were shivering from the cold, watching me try to open the salon doors. It was so cold this morning in the city, with the wind stinging your face, making your eyes tear. The lock was frozen, & the key was getting jammed.
"Give me that", Josef said gruffly, "I'm freezing to death, & your piddling with this!"
"Good, you do it", as I stood back from the door.
"Now, now, children, play nice. Just get us in the damn store!" Agnes' face was so red from the wind & cold.
Finally, the key turned in the lock. We rushed into the warmth of the salon, Josef went to the back to turn the lights on, the music started playing in the back ground. Agnes put a pot of coffee on, as I went to the safe to get the register cash. I was entering information into the ledger, when a burst of cold air swept across my face. I looked up, & there was Sunny, with that sideways grin on his face.
"Good Morning Sunny," I tried to sound respectful, but indifferent.
I could see Josef walking briskly towards the desk.
"Hey, how are you man?" Josef placed himself cleverly between Sunny & me.
"Good, good," replied Sunny, "I just wanted to speak with CeCe a minute."
Josef looked at me, then walked over to his station, getting it set up for the day, carefully me & Sunny though the mirror.
"Is something wrong with your hair?" It looked fine to me, but I really didn't care.
"The cuts good, He said, brushing it with his fingers. " Did you open the gift?"
"Oh, yes," I got up & walked over to my station, removed the box from my drawer quickly & walked back to where Sunny was standing, holding the box out to him.
His eyes looked at the box & back to me, with a puzzled look on his face.
"What's this?"
"Sunny, I can't accept such a expensive gift!," Please God, I thought to myself, let this go smoothly.
"Yes you can!" His tone was indigent, & demanding.
"Sunny", I lite a cigarette, & took a sip of coffee that Agnes brought over to me, "The gesture is very nice, but, I can't accept a gift of that magnitude from a client. I appreciate your generosity, but, you must take it back."
"NO!", His eyes were ablaze. I almost got frightened for a moment, & was relieved to see Vidal walk thru the doors.
"Good morning everyone" Vidal yelled out, as he hurried to remove his coat in the back.
"You can't do this to me, Cece," His tone was full of anger. "I searched high & low for this to give you. Your keeping it!"
Vidal was now sitting in my station chair holding the cup of coffee that Agnes prepared for him, just watching Sunny & me.
"No, Sunny." I placed the box on the desk in front of Sunny. "I cannot accept it & I won't."
This man raised fear in me now. I was not going to be forced to do anything, by any man, that I didn't want to do anymore. I disliked feeling fear, especially, when it concerned a man. Josef & Agnes became silent. Vidal watched closely.
"Sunny," I took a deep breath & swallowed hard, "I'm sorry to upset you, but, I think that maybe you should go somewhere else for your haircuts from now on."
I hoped that I sounded strong. I hoped that Vidal would support my decision.
"Right, yes, I will go somewhere else! See you around, CeCe!" He turned, pulled the door open & left the salon, leaving the box on the desk.
"Josef. Take this out to him, please." I motioned to the box. Josef ran out the door, stopped Sunny a few doors down, retuning with the box in hand.
"Said he never takes back anything he gives or says." With a shrug of his shoulders, Josef placed the box on my station. Our clients were starting to come thru the doors. Another day, another dollar.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sparkling Style

The snow was falling like a pure white blanket. I didn't like the snow, but I loved to watch it come down from the sky, and cover the ground & trees, as if the heavens were purifying the land. It made everything look so clean, & the air had a crisp, clean fragrance.
Christmas was two weeks away. I was busier with my life than I had ever been. Brad, I recruited as my 'personal' assistant in the salon. Vidal had left for London with his family for Thanksgiving, to be returning the end of this week. Michele was in love again. Josef & Brad had a thing going on between them. Charles was flirting with anything in a skirt, as usual.
My visits to see my son were still very strained. There was no avoiding an argument with my 'Mother', & Andrew couldn't or wouldn't support my side at all. Sal seemed to be getting more quiet & withdrawn when I was with him. It disturbed me terribly, but, I didn't know what to do about it. So, I did nothing, ignoring her remarks about how terrible I was, refusing to feed into her passion to force an argument. I wasn't going to let her ruin my sons Christmas, so allowing her to rant & rave, keep some peace.
I was active in the anti-was movement now. Parents & young men called almost daily to find out about leaving this country. Mothers & fathers begging me to save their sons was heartbreaking. I felt good trying to help them, & if everyone really prayed for me, like they said they were, well then, I was a very blessed young woman.
Sunny was sitting in my chair, not saying very much as I cut his hair. His eyes almost never left my face & this disturbed me. I didn't really like this man, & I was sure that he suspected that, but, he continued to flirt with me, & always asked me out after every haircut.
"Want to go for dinner tonight?" He had a huge smile on his face as he paid me for the haircut.
"Sunny," I let out a deep sigh, "The answer is NO!" He was irritating me, & I just didn't care if he never came back to the salon.
"Well, Okay." He chuckled, "See you next month."
He turned to leave, & then stopped.
"Oh, I almost forgot." He removed a box, gift wrapped with a bow & card on it from his coat pocket. "Just a little token for being my favorite hairdresser." Handing the box to me.
"Thank you." Taking the gift from him. He finally left the salon.
Clients often gave us presents or envelopes with money for the Christmas holiday, so I didn't think anything of it.
I walked over to my station, placed it in the drawer & lite a cigarette.
"You going to open it?" Josef had that mischievous grin on his face.
"Not right now," My next client was in my chair.
"Maybe it's diamonds, CeCe!" Michele got a kick out of Sunny's determination. She thought that it was romantic.
" I doubt it very much. Don't you guys have anything to do?"
"Oh, CeCe is getting pissy" Brad chirped in, stroking his raised eyebrow with his pinky.
We all burst into laughter, even my client. It was impossible to stay annoyed about anything in this place. The guys always had something funny to say or do, whenever a stressful situation happened. I was so glad to be working with is group of people. We always rallied around each other with support & genuine care.
At the end of the day, I was packing the gifts that I received from my clients that day, when Michele picked up the box that Sunny gave me.
"You going to open it?" Michele shook the box, holding it to her ear.
"Oh, o'kay, give me the thing!"
I ripped the ribbon & the paper off, quickly opening the box. Michele & I both gasped at the contents.
"Oh my God," she exclaimed. I held my breath.
Josef jumped out of his chair, & before I knew it, everyone was standing around me. I lifted the bracelet out of the box very gently. It was the most stunning diamond bracelet I had ever seem. I couldn't believe my eyes.
"Man, you have to go out with him now, CeCe." Agnes said.
"Yes, & I know what your going to have to do for him on that date!" chimed in Brad, with that queenie, mischievous smile on his face.
I was speechless. Michele but her arm around my shoulder. "Well kid, Your going to have to do something now about this guy!"
"I'm returning it to him. And asking him not to come to the salon anymore!"
"What? Are you crazy?" Michele was floored.
"Maybe, it's not real diamonds." added Agnes
"That's right." Joseph responded taking the bracelet from my hand, holding it up to the lights. "In that case, you just thank him for it next month, & forget about it. Take it to the jeweler up the block tomorrow & let him tell you."
"Good idea. I'll do that in the morning."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Angered Client

Thanksgiving was upon us again. Richard, my favorite Vietnam vet was in my chair, going on & on about how the Government was lying to us about the war. How the administration wasn't helping the vets with medical & emotional problems. I could smell the scent of pot on his clothes & hair, & it disturbed me. I really liked Richard. But he was so angry, & I really didn't understand why.
"That's why, I'm going to that rally tonight," he was saying, "We have to educate the public about the truth!"
"Do you think your group will be able to?" I asked
"Well, we're going to give it a hell of a try, CeCe. We need to get our boys out of that country. We need more people to drive the new draftees to Canada. There's a lot of people that don't want this war to continue, just not enough strength to fight the Government on it. We have to be more active, more anti-war. That is the important step to save our boys!"
"I heard that a lot of guys are going to Canada." I was blow drying his hair now. "How are they getting there? How is that being arranged?"
"We have an 'under ground' group that receives calls from these kids, or from the parents of these boys, begging us to take their sons to Canada. The 'group' makes arrangements to pick the guys up somewhere, it's a bunch of boys in a van or station wagon & we drive them to Canada. The parents or the boys donate some money to cover gas & expenses for the group. It's strictly volunteers doing the driving there & back. I do it once a week. But we need more people to help us. These guys are from all over the country, & we can't get them out of here soon enough."
"Wow," I was removing the cape from around Richard. This is such a undertaking I was thinking to myself. "Isn't that illegal, Richard?"
"Yes, but if it's done carefully, it's doable. I've been doing it for a long time now. Even got to know some of the guys at the border stop."
Richard pulled two fifty dollar bills out of his pocket & handed them to me. When I looked down, I saw that he slipped a folded piece of paper with something written on it between the money. When I looked up, he winked at me, saluted & left the salon. I slipped the paper into my jean pocket with my tip, & went to my next client.
It wasn't until the end of the day, when I was counting my tips, that I read the piece of paper.
"CeCe," it was in Richards hand writing, " Here is the address of our meeting place tonight. I'd love for you to come & listen to what is really going on in our country.. Meeting starts at 7PM, we serve coffee & dough nuts. I'll look for you there. Bring a friend if you want. The more people the better. If you can't make it, I'll see you next month for my haircut. Your devoted client, Richard.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Short Clips Of A Year Ending

The year of 1965 was nearly to a close. It had been a year of political unrest & frustrations. North Vietnam was trying to overtake South Vietnam. The U.S. sent Military advisers & then more soldiers. Over 200,000 American troops were in South Vietnam. The war that 'wasn't going on', was now admitted to be real by the government. Anti-war protests were starting up in masses in practically all of the colleges, draft dodgers were fleeing to Canada, & the racial unrest in the country was at an all time peek. Malcolm X, was assassinated, which caused more racial conflict.
We were cleaning up after a very long, busy day at the salon. The doors were locked & Josef was telling Charles, how he could 'change his life' for the better, jokingly, if Charles would 'experiment a new lifestyle' with him. This was an ongoing joke between those two, & I personally loved the batter between them. Josef, with his, lash batting, wrist flipping, hand on the hip pose, & Charles with his 'macho', womanizing attitude, caused the most hilarious scenario, all of us enjoyed.
"Gentleman!", Vidal held up his hand to Josef & Charles, "May I interrupt this flirtatious moment, please?"
All of us turned to Vidal.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you 'love birds', but I need to speak with all of you for a minute."
The shop was suddenly still.
"Ladies back there," Vidal motioned to Agnes, Judy, Maria & Lisa, our two manicurists, "I want ALL of you to hear this!"
We all gathered around Vidal.
"Due to this war, & the racial conflict going on in this country right now, I'm asking all of you to please, do NOT, give your personal feeling and/or beliefs to your clients, should you be engaged in a conversation about these subjects. Politics & religion is off limits."
"Vidal", Michele spoke up, "Everyone is talking about that stuff!"
"Yes, I know. Listen to them, nod your head in understanding, BUT, do not express your beliefs or feeling on these topics. At best, it might cause a friendly argument, at worst it WILL cost you a customer, may cost ALL of us customers, since we can hear the different discussions going on at other stations. But, for yourselves & each other, keep the conversation neutral."
"But, Vidal," I spoke up, "I'm against this war & so are all of us. I think that the Blacks have a right to equality in this country."
"Good, CeCe, but don't express your beliefs to the clients. We have some very powerful, & rich clients that come to us. Their beliefs & power is much stronger at the moment than what we have. I'm not saying not to talk about these subjects with them, everyone is talking about it. I'm just asking all of you, not to express to the client your personal beliefs & feelings. Some of these people feel President Johnson is right for keeping the war going, some don't. Some feel that the Blacks in this country should still be slaves & some don't. These are very powerful issues. Don't allow your feeling about them ruin your career, & that is what I fear could happen to some or all of you. Being 'Black Balled' right now is not the wisest thing to do. So, guys & gals, protect yourselves & each other. With that said, Beverly is across the street, who ever wants to join us, I'm buying drinks & dinner."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Hairsylist's Nightmare

Halloween was almost upon us. I was on my way to my moms apartment to pick up Sal & take him to buy a costume. This is his first Trick or Treating & I was excited about taking him. I still had the key to her apartment, so I just let myself in. As I opened the door, I watched as my mom kicked Sal in his back. The poor boy was curled up on the floor, crying out, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry mommy."
"What the hell?" I screamed, pushing her away from him & picking him up into my arms. "What are you doing to him?"
"He disobeyed me!" her face was blood red, & spit shot from her mouth as she spoke. "He's a damn brat. He has to learn that when I say something, he MUST do it!"
My son was holding onto my neck, trembling, while his tears were dripping down my neck. I thought that I was going to be nauseous. I tightened my hold on Sal, & rocked him in my arms.
"Let me tell you something," I wanted to smack that look on her face right off. "You don't kick him. you don't hit him. You don't ever do anything to Sal like that again!"
"Who do you think your talking to?" Her voice was defiant & loud. Sal hugged my neck tighter. "That's my son. As far as everyone knows around here, he's my kid. I take care of him. I stood up nights when he was a baby, walking him, washing diapers, taking care of him."
"Mom, that has nothing to do with it. I couldn't live here anymore with you & daddy. You know why. If I would have stayed here, something awful would have happened."
"Aach," she waved her hand in the air to brush off what I just said, "That's all a lie. I don't believe anything that you said. I know none of that stuff is true. Andrew loves me. Besides, your the one that left the baby with me. That proves to everyone that you don't want him. You live in the kitchen of hell, hanging out with those people, doing God knows what everyday. Your not a mother. You don't know what sacrifice is! You've never wanted that boy. I need him! Now, put 'My' son down & leave this house."
" You know, your a bitter old woman, full of meanness & hatred. I'm taking Sal shopping for his Halloween costume." I was putting Sal down from my arms. He had stopped crying, & I was brushing his hair back from his face.
"You will do no such thing!", she pulled Sal by the arm over to her side. My son started to cry again, & I could see the fear in my little boys eyes.
"What are you doing mom?" The swiftness of her action took me by surprise. "I told you yesterday that I was taking him shopping today."
"I don't want you with him. You won't take him out or shopping any more unless I'm with you, understood?" Her face was alarming. Her eyes showed a hatred that I hadn't seen in many years, but was all too familiar with.
"Mom, I'm taking my son out today." my voice was calm, but my nerves were screaming.
"No!" she held her body straight up, shoulders back, in full defiance. "Now, get out of my home. Get out & don't degrade my home again."
I walked toward Sal & she pulled him behind her body. Her eyes were cold.
"Let me say good bye."
"You can say it from there!"
"I want to kiss him good bye mom? Let me kiss my son, please" Now I started to cry.
"I told you, he is My son. you abandoned him & that's what I'm telling the whole family. No! You cannot kiss him or anything anymore. Out, get out!
Sal was crying again, watching me cry. I wanted to strike out. I wanted to grab my baby. I wanted to scream. I turned around to the door, turned back to my son, threw him a kiss as he quietly whimpered & made a little kiss face, & pulled the door closed, knowing that I had to leave today. I had to go now! My heart was beating so fast in my chest. I was clutching my fists. I have to get back home quickly. If I stayed another minute, I'll be sorry for the rest of my life. I waved down a taxi, sat back in the seat, & let the tears come.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different Style

Hello to all my Snip In Time fans and new readers! For the past few months I have started blogging about my life as an old school stylist. I hope you have enjoyed my journey so far.
I'm switching things up a little tonight & throwing you back into the present.
Snip In Time has already reached 1 year since the opening of Vidal's first US Salon! Where have you been?? My blog has just begun, but to celebrate this milestone post I am offering a giveaway! Read my blog and leave a comment on the post titled Vidal's Salon Turns One! In the comment either tell me your favorite post, your thoughts about my blog in general, or click through to my scent-sational candle link and comment on your favorite scent or product.The giveaway will be a 16 oz. Jar Candle. I will contact the winner with a choice of scents. Winner will be chosen on September 20th.
I want to open this blog up a bit as well. I will continue to tell you my story, but I want to hear yours as well. I am looking for people in the industry to guest blog and I will also be offering the occasional giveaway. Be sure to vist often or subscribe to my feed for updates.
Good Luck!
CeCe - Snip In Time

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Returning Client

Sunny strolled over to my chair, as if he had nothing else in the world to do. I on the other hand wanted to get finished with him as quickly as possible.
"How is everything going,CeCe?"
"Fine, thank you, & you?" I draped the cape around his neck as quickly as possible, picked up my shears & comb, starting to section his hair off. We chatted about general stuff, how fast the summer went by, where he went on vacation. I told him about my trip to Italy, & how beautiful it was. The holidays coming upon us. Thankfully, the cut was dried & finished before I knew it.
"Same price?" he asked, handing me a hundred dollar bill at the desk.
"Keep the change,CeCe." Smiling, "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure." Why doesn't he leave?
"Can I take you out sometime?" His eyes were serious & for the first time I noticed just how dark brown they were.
"Thank you Sunny." I smiled at him, hoping that I looked sincere, "But I have a firm rule against dating clients."
"Oh?" His voiced lifted with surprise. "Why is that? You must get asked out all of the time!"
"Well, you see," I responded with a little blush,"When you date your clients, then they expect free haircuts while your seeing them. So that's a lose of income for both me & the salon. Then when you stop seeing them, they stop coming to you for their haircuts, & that's another lose of income for me & the salon."
"Oh," Sunny responded frowning. "Your more interested in the money & work then."
"I guess you can say that." I surprised myself that I told this man my true reasons for not dating clients. Maybe, it would turn him off & he would stop coming to the salon, I thought to myself. Michele & Josef were glancing over at me, so I knew they heard what I had just said.
Sunny shook his head slightly, smiling at me. "Well, I expect that your going to be a very wealthy woman some day."
"I'm already wealthy," I was being snippy now, but he was getting on my nerves.
"Good, good." He started walking towards the door, stopped & turned to me. "But one day, you will go out with me!"
He turned & left the salon. I stood there another moment, watching him hail a taxi. The nerve! I couldn't wait to clean up & go across the street for a drink. What an unusual day!
Beverly showed up with the clean-up crew. All of us were exhausted from all of the activity from the day.
"I'm going across the street for a martini." I announced to everyone.
"Me too." said Josef.
"Me three", chirped Agnes.
"Us five," shouted Vidal, as everyone burst into laughter.
Vidal held the door open as all of us strolled into the bar.
"Hey, Sasoon Gang!" George greeted us, "Usual for everybody?"
When I got home that night, feeling more than a little tipsy, I thought about Sunnys' statement to me. Yes, I was 'almost' wealthy, yes my career & money was a huge part of my life. I'll be twenty one this coming Spring, & I'm making more money than I ever thought of making. I make about four hundred dollars a day in tips alone. I'm paying my mothers rent & living expenses, I make sure that my son wants for nothing. I'm happy where I'm at! My next goal is to go to law school & have my son live with me. As I crawled into bed, I smiled. Yes! My son living with me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vidal's Salon Turns One!

Fall has arrived! Today was the first anniversary of the salon opening, & Vidal was having food catered in. We set up tables to display all of the goodies. Magazine reporters & camera men were coming in & out. Josef was putting on his best performance, with his little flipping of his wrist, but for some reason Brad was not happy about all of the fuss.
"What's wrong with Brad?" I whispered into Charles ear.
"Not sure. Ask Aaron."
My next client walked in, so I went over to her & gave her a hug. "How are you, Eileen?"
" Great, CeCe!" She walked over to the client changing lounge. I lite a cigarette & waited for her to come out.
"What's all of this?" Eileen asked, motioning to all of the activity.
" Our first anniversary. What are we doing today?" as I started to brush her hair.
Eileen has been a client of mine since Brooklyn. We've become really good friends & over time have shared a great deal of our personal lives with each other. Eileen was a real pretty girl, but didn't see herself that way. I hated that for her, so I worked extra hard on her hair styles & advised her often on make-up & clothes.
" I'm thinking of a perm," she said with a smile,"What can you do for me, CeCe?"
"That's great. I know exactly what I want to do. It's a dramatic change. Are you up for it?"
"Yes,yes! I need change in my life right now. My love life has hit an all time low. The only one that I'm sleeping with is my cat."
We laughed out loud together. We were both in the same boat. I motioned her over to Agnes.
Camera men & reporters were interviewing everyone that they could. Cameras flashed all afternoon, music playing all of the current hits, clients getting a little tipsy, enjoying the catering, everyone was in a party mood. Michele was sneaking a drink in the back. Brad was still quiet, but did allow some photographers to take his pictures while he worked on his clients.
Three hours later I finished Eileen's hair. She looked beautiful. I kept it long in the back with large round ringlets falling around her face. She had beautiful blue eyes that sparkled, & the ringlets fell right at her temples to accent her eyes. I also added a few highlights around the frame of her face, so it seemed to glow.
"Can I take your picture, Miss?" One of the photographers asked Eileen
"Ah, yes, o'kay," she looked up to me & I smiled, nodding my head. "CeCe, you have to be in it also. You created this masterpiece."
"Yes, of course," He said,"My name is Sam." as he stretched his hand out to shake Eileen's.
Sam took about two dozen shots of Eileen. I was in about six of them, but he had her posing all over the salon. He was making her laugh, & she was as giddy as a school girl, with all of the attention he was giving her. I later saw her give him her phone number. I was thrilled. Sam was a nice looking guy, seemed to be taken by her, or at least flirtatious.
The day went by quickly, with the reporters, camera men, & clients going in & out. It was about an hour before closing time. I was in the employees lounge eating my dinner & having a drink.
"CeCe," Judy leaned against the doorway, "Your next client is here."
"Thanks Judy. Just tell them to change & have a seat. I'll be out in five minutes."
"O'kay." She went out to the salon area.
As I walk out to the clients waiting area, my heart dropped. It was 'him'! 'Oh my God' I said to myself.
"Hi Sunny," shaking his hand, "Are we doing the same cut?"
"I love it CeCe," holding my hand too long, "Can you do it again?"
"Sure can! Go tell Judy to shampoo you, & I'll see you at my station."
Joseef winked at me through the mirror, while Michele gave me an encouraging smile. The end of a very hard day, & this is what I have to deal with.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunny's First Appointment

Friday nights were always crazy at the salon. Clients coming in late because of traffic or getting stuck a little later at their office, always ran our bookings late.
Agnes was great with keeping the clients shampooed & processed, plus she trained Judy really well. Agnes also knew which clients tipped better than others & made sure those were the ones she shampooed.
I turned to call over my next client to my chair, & looked into the eyes of the man from Ammies.
"Have a seat here please." I tried not to show that I recognized him. "My name is CeCe, what is yours?" as I reached my hand out to shack his.
"Hi CeCe," he took my hand in both of his, "I'm Sunny."
I quickly removed my hand from his hold. "Well, what do you want to do with your hair?"
Sunny looked into the mirror & ran his fingers through his hair quickly. "I think just a shaping would be fine, but, on the other hand, I might like something a little different."
"That's a dangerous thing to say to her," Michele commented.
"Well, I think I'll leave it up to CeCe."
As I brushed his hair & made suggestions, Sunny nodded, asking about up-keep, etc., staring none stop at me through the mirror.Finally, I sent him over to Judy for a shampoo.
"Isn't that the guy from the bar?"
"Yes!", I answered.
"He's so cute." remarked Josef.
"Well I don't like him. He gives me the creeps! I don't like him coming to this shop."
"Well, honey," Josef brushed his eye brow, " If he could afford a sixty five dollar hair cut, then be cool. Or ah, you can pass him on to me." There was the flirty queen again. The three of us laughed.
As I cut Sunnys' hair, we chatted about the war, civil rights. He told me that he was a printer for a major company downtown, single, but divorced with a son, that lived with his mom in another state. I got the feeling he was trying to impress me, which wasn't working. I didn't know why I didn't like him, but my stomach was in a knot until he was out of my chair.
I motioned to my next client to give me a minute, as I plopped myself into my chair, lighting a cigarette.
"What do I owe you, CeCe?" as he was approaching my chair.
"It's sixty five dollars, Sunny."
He handed me a hundred dollar bill. "Keep the change."
"Thank You!" as I walked over to the desk, where the register is.
"Do you remember me?" Sunny asked.
"No" I lied, "Have I done your hair before?" I hoped that my voice sounded normal.
"We met at the club downtown about a month ago. I sent you white roses two days later. Did you get them?" His eyes were smiling, but his face wasn't.
"The roses," I responded, "They were from you?" pretending to be surprised. "They were beautiful."
"Good, I'm glad."
There was an awkward pause. I motioned for my client to come to my chair.
"Well, I hope you enjoy your haircut, Sunny." I started to drape the client in my chair.
"I'll see you again soon, CeCe" he said as he left the salon.

A War Without Style

Viet Nam was still in the news daily. Government was telling us that there wasn't a war happening, but we were hearing stories of our men coming home physically & emotionally messed up. One of my new clients, Richard, had just finished his tour over there, & the stories he told were really sad. In fact, Richard lost his right leg from a bomb that killed two of his buddies. He told us how easily the troops were given drugs to stop pain &/or just to go thru the functions of fighting. The troops had pot, cocain, heroin, just about anything to keep them going. I knew that Richard was doing drugs, especially since he always smelled of pot.
"We need more people to protest this war," Richard was more stoned than I had ever seen him.
"How will that help?" I asked as I continued to cut his hair.
The President is lying to us. The V.A. is acting like they have nothing to do with us. We were drafted damed it, & forced to go to Viet Nam & now, the injured, handicapped, & seriously sick can't get medical benifits that is due to us."
The anger & fear that was in Richards voice was heart breaking. I was blow drying his hair when I saw a tear roll down his cheek.
"Maybe, I should go over there." Josef worked in the station next to mine, & over heard Richard.
"And what will you do for the troops?" piped in Aaron, flipping his hair back with his wrist.
"Oh, I could help them fight", Josef placed his hand on his hip, & flipped his other had in the air.
All of us started laughing. We could just imagine Josef with a rifle or gun, swishing as he walked through the fields.
"And what will you wear, Josef?" asked Vidal
"Oh, yes, those uniforms are sooo tacky," he picked up a hair brush & started to fix his hair. I'll just simply have to come up with something!", he sighed.
"I know exactly what you'll come up with," I added. Again the whole group laughed.
"CeCe!" Josef gasped at me, " How can you think such a thing?"
Richard was laughing really hardy now. I was glad that Josef had a way of turning almost everything into a 'drag show'.
"CeCe, you little slut", responed Josef, laughing himself, "Why I could simply entertain them. Are there any'Gay Viet Namies?"
"If not," asnwered Brad, "I'm sure your willing to change that, heh, Josef?"
"Whell!" Josef but on his best 'queen' pose & face, "I'm not THAT easy!"
"Yes, you are!" Brad & Josef went to the clubs a lot together. Brad knew how flirty Josef was.
"Hush up now Brad. I could tell some stories about youhoo."
Richard was placing a $100.00 bill in my hand as he waved good-bye to us, still laughing. I was grateful to Josef for making Richard laugh.
I made a mental note to watch the news more carefully tonight.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

An Unscheduled Appointment

When I walked into the salon Tuesday, there was a large vase with beautiful white roses sitting on my station.

"What's this?", I asked, not waiting for a response. My first client was already in my chair. "Go get shampooed Leah," I told her, as I pulled my jacket off & went into the employees lounge, dropped the jacket on a chair & made myself a cup of coffee.

"Is someone in love?" asked Charles

"Who are they from? They were delivered yesterday." Brad informed me, as he blew dry his clients hair, tousling it with his fingers, for that full volume, slightly tossed look. It was the perfect cut for his young client.

"Don't have the foggiest." I lite a cigarette, pulling the card from the arrangement.It read: "Pure beauty for a pure beauty! Can I buy you a drink now?"

I let out a gasp. Josef walked away from his client & came to my side. Everyone was watching my reaction.

"What is it CeCe?" Josef pulled the card from my fingers, reading it out loud. "Who is this?"

"That's the guy at Ammies, Saturday night. He asked to by me a drink & I declined, told Nikki to put it on my tab."

"You got yourself a secret admirer. lucky girl!" Michele chirped in.

"I don't want an admirer! I don't want someone sending me anything. Heck, now he knows where I work!"

I was really upset about this. I hoped that this person would not pursue me, but my gut feeling was saying this was just the beginning. I removed the roses from my station & sat them on the receptionists desk.

The day ended quickly. I never gave the flowers another thought all day. Michele asked for a rose as we were leaving for the day.

"Take the whole thing. I don't want them."

With that, Josef, Agnes, & Brad each took a rose & Michele went home with the rest.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coloring the Night

Ammies was wall to wall people when we arrived. The music bounced off the walls & the floors were throbbing to the beat of bodies bouncing to the music. The DJ was playing the Rolling Stones hit 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction', Michele & I looked at each other & started laughing as we walked towards the bar.

"What'll be, ladies?" Asked the barmaid as she checked Michele & me out.

"Rum & Coke," answered Michele

"Vodka Martini, two olives please," I requested

"Still doing those martinis' girl?" The voice came from behind me. I turned quickly to see Vidal standing there with his arm around his wife's shoulder.

I glanced at him & then hugged Beverly. She was a stunning woman, beautiful blue eyes, & a smile that glowed.

"Bev, when did you arrive? Vidal, why didn't you tell us Beverly was here?" I really liked Beverly. She was a good match with Vidal. She was calm & laid back, while being very aware of business. Vidal was very busy & rushing to finish five things at one time, needing roller skates, constantly thinking & doing.

"She surprised me with a call from the airport. I had no idea she was coming. I hope you guys don't mine us crashing your outing?" Vidal's eyes glowed. We all knew that the sun rose & sets on Beverly as far as Vidal was concerned. Josef & Aaron were hugging Beverly now & talking in her ear. The music drowned out most of what anyone said, unless you spoke into their ears. Vidal guided Beverly onto the dance floor as the four of us watched.

I took a sip of my drink, as I glanced around the bar. There were several people that I knew, & I waved to them or blew kisses.

"May I have this dance, CeCe?" Josef asked as he held out his hand with a flip of his wrist. So handsome & so queenie! I loved him, even though he was so bad.

"Thought you'd never ask!"

The song was, 'Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me' by Mel Carter. Josef is an excellent dancer, as he guided me around the floor, spinning, dipping, twirling around. It ended much too quickly for me.

"Excuse me please." There was a man standing in front of my drink when I returned to the group.

"I'm sorry." He responded, as he turned towards me to make room. "I'm hoping to get a drink tonight." He was slightly taller than me, with dark brown/almost black hair, brown eyes, five o'clock shadow, with a crooked smile. Not a noticeable man, but not bad looking. He reminded me of the guys in Brooklyn. Didn't really care if they were messy looking, but manly looking.

I only nodded my head, as I reached for my drink & turned to Aaron, who was doing one of his customer impersonations. Aaron had a way of making fun of the clients without really putting them down. He kept us laughing for a long time.

As I turned to put my now empty glass on the bar, I notice that this man was listening in on Aaron's show & laughing along with us.

"Very funny! Who is he talking about?" he asked.

"Yes, he is," I was still laughing, "He's talking about our clients." I waved at the barmaid.

"Clients? What do you do?"

"We are Stylist. We work with Vidal Sassoon. That's Vidal there with his wife."

The barmaid was shaking my martini & watching me & this man closely. As she poured the drink in a fresh glass, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a twenty dollar bill & held it out to her.

"CeCe?" Nikki eyes motioned over to his hand.

"Can I buy you a drink?" he asked, "My name is Sunny, I'm not married, I have a job, my sign is Pisces, I just would like to buy a beautiful woman her drink." There was that crooked smile again.

"Thank you, but, no thank you."

"Please put that on my tab, Nikki." I asked.

"Okay CeCe," and Nikki walked over to the tab book.

"Michele, lets dance," I turned to Michele. I wanted to remove myself from this area.

Michele & I danced for at least an hour. The music was so electrifying, dancing to the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Del Shannon. We were out of breath, sweaty, & thirsty when we returned to the bar. I was relieved to see that the man was not still standing near our group.

All of us finally left for our homes at three in the morning. Michele & I shared a cab, since we lived only a few blocks from each other.

I crawled into my bed, turned out the light, remembering the evening as I fell off to sleep.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shearing Into Isolation

All of us were doing really well at the salon. People were calling from all over to get their haircuts, colors etc. by a Vidal Sassoon stylist. We have become the 'Best of the Best', in the beauty industry, & all of us became famous in our own right. I loved to color hair. The challenge of combining two or three colors to emphasize the shape & movement in the haircut was exciting to me. We believed that your hair was your crowning glory, so every cut should shine. And shine they did!

I, though, was very unhappy. Mom was making it more & more difficult to see Sal. She even suggested that I mail her the checks every week, because she was too busy for me to waste her time to get Sal. We argued every time I went to the house. It was always that Sal was sick, had a cold, they were going out, I took him out too late. Something was always preventing me from seeing my son.

Plus I had almost no personal life. I had stopped dating since the last man told me he was married, after seeing him for three months.

"What are you doing tonight?" Josef asked as he was cleaning up his station.

"Nothing," I smiled over at him. "I'll just do some laundry, I guess. Watch some television."

"Come out with me, Aaron, & Michele."

"Yes, CeCe," Michele added, "It'll be good, & if your with us, Aaron & Josef can't call me a 'fag-hag'."

"Well," Aaron waved his hand in the air, placing one hand on his hip,"Aren't you, girl?"

Michele had started hanging out with Josef & Aaron a lot, since she broke up with her boyfriend. She was tired of being used & then dumped on, she told us one day. I agreed with her. It seemed the 'sexual revolution' opened the door for every married man to go on the prowl!

All of us laughed together at Aaron's swishing. He was such a 'queen', & he fit into the mixture so well, we all loved him.

"Oh, I don't know," I was very tired from the days business, but I knew that I would have a great time with them. "Where are you going tonight?"

"To Ammies." Josef chirped in, "Where else is there a place with sooo many gorgeous guys?"

Ammies was a gay club in downtown Manhattan. It was an old warehouse remodeled inside, beautiful lights & beautiful people. On Saturday nights, the club was open to gays & straights. The music was terrific, & they usually had a live drag show. Aaron's boyfriend worked one of the six bars, so a lot of our drinks were free.

"Your coming tonight," Michele ordered, "I will pick you up at 10 o'clock & that's final!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cuts That Hurt

It was Spring again! I always loved the Spring Season, & this was my first Spring in Manhattan. It was different here for some reason. Everyone had a bounce to their step. Central Park was beautiful, with the full trees & blooming bushes , tulips, & roses, lilies & irises. The air in Central Park was fresh & fragrant. Young lovers strolling hand & hand, or lying on a blanket under a tree, basking in the warm sun with a soft cool breeze gently kissing their hair. Squirrels were dancing up & down the trees & thick green grass, while thousands of birds flew over head, singing their mating songs.
I strolled over to the huge pond in the center of the park. It was full of children & parents racing remote control boats. It was fun to watch as everyone maneuvered their boats around each other & raced for the finish line. There weren't prizes to be won, just the gratification of sailing that boat. I watched them as the parents did high fives with their children. I sat at the edge of the pond, watching the excitement, feeling very unconnected with my surroundings. My mom & I had a huge fight over Sal this morning. I left in a huff, wanting to strangle her. Nothing I ever do is right to her. Today it was that I'm wearing too much make-up, my hair is too short, & "What are those blond streaks? Your skirt is up to your panties! You always look like a whore, just like your real Mother!"
So, like the idiot I am, I argued back. It got pretty loud & intense for awhile. I've always hated her, but today I REALLY hated her. But more than that, I hated myself. She knew that every Sunday & Monday, I would take Sal out, & we would do things together. I had planed to bring him to Central Park today, & let him play with one of these boats. You rented them by the hour, & I loved the excitement when his boat would speed to the other end of the pond.
But today she had to start a fight! I me with my short temper argued right back, until she told me to get out of her house. She wouldn't even let me take Sal for a few hours. So I stormed out of there as quickly as I could, with tears rolling down my cheeks, cursing her with every step of the way. Walking towards the train station, I realized that I forgot to kiss Sal good-bye. My heart broke. He had started to cry as our voices started to pitch, & the words got angrier at each other. I prayed that she didn't take her anger out on my son when no one was present.
Well, here I am, alone at Central Park. Regretting my temper & frustration with that woman. Regretting not being able to be with my baby boy. I adored him! Sal, for only four years old, was sweet & gentle. Smart & so handsome. He is the one good thing I've done so far in my life. But hey, I'm only twenty!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quick Cuts: on the run & lonely

My world was in constant high gear! I was always booked solid with clients, (a good thing for money), dealing with the stylist, and now with two more gay stylists, it seemed to be PMS on a daily basis. Agnes adjusted well to having an assistant, teaching Judy our procedures. Charles, Michele, Micheal, the new 'straight' stylist,clicked together immediately. Josef, Aaron, & Brad, enjoyed snickering, calling each other 'girly' names & generally putting on a 'drag' show for everyone. I wasn't quite sure when their catty remarks to each other weren't meant to be funny, but, they always had us laughing. Plus the clients loved when Josef would be sarcastic to Michele. It was a good group & our days went by quickly.
I'm now taking Mondays off & it was great! After working six days a week for three years, to be able to have Sunday & Monday off, was like playing hooky from school! Plus, it gave me enough time to see my son. He was growing so rapidly & getting so smart. He is the joy of my life! I loved playing with him & taking him out to the park.It seemed like I had to buy him new clothes every month, he was growing so fast. I was happy that he got my black curly hair & his dads green eyes. Everyone said that he looked like me, which filled my heart with pride, but with his dads long black eye lashes & green piercing eyes, I could see a great deal of his father. That was fine with me. His father was a good looking man, even though he is a turd! I would make sure 'my' son would be a strong, dependable man! In the mean time, I wanted for him to stay a little boy for as long as possible.
I didn't have much of a social life. Michele & I got together some wee=ends. She stopped seeing the married man right after the New Year. I was between boyfriends. The ones that were good looking were married or gay! A few of my clients have asked me to dinner, but I have a strict rule of not dating clients. Michele had dated a few in the past, and found out that when she stopped dating them, she also lost a client. She finally had to agree with me that being flirty got a steady flow of big tips.
I was still saving money for school. I lived entirely on my tips & was banking my entire check. It was adding up nicely. I estimated I'll be able to go to Law School in two to three years. It felt so far away yet. I was thankful that I was working for Vidal. He paid me very well, I lived in a nice apartment. Josef helped me paint & purchase furniture.
I was 'growing-up'! I was independent, pretty, financially comfortable & intelligent! I was also extremely Lonely!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

An Insecure Shampoo Girl

The next few months were madness. I must have interviewed dozens of stylist, all eager to work for 'The Vidal Sassoon'. Plus Vidal took me with him dozens of times to the chemist, discussing & working on the hair care products. He wanted a full line, from shampoo to hair spray, & he knew exactly how each type needed to perform on every different hair type & texture. As tiring as this trips were, I marveled at Vidal's knowledge & commitment to create a product that was beneficial to our clientele.
Finally, Vidal & I agreed one three stylists to join our team, & the Vidal Sassoon Products had arrived!
"Well, we did it, CeCe", He had a smile that lite up a room.
"Yes, you did. Thank heavens that problems solved."
"We did it, I said," he came back with, "I couldn't have done all of this alone. You made it all easier on me. That's why I pay you the big bucks!"
We looked at each other & burst out laughing together.
Vidal was a man of integrity, honesty, with a huge amount of fairness and compassion for everyone that he comes in contact with. He showed only the highest respect for his stylists, and complimented freely when a job was well done. He also gave criticism when needed, but always out of ear shot of anyone else being present. Working for this man was hard work, but he was highly admired by all of us.
It was a Sunday that Vidal & I were in the salon. We were setting up the display shelves for the products, & checking the inventory, pricing, filling the shampoo area. Again Agnes didn't wash the coffee pot before she left Saturday.I got upset again & Vidal laughed at me.
"Why does she do this?" I held up the pot to show him
"Have you thought that maybe it's her way of ensuring that she has a job the next day?" He sat in one of the couches & crossed his legs.
"Insuring?" Does he have a glass of wine over there? "I've told her dozens of times to make sure everything is clean before she leaves!"
"Yes, yes, CeCe," He was chuckling now. I was getting upset! "You tell her at least once a week that she didn't clean something, but, she always leaves one very simple thing for the next day."
"So, you think it's a job security thing to her?"
"Might be, does she know that you've hired another shampoo person?" He was really getting a charge out of this.
"Well, yes, of course!" I was beginning to see his thought process of Agnes.
Vidal gave me a wink, got up from the couch, quietly laughing to himself. I made a mental note to tell Agnes tomorrow that she would be the head shampoo person, that it was her position to dedicate work to the new girl & train her how we process the clients for each stylist. If Vidal was right, Agnes might feel threatened. Oh My God, an insecure shampoo girl, & three new stylists, new products to sell, And it's not even Monday yet!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Salon Talk & Product Line

Vidal & I were the last to leave the Salon. Josef left early, due to a terrible cold, Michele didn't come in, because the snow was too deep, and Charles left after his last client. The snow was falling so thick, we barely were able to see the cars & buses driving past.
"Going home, CeCe?"
"Want to stop for a drink first with me?" It was more of a command.
"Not really, Vidal. I'm going to have to walk home in this snow. That's going to be rough."
"Yes, I know." His voice was lower than usual.
"Why?" Vidal looked concerned, "Is something wrong?"
"I would like your opinion on something, but I need your input, since you will have the biggest challenge. I thought that we can go down to the saloon, & discuss it over a drink."
"Okay, sure. Let me finish cleaning up. Agnes forgot to wash the coffee pot again. I need to speak with her in the morning!"
Agnes was our new shampoo girl. She was great with the clients, very good with the timing of color washes, perm processing, & getting our clients ready for us, but, not very good at quiting time with the clean up. She always left something to be 'done in the morning', & I didn't approve of that. I expected everything to be clean & ready to go the next day.
It seemed to take us forever, just to cross the street to the bar that we all hung out in sometimes after work. It was a nice place. Not fancy like a lot of the bars. They served burgers, chili, Tex-mex sort of menu. But everyone knew us & it was a comfortable, friendly place to drop into.
George, the bartender, waved to us as we walked in.
"Usual guys?" Vidal had turned me on to Vodka martinis. He enjoyed them also.
"Yes, thanks." Vidal answered, as we walked to a table.
The place was unusually quite. They had a Presley tape playing in the back ground & the television was on, with no sound. Didn't need to hear what the news caster was saying. They were showing our men in Viet Nam.
George motioned to Vidal that our drinks were ready, so Vidal excused himself to go get them.
I lite a cigarette, as my martini was placed in front of me & Vidal sat across from me.
"CeCe, I've seen a tremendous increase in bookings over the past few months."
"Yes, I know," I responded with a big smile. Business has been terrific, & all of us are getting booked up one & two weeks in advance. Between my salary, commissions & tips, I was making about $1000.00 a week. Big difference from just one year ago.
"Well, this is my thought, but you tell me if it's going to be too difficult for you."
I took another sip of my drink as I snubbed out my cigarette.
"I want to hire two or three more stylist. We have enough stations. That would mean hiring another shampoo girl of course. I don't think Agnes can handle seven or eight stylist alone. Do you?"
I nodded my head in agreement.
"The other thing that I've been contemplating with is products."
"Products?" My voice rose up a little higher than I intended. Most salons were beginning to retail hair products now. I didn't care for the idea because it was a pain to inventory & market. Just too much paper work.
"Let me explain my idea." I loved the way he always held his hand up when he was going to push his idea." I've been speaking with a company that currently is making shampoos etc. They are agreeable to my having a say as to the ingredients that will go into the products. With that sort of input, I can design shampoos, conditioners, gels & sprays, that are custom formulated. Every customer will have a product formulated to their particular hair type."
I had to admit, it was a excellent idea!
" Vidal, that's brilliant!"
"I'd hoped you'd say that."
Three hours later, we had a game plan. Over burgers, onion rings, & three more martinis each, we both were please with the course of action. My only silent hesitation was, when will I get time to start law school?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wash out the old & Ringing In A New Year

It was New Years Eve. 1965 was twenty four hours away. The salon was incredibly busy, music playing in the background, constant chatter between stylists & clients & staff. Vidal arranged for a caterer to set up a table in the salon, filled with all kinds of meats, seafood, breads & rolls, salads, sodas & juices for the staff & all of the clients.
After work, I went home to my new apartment in Manhattan, showered & took a nap. I had plans to meet up with Charles, Darlene (his girl), & Michele & her newest boyfriend, for dinner.
I purchased a beautiful red evening gown to wear that night, & I was eager to have a good time. We had reservations for 10pm, which gave me at least two hours rest.
Dinner was excellent as always. And as always we drank too much wine. Laughter was a constant & steady flow off conversation, mostly about how & who of our clients that day, got on our nerves. Anytime you get a bunch of hairdressers together, the gossip about their clients, makes rapid discussion & lots of laughter. We don't really see ourselves the way others see us, & a hairdressers eye is possibly the most critical. And a hairdressers revenge is to shred you to pieces the first opportunity they get, after the client is gone.
At 11:45, the maitradie & waiters passed hats & noise makers around to all of the tables. A large television was set up over the bar area, with Dick Clark talking & the cameras scanning down on all of the people at Times Square, waiting for the ball to descend. There it was! 1965!
All of us kissed & hugged, wishing each other great things for the New Year.
"What is your New Years Resolution, CeCe?", asked Michele
"Oh, I don't know." I answered, "What's yours?"
Michele leaned close to my ear & whispered, "To find a man that doesn't lie to you." We both laughed together. That wasn't likely to happen for either of us. Michele had just found out that her boyfriend was married with two kids. I broke up with a man that I had been dating, when his wife came to my apartment in October. Michele & I had many tearful nights, crying & getting drunk over these guys that took us to bed & then went home to their wives.
"You know, Michele, That's my resolution also!" We both clicked our glasses & hugged each other again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Changes: Styles, Seasons & A Nation

Business was going strong. Vidal was not only a master of hairdressing, but he had the ability to promote himself. His vision was incredible, designing styles for men & women that not only was simple for them to maintain, but flattering to their face & lifestyle. The months just speed by. I was working harder than I had ever imagined, but I loved it.

It was now November. Conversations of Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas shopping were on every ones lips. The biggest topic though that year was John F. Kennedy. The first anniversary of his assassination was approaching. Once again, the nation felt the deep pain of his passing. The news papers were full of stories of the Kennedy's, John Jr., Caroline & of course Jackie. Johnson was in office & not a lot of people liked him, not even most Democrats.

Charles & I became very close friends. His girlfriend worked as a teller in one of the near by banks, & she was determined to match me up with one of her wealthy customers or a banker. The three of us often went out together, & it seemed that we always 'bumped' into a friend of hers. Charles & I would laugh about it at work. Vidal would ask if I'm in love yet. Josef would tell me about this 'fabulous' woman he's 'just dying Darling', for me to meet. Michele would roll her eyes, & assure me that I was the luckiest one, since I was the only one in the salon that wasn't involved with anyone. "I am so sick of men!", was her standard quote. With Josef coming back with, " Well, dear girl," flipping his right hand as he placed his left hand on his hip," Maybe you should stay on your feet long enough to learn their names first!"

We would burst into laughter. Michele included. She knew it was all in good fun amongst friends. It was the 'New Freedom Movement'. We were all discovering the new ideals. The nation & the world was changing at a frantic rate. The Beatles had 'arrived'. The 'Sexual Revolution' & the new found 'Women's Orgasm'.

Kennedy was dead, but the country was on it's way to living a new way.

And there I was, working with the most sought after stylist in the country, meeting the rich & famous daily, learning about a new life & ways of living. I was on the road to unknown changes. It both excited me & frightened me!

"Here I come world, & Please Lord help me!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Salon Opens for Business!

We Were Open! The salon was huge! Ten stations, five shampoo sinks, four manicurists stations, three client changing rooms, plus a beautiful client waiting area, with two couches, four living room chairs, glass top coffee table & chandeliers. Mirrors, glass & deep mahogany wood accented the green walls. 'Vidal Sassoon's Unisex Hairstylists', beautifully painted on the huge windows. We were open at last.

Vidal hired three additional stylists. I was honored that he included me in the selection & discussions of their qualifications. The three that were chosen were very talented & eager to learn more. Josef was Vidal's first choice. He was besides talented, very handsome & obviously gay. Josef made us laugh all of the time, finding something funny about almost everything. I loved being in his company.

Michele was beautiful, & she knew it. Men just gravitated to her. She also had the ability to laugh at herself, which also kept laughter flowing.

Charles was a little more serious than the rest of us. He reminded me of Steve McQueen, & I would find myself starring at him while he worked. That tough, rugged sex appeal. And his female clients just threw themselves at him. Of course he was a huge flirt, so every woman in his chair felt special.

Opening day was crazy. News & magazine reporters were interviewing all of us. Photographers snapping pictures constantly. The excitement was intense.

Anne Marie wasn't at the opening. A month prior to the Grand Opening, Vidal, Anne Marie & I were having dinner, when Vidal told me that he wanted for me to work at his salon.

"CeCe," he said placing his wine glass down, "I very much would love for you to work with me at my salon."

It wasn't a question, it was a statement!

"Vidal," My mind went blank. I'd thought of the possibility, & here it sits on my lap! In the past few months I had learned so much from this man, could only imagine what more I could achieve.

"Now first, of course I will give you a raise, but, you will have additional duties to carry out for that increase. I want for you to be sort of my manager, take the daily responsibilities from my shoulders. Deal with the clientele & the hairdressers, inventory, bookings, etc."

Anne Marie looked from Vidal to me & back to Vidal. She poured herself a glass of wine & said nothing.

"I don't want an answer now. Sleep on it & let me know in the morning."

Our waiter brought over our meals. Conversation changed to politics, the war, & so on.

Dinner seemed to drag on, or was I just anxious to go home tonight?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No More Blue Hair!

The following weeks have been exhausting! I'm working all day at the shop, eat dinner with Vidal & Anne Marie, discussing cuts & styling ideas, & back to the shop to to design haircuts on both men & women. Vidal recruited students from the local hairdressing schools, ran ads in the local paper for models, & Anne Marie placed a sign in the shop window for more models.

Vidal hired a photographer for the 'before' & 'after shots, plus we recorded all of the procedures that went into the transformation. It was very exciting & people on the street suddenly knew my name. I felt like a star! Plus I was making more money than I could imagine. My clientele has almost doubled, plus Vidal was paying me $300.00 a week.

Vidal left for London. We stopped the classes for two weeks, which I was glad for. The break gave me the opportunity to see my son, & give my mom money for taking care of him. I took a few days off to go to the beach, relax in the sun, rest my tired bones. I hadn't gone out with the girls in weeks, so we got together & partied. Vidal & I worked as late as 11pm, six nights a week. I needed this time off.

Summer was going by quickly. My days & nights were one constant stream of haircuts, blow drys, & coloring. Almost all of the cuts had our technique of dimensional color tones. Silver & Blue hair was on it's way out. Natural hair, clean wind blown hair was making a debut. There were still wash & sets, but women under forty, especially the wives that were returning to work, returning to college, wanted, needed, & asked for a simpler, softer way of managing their hair. That's what Vidal was doing for them. That's what I was doing with him. It was an exciting time in the world. Women making a stand. Making changes in the family structure. Women's Liberation was growing strong. I was part of this 'New Era of Women's Rights'!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dinner at the 'Resturant in the Sky.'

We arrived at the 'Restaurant in the Sky', shortly before 9pm. Vidal escorted us into the restaurant with an air of pride & control. The maitradie greeted Vidal warmly as they shook hands & I glimpsed at money passing between them.

"Your table will be ready in just a moment, sir," he said to Vidal.

"Thank you, Simon," Vidal answered, "Why don't we go over to the lounge until they come for us?" As he guided us over to a small table."We can have a cocktail before dinner."

The dinner was magnificent, beautifully served. The decor was elegant. I had never been in a restaurant of this magnitude before, & I was in awe. Vidal ordered a bottle of wine with dinner, conversation flowed easily between the three of us, & I learned that Vidal had a terrific sense of humor.

We were having our after dinner coffee, served with a sniff of Cognac on the side, when Vidal said,"Ladies, first allow me to thank the both of you for gracing my dinner with your beauty." as he held the Cognac up for a toast. "Now, I cannot hold back my excitement any longer & I'm anxious to share with you my delightful good fortune.

During dinner chatter, I had wondered what this evening was about, & here it comes. Anne Marie's eyes were sparkling. Was it the excitement of the evening, or too much wine?

"I found the most fabulous store on Fifth Ave. & Fifty-first street. Ground floor with big beautiful windows." His arms straighted out to describe the windows, his smile just glowing from excitement

"Darling," exclaimed Anne Marie, "Why, that's so great. How wonderful for you!"

I nodded my head in agreement, with a huge smile, also excited for his good fortune.

"Now ladies," holding up his hands to stop our chatter, "this is what I'm proposing to each of you!"

Vidal was silent for a moment as he looked directly into my eyes, & then to Anne Marie.

"The salon won't be ready to open until September or possibly October. You know with construction, design changes, on & on. Well, I'm going to need a place that I could work, design cuts & color, develop techniques, improved perm ideas, getting this whole 'free & casual' styling performance off the ground."

Anne Marie was nodding her head in agreement to every word Vidal spoke. I just starred at this man, my heart beating faster by the second!

"Anne Marie, my good friend," he looked directly into her eyes with that 'little bad boy' grin. "This is where I need your assistance. I very much would like to use your beauty shop to bring models in, so that we can do cuts, color, everything on them first. I want to try out various cutting techniques, color enhancements, everything that would be new & exciting for my new stylists & potential clientele."

"How can we do that, Vidal?' Anne Marie looked bewildered. I was confused.

" This is my thoughts, tell me if you have a simpler way. I'm thinking of you, CeCe, assisting me with the new cutting techniques & color shading. You & I would do all of the styling, & then we both would teach these techniques to the new stylists that I hire. No more wash & sets, teasing & tons of spray. My desire is to take hairdressing into a whole new world of beauty."

My stomach just made a leap to my throat. Anne Marie glanced across the table to me, the sparkle left her eyes.

" Well, that's great Vidal, but what can I do?"

"Anne Marie," he placed his hand over hers, "I want to use your shop, of course after business hours, for Cece & I to work. I intend to pay you rent, cost of supplies that we use, & anything else. I will advertise for my models, so of course the name of your shop goes into the advertisement. "

"CeCe, your days will become quite long, & I will pay you for the time that we are working." He gave a wink & a smile. The blood was now rushing to my head!

"Well, what do you think, Anne Marie?"

"Vidal," did I hear a crack in her voice? "What else can I do? Don't you need help other than using my shop?"

"Darling," He again reached for her hand, this time cupping it between both of his, "Do you realize the magnitude of importance using your shop is? Besides giving us a place to work every night, the traffic that it will generate to your business. When word gets out that 'new & exciting styles are being 'created' at your shop, your going to experience a whole new generation of clientele!"

I could see the wheels turning in Anne Marie's head. She hadn't thought, nor did I, about the word getting out that we were developing a whole new world for the hairdressers & salon owners. Things were changing fast in the 1960's. With the war going on, Woman's Liberation, the Hippie Generation! Why shouldn't the beauty industry take to new roads? We all wanted change, in some aspect of our lives, & this was a very doable concept. Plus, I was invited to take part in it. Yes, 1964 was showing strong possibility of being a very good year for me!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Primp & Style for Dinner in the Sky

Days went by swiftly. Business was good & I was developing a strong following. More & more men were coming to me for haircuts, & they were telling their friends to come to me. Their girlfriends were starting to follow suit, first to see what this hairdresser looked like, then returning & referring their friends. Easy maintenance, no or very little hairspray, wash & go styles were replacing the weekly wash & sets, teased & heavily sprayed looks. To be a blonde, natural or bottled was the new 'Sex Appeal'.

It was about three weeks since I gave Vidal his haircut, & he hadn't returned to the shop since. Anne Marie hadn't mentioned him to any of us, so I was worried that I'd given him a bad haircut. Let's face it, we can't give everyone what they want, & I have made mistakes with cuts & colors. I still cringe when I remember the time that I turned a clients hair green, & the time I fried a clients hair doing a perm. It happens, will always happen, & we just have to try to fix the mistake the best way possible.

Today was Saturday. It was raining so heavy that the sky looked black. The extreme heat of the past few weeks was so overbearing, that most of us welcomed the cooling rain. However, we got a lot of cancellations from our weekly wash & set clients, since they feared the rain would ruin their hair-dos. I felt fortunate that a few men came in for me to do their cuts, & luckier since they insisted on waiting for me to get to them. I had the biggest male clientele so far in the shop. Plus, the men were better tippers. with a $5.00 cut & blow, I got at least a dollar tip. The women only fifty or seventy five cents.

It was about 5:45 when the door swung open & this figure came rushing into the shop. The man was dripping wet. I was cleaning up my station & looked up. It was Vidal.

"Hi everyone," He stood at the door with a puddle forming at his feet.

"Come in,come in," Anne Marie called to him, "Take that wet jacket off, want to remove your shirt?"

"Yes,yes,no,no," he answered, quickly removing his jacket & tie. I handed him a towel for his face & hair, which was now dripping down to his shirt. He looked like a little boy, all wet & helpless, haven been caught jumping into rain puddles.

"Thank you CeCe."

"What are you doing here in this weather Vidal?" Anne Marie inquired as she hung his jacket over a dryer hood & turned the heat on.

"Well," He paused & looked from me to Anne Marie, "I came to ask you & CeCe to join me for dinner tonight. I have some very exciting news that I wish to share with the both of you, & to delight in my happiness." That accent could make a death sentence sound sexy.

Anne Marie & I looked at each other in astonishment! I glanced around to Sofia & the others, the shock & envy was on every ones faces. Terry was washing the shampoo sinks & gave a little giggle.

" I have to go home & change." Anne Marie answered

"Me too." I looked down at all the little specks of hair on my clothes. I needed to shower, & had no idea what to wear. What do you wear to dinner, with a man like this??

"No problem ladies. CeCe, where do you live?"

"Three blocks from here."

Fine, fine. I'll go home with you, Anne Marie, & I'll have a cocktail, while your getting ready. CeCe, you go home right now & get all dolled up. Pretty evening dress, we are going to dinner at the 'Restaurant in the Sky,' reservations are for 9pm. So, you girls, pardon me, You ladies, have plenty of time to make yourselves beautiful, as if your not already stunning! CeCe, you call Anne Marie when your ready. I have a car on it's way to Anne Marie's apartment as I speak. We will come to pick you up, then go for dinner. How does that sound? Go,go,CeCe." he commanded of me. "Anne Marie, let's get out of here! We are going to par-r-ty tonight!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vidals' First American Haircut!

The 1960's is a fast & changing time. Viet Nam is going strong & protests are popping up all over the country. The term 'Hippie Generation' & 'Draft Dodgers' have become daily household words.

The 'Hippie Generation', while regarded by the adults as "lazy, drugged, disillusioned kids", has started a tidal wave of changes in our society. The most obvious is their style of dress. Long hair on the guys is the key issue. Suddenly, boys & men from 12 to 30 years old, stopped cutting their hair. Barber shop owners are on the news almost daily, complaining that their losing business, going out of business, & how disgraceful these men are to society. Unisex salons are starting to pop up in areas, especially Manhattan, causing even more controversy. Women cutting men's hair & men cutting women's hair, was in the same category as 'sex before marriage', which also was becoming popular, again, blamed on the 'hippy influence'.

Business stayed steady at the shop. Vidal became a frequent visitor, sometimes with paperwork to get advice from AnneMarie, sometime for quick private chats with her, & sometimes I think to get away from the stress of his project.

Today Vidal walked in, looking hot & tired. It's mid May & already we are getting Summer temperatures with humidity. I'm sitting at one of the hairdryer chairs, reading the newest copy of 'Hairdressers How-To' magazine.

"Hello Everyone." His voice was tired sounding & his face a bit drawn. He walked over to my station, & slid into my chair with a low sigh.

"How are you today, CeCe?" He always seemed to talk to me a little bit more than the other girls. That pleased me a lot!

"Good Vidal, how are you?"

" Oh, good I suppose. Are you busy today?"

"My next appointment is at 2 o'clock, it's only 12:30 now, why?"

"I was hoping you can give me a cut. I won't be flying back to London until July, & I hate when my hair looks like this. Can you do me now?"

As I started walking towards Vidal, I could see Sofia's eyes widen to the size of plates & in the mirror AnneMarie was staring at me. Vidal removed his suit jacket & tie, I asked Terry to please shampoo him, & then took a big swallow.

While I cut his hair, conversation flowed about London, his home town, wife & daughter (with photos) & before I knew it, I was removing the cape & brushing fly away hairs off his shirt. Vidal got out of the chair, ran his fingers through his hair saying it was perfect several times, putting on his tie & jacket. He offered me a tip, which I refused, thanking him. He tipped Terry, which she accepted, then turned to AnneMarie, telling her that he'll call her tomorrow, had to get back to his hotel to change for a business dinner at 7pm.

The rest of the day flew by. I hoped that Vidal was pleased with the haircut. I was aware that he watched every angle that I cut on, observed my blow drying techniques, & how comfortable I was with my "client".

Well, if he becomes popular in New York, I can say, "I gave Vidal his First American Haircut!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You have pretty hair...

April is finally here! Spring time, the time of Renewal. My son's birthday party went well. I got him everything that my Mom told me that he needed & wanted. Gosh, I love that boy. I can't wait to get my law degree, so that I could bring him to live with me. It breaks my heart every time I see him, & then leave without him. Some day, Sal will be with me!

Like every Saturday, we were crazy busy at the salon. Customers were late for their appointments, & I had perms, cuts, colors stacked up so bad that I didn't stop to eat all day.

Half way through the day, Vidal walked through the door. It was as if he glided. Tall, tanned, beautiful haircut, white sparkly smile that dazzled you. Sharply dressed. Here in Brooklyn, "dressed" to the guys is changing into a clean pair of jeans. Vidal definitely made you turn your head!

We had learned from AnneMarie that he was a hairdresser from London. There weren't many male hairdressers here yet. Barbers is where the men went. It was still new for the guys to go to a 'beauty salon' to have a girl cut their hair. AnneMarie said she met Vidal at a 'Hairdressers Convention' in London, & they've been good friends since. My hunch was that they had a little romance & she would like to pick up where they left off, but Vidal is married now with a child.

Finally, the day came to an end. It was past 7PM, by the time I finished cleaning my station, & packing up my equipment. I was brushing my hair when Vidal walked over to my chair & slid himself into it.

"You have pretty hair."

"Thank You." Was HE talking to ME?!?

"Your pretty good with that shears." Hi accent was so seductive.

"Thank you again. Busy day, I had to whip through those cuts at record speed. Thank heavens for blow dryers."

" You have a good command of your tools. Where did you study cosmetology?"

"Winifred in Queens." My heart started to beat faster. Were my legs getting weak?

"Vidal?" AnneMarie called, " Let's get out of here girls", she called to us, "Come on Vidal, I need a cocktail."

All of us picked up our bags & purses, heading for the door. Thank God, another week over. Payday & my birthday. Yes, I was having what promised to be a very good year!