Updated: Aug 14
One of the many fond memories of my father is "the haircut." The barbershop that we went to was right down the block from where we lived on Brighton 3rd street. It was on the other side of the street from our building, so my father would walk me to the shop so that I did not have to cross the street by myself. He told the barber he would be back to pick me up.
One of the things I learned at the barbershop was how to spell my last name. It must have been when I was about 4 years old when the barber asked me how to spell my last name. I told him I did not know and he said it was important for me to learn before I started school. Over the next three haircuts I learned how to spell Colchamiro by using syllabication. COL was the first part, CHA was the second, and MIRO was the third. I was so proud of myself for having learned how to spell my last name.
Then there was the summer cut which occurred for me at the end of the school year just as summer started.
The ritual was to take me to the barbershop as usual, "I'll pick you up later, Marty," my father would say. Once in the chair I uttered my usual words, "not too short." The barber would usually honor my request but for these ritual summer cuts it was different. No matter what I said he always cut my hair short. Not just short, but very short. When my father picked me up he saw I was disappointed and surprised that my hair was so short. So short, in fact, that I looked like my father who had been bald for some time. I protested the short, short haircut and he just looked at me smiled. It was that twinkle in his eye and smile that gave it away. We just started laughing raucously. I knew then that I had no choice to say how short my hair would be at this time and I looked at him and started laughing. We proceeded to Aunt Rae's house walking up Brighton 3rd street toward Ocean View Avenue. During that walk we just looked at each other now and again and each time started an uncontrollable laugh. It was I suppose the bonding way that males talk or grunt or just laugh. No words where exchanged, just laughter.
From then on I knew that whenever summer rolled around, that no matter what I said to the barber, I would come away with the summer cut.
It was a special time and special day and I still smile when I think about it, especially now when I go to the barber and say, "not too short." I just wonder if my father is looking down and maybe giving him instructions otherwise. Well maybe it happened once or twice since and I sort of know my father had something to do with it.