The Cabin In The Woods. by Jonathan
It was around 1976. I was going to spend a month of the summer at my best friend's uncle's cabin. My parents were going on a month long European vacation and needed someplace for me to stay. This was just a get away no kids allowed kind of vacation. They were good friends with my best friend's parents. Well we kind of didn't know his uncle too well though. That's who would be watching me for a month or so. It was the 70's and people didn't always wear seats belts either. What could go wrong?
School was out and I had just finished 7th grade. I'd be heading to 8th the next year. My name is Ricky and my best friend was David. I had two weeks off already and I was to go up to the mountain cabin next week. David was already their with his aunt, uncle, and two cousins. Soon I would join them making it a total of 4 boys at the cabin. I was looking forward to the trip. I was used to being shipped off for part of the summer. My parents both took time off and traveled the world then. I'd stayed at aunts, grandparents and other family friend's houses in the summer.
The Big Bear mountains of California are about 7,000 feet up. There is a lake and it's a little rural in places. Back in 1976 ever more so. Now it's more developed and more expensive to live there. They had a small downtown with one movie theater and one game arcade. You could also do a lot of hiking in the woods too.
It was a warm morning in early July. My things were packed and my father was going to drive me and my two suit cases to my friend's uncle's cabin. We'd been to these mountains before. My dad had a general idea where their cabin was and he'd drop me off there. The drive would take around 2 hours. I never felt homesick anymore I was 12 now and over that. I'd also been left so many places before.
My hair had gotten nearly to my shoulders and I'd put off my usual summer haircut. On the way up in the car my dad said why don't we stop and get lunch and a haircut for you on the way. Oh no! My dad had me get two haircuts a year. One at the start of summer, and one at the start of school each year. The problem is they had to be clipper short with the ears exposed. Most kids had longer hair then and clipper short was bad. Sometimes they'd really grind it to the bone on the back and sides, other barbers not to bad. It would grow out fast the rest of the year.
Oh dad, can we just wait tell you pick me up from the mountains, please I asked. Then I'll get a haircut. Well I guess right after you come back from the cabin. Wow! I'd pulled it off. This would not be until early August. This way I could maybe count that haircut as the back to school one I got usually in early September. The truth was my dad was in a hurry and wanted to get back to pack for their big trip to Europe. He just didn't want to bother with eating and a haircut.
We drove along chatting a bit, but mostly in silence. Just before we got to the base of the mountain we stopped at a Tastee Freeze to get hotdogs and icecream. We spent around 30 minutes ordering and eating. After that head up the long winding mountain road. This road was beautiful, yet deadly. Over the years many people had been killed on the mountain road. Mostly bad driving, or people's brakes going out on the way down.
We starting up the road with all the beautiful pine trees. We saw the Smokey The Bear sign I always loved. It would still take nearly 30 minutes or more to get there. My mind drifted off somewhere in a daydream as we went up the mountain road in silence. I wondered how this was going to be I really only knew David well. I'd only met his cousins and uncle a few times. It was the uncle my parents a little, not his aunt. I kept thinking they just wanted another place to dump me for the summer. Why couldn't I go with them just once.
After awhile we came to my favorite thing. The moment you see that big lake and drive over the dam. To me this is the best lake in California, Big Bear Lake. It just goes on forever and has all those pine trees next to it. Wow, nature at its best. We figured their cabin was more at the woody area at the far end of the lake way out of town.
We drove all the way through Big Bear. We had a hand drawn map of how to get there. It was a cabin kind of off any main road off in the woods. We finally found it after getting slightly lost twice. There it was the cabin. In the woods. This place was old and run down. Several old, broken, and rusty cars laying around the front of the property. The place looked run down and beat up. Not the best place to drop of your 12 year old son for the summer! I could tell my dad was thinking, what a dump! It was the way he looked at the place. Ironically he noticed the one positive thing he could find. Look Ricky, a swing in the tree. That looks fun. I knew he just said that so I'd stay here.
We got out of the car. David came running out to see me and was very excited. I noticed the other two boys were around ten. It was hard to say which one was older. David's uncle spoke to my dad awhile as we explored the front yard. I noticed that David's uncle had shaved his head nearly bald. Wow I hadn't really seen someone around 40 completely bald before. I remembered him with hair before. My dad was soon ready to take off and head home. He waved and said good bye. No hug at all. That was how my family was, not too warm.
All that first day I played in the woods with David and his two cousins. We had a fun exhausting day. David and his cousins all had slightly long hair over their ears. The two cousins were a year apart and were brothers. They were all sort of typical nice looking kids you'd see back then. That night we had a big dinner and played some games and watched t.v. I was going to sleep on the top bunk bed in David's room. The house was pretty dirty and messy. These weren't the neatest people. That night we finally went to bed and slept.
The next morning we had cereal for breakfast and headed to town in their beat up station wagon. We went to the arcade and played all kinds of games in that place. Soon we drove back to the house. David tells me my uncle is giving us bald this afternoon. My heart took a rough beat. Balds, what do you mean I asked. He's going to shave our heads off all bald in the garage. This is what I thought he meant. Oh, I told him. I was getting very panicked!
Well no one had said anything about me too. Did he mean all four of us shave our heads? This was a true moment of terror. Of couse I had never shaved my head before. Come on Ricky let's go to the garage now. I went real slow behind David as we walked to the garage. Last year my uncle shaved all three of us. It was cool! We walked into the dirty, cluttered, box filled garage. There was his uncle next to the old work bench. A couple sets of flickering flouresant lights lit this dark garage. Next to the work bench was a stool and his uncle was fiddling with some hair clippers!
Soon the two cousins came running in. One of them hopped up on the stool and pulled his t-shirt of quickly. Then it came, the shearing. I had never seen anything like it. One time I had seen a sheep sheared with electric clippers at the fair. All that hair just falling on the garage floor. David's cousins nice long hair was been sheared off by a bare metal blade on these powerful hair clippers! Half his head was bold. You could see one ear, but not the other. As his uncle sheared away his son's head he was smoking a cigerette briefly, then setting it back down. I watched in a state of amazed horror. He was going to be bald!
He was done and hopped off the stool. He brushed the remaining locks off his pants. The other two boys ran over to feel his shaved head. Come on Ricky feel this. I ran my hand across the top of his sandpapery head. Wow, I'd never felt something like this. I kept staring at this bald kid. He looked completely different. You could see everything, scalp, ears, and forehead.
Whose next! David's uncle yelled. You go Ricky. What me I thought, did they expect me to shave my head too. No I said, I'm growing my hair this summer. Oh no Ricky we're all doing it, you too. No I don't want to. Come on Ricky you're doing this too! No I said again. Ricky we're not letting you out of this. All five of us are going to be bald this summet. You can't be the only one with hair! This was getting really bad. I felt faint and scared to death. There was no way out!
Come up on this stool the uncle say. Ricky get over here. No, please I don't want to. The now bald cousin says look Ricky it's ok I did it. Yeah don't be such a baby Ricky! I slowly walked over to the beat up metal stool. I sat on it. Take off your shirt David's uncle said as he puffed on his cigerette. I reluctantly took off my dirty button down shirt. Was this real?
The uncle put out his cigerette and grabed the clippers from the work bench. He grabbed my bangs and lifted them up. I was shaking a bit and wanted to cry. I forced myself not to cry in front of the rest of the group. Ricky, Ricky, Ricky! The kids chanted. Soon the bare bladed ciphers bit into my hair line and kept going. I felt the hair on the top of my head being sheared off. Then they went around the temples and right ear. David's uncle pushed that little machine down hard on my head! I sat there in shock as I was being sheared like that sheep I'd seen ar the fair. My dark brown hair was falling on the garage floor and mixing in with David's cousin's light brown hair. The clippers buzzed and hummed for a little bit longer. Then I could feel the uncle going over my whole head again to get any hairs he missed. He bent down my ears and buzzed around each one. Your done! I heard him say. I hopped off the stool. The boys ran to feel my head. Who's next yells the uncle! This time David jumped on the stool. The buzzing and humming started up again. All I could do was stand and watch. I rubbed my bald head over and over and held back the tears.