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Making dad really happy by Chris


My father didn't like my brothers and I to have long hair, but he allowed us to grow it out when we became teenagers. As I have said in a previous post, I did that when I turned 13 in the fall of 1977 but went to a shorter cut (above the ears and off the collar) right before my high school graduation in 1982.

That summer two friends and I decided to form a lawn care business to make some money. The weathermen were saying that it was going to be a very hot summer. Kansas City had one of its hottest summers ever two years earlier, and they were saying this could be just as bad.

As a result, my friends and I decided we needed to take some measures to beat the heat. We decided that we would get our work done early in the morning before the heat got real bad and we bought a big cooler to carry water on. And, I suggested that we should get really short haircuts.

I remembered back to the short haircuts I was ordered to get by my dad until I became a teenager. While a lot of neighborhood kids got short haircuts, at least for summer, in the 1060s, fewer and fewer did through the 70s. Since my brothers Steve and Jerry were teens and could get their hair cut like they wanted, I remember thinking that I must have had the shortest hair in town when I got a whitewall haircut right before Easter in 1977.

The good thing about that haircut, I recalled in 1982, was how cool it kept me that summer and how easy it was to care for. While my brothers spent a lot of time blow drying their hair and had to use spray to keep it in place, I could just towel dry mine.

My buddies Kirk and Bill said that they hadn't had real short hair since they were very young in the 1960s, but I convinced them to give it a try. So on May 25, 1982, the day after our high school graduation, we decided to go to Kirk's regular barbershop in Brookside.

I took a seat in the only open chair and Kirk and Bill sat down to wait their turn. I had just gotten a haircut to look nice for my graduation three days earlier and the barber commented that it still looked pretty sharp and that he was surprised that I would be getting a haircut. That's when I told him that we are all there for really short haircuts and that I wanted a crewcut.

I can still picture the barber firing up his Oster clippers, shearing the sides and back and then doing clipper-over-comb work on top. When he showed it to me, it looked pretty good but I was expecting it to be even shorter so I asked him to cut more off. He switched blades and re-clipped the sides and back, tapering it even shorter around the bottom, switched blades again and ran the clippers over the top of my head. I thought it looked great, and my dad was really thrilled when he saw it. He couldn't believe that I had gotten a crewcut without being told to.

Kirk and Bill ended up getting the same haircut. All three of us kept our crewcuts all summer and since my hair was already starting to thin I stayed with it for a number of years.

The only time I grew it out enough to comb was (at the request of my future sister-in-law) for my brother Steve's wedding in 1990, which was eight years to the day after that crewcut in 1982. I got a nice tapered Ivy League cut the day before. It wasn't a bad cut. but when I got up the next day I realized how thin my hair really was. So it was off to the barber for a clipper shave. It was the first time that I left the barber able to see my entire scalp, and I loved it. I don't think I have ever had more than a quarter of a inch of hair on my head since that day almost 22 years ago



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