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The Haircut that Changed My Life

April 21, 2021

No, this is not the title of my first YA novel (although, not bad, I daresay.) This is literally the story of how I moved from a 500 square foot apartment to a two story, two bedroom house in less than a month. And it did all start with a haircut.

Dorrie has been cutting my hair for 21 years. When I started going to her, she was in her early twenties, not too many years removed from cosmetology school. Now, in addition to being a veteran hair stylist, she also runs her own business, holds a real estate license, and is a landlord. About fifteen years ago, she purchased a seen-better-days house in Old Saybrook, one of the more scenic coastal towns in Connecticut (and the former home of one Katherine Hepburn).

Dorrie put a lot of time, energy and money into the property and has been renting it out ever since. Given that I was now in a place in my life I was interested and ready to move into a house, I decided that at my next haircut I would inquire about the property. Even though it would be a change from the quiet, rural lifestyle I had enjoyed for the last twenty odd years, it was two blocks away from the water, and a fifteen minute walk to a town center packed with cafes, a bookstore, restaurants, and even a Ben & Jerrys. Being near the sea and having a sidewalk life is something I have missed since my college days in Santa Cruz. How fortuitous it would be if Dorrie’s rental would be available this summer–the ideal time for teacher’s to relocate.

I never even got a chance to ask. When we were exchanging the usual pleasantries (“How was your weekend?” ) she mentioned that she spent the entire weekend cleaning the house, because her tenants had just moved out. I asked if she had yet found a new tenant, and she had not. I told her I was very interested and would love to see the place. She agreed to show it me the following weekend.

Three and a half weeks after the haircut, I was moving in.

Packing and organizing a move that quickly in the winter while I am working every day was stressful, yet somehow I managed to get it done. The hardest part was asking my good friends and landlords Jason and Amy if they would be willing to let me out of my lease early. I am very fond of them both (and their entire family), and when I moved into the apartment above their garage five years ago it was exactly what I needed. I was recently divorced, financially beleaguered, and the apartment (and their company) in a beautiful country setting was comforting and healing. But it was now time to move on. Happily, they understood, and we quickly came to an amenable financial arrangement.

So here I am in my lovely new home, in a beautiful, charming seaside town. Given it is my spring break, I decided to take a couple of days to take my own writing retreat (since the one I usually attend in January was preempted by COVID). As I write this, I can smell the sea on the breeze coming in through the window. Two blocks away, at the South Cove, two osprey are protecting their eggs in a nest, where there are egrets, swans and cormorants (and even deer) hunting and resting in the nearby salt marshes.

And on Easter, Darlene’s son and grandkids were here, and we all comfortably fit. There are few things in my life that would prompt me feel more grateful,

All of this makes me wonder: what life altering event will follow my next haircut?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucy Von Berg Simard permalink
    April 22, 2021 12:13 am

    I just loved and appreciated the story of the next stage of your journey! How peaceful, inspiring and lovely it must be for you to gaze out on this idyllic setting. Yes, one person can change the course of one’s life. I loved your clever ending, Kevin! Wishing you years of happy living in your new residence!

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