There was this guy. He just looked like a hair dresser. No, not a crazy hair colored, pierced or tattooed type of hairstylist you can peg a mile away but a real classic hair dresser. He was tall and thin and could wear about anything and look good but his style was more conservatively casual than you would guess but tastefully fashion forward. His hair was usually a sandy blonde and cut with texture but not crazy or outlandish. He was nice and more quiet than most the stylists whirling around him. After all, this was The Factory. For the uninitiated, The Factory was the first and maybe last salon of it’s kind in Omaha, Ne. It was a big,…no, huge high end salon filled with the most flamboyant to the most serious business minded stylists in town at the time. That time was the 70s through the 90s. It was an Omaha hair fashion institution. People went there to see and be seen. Sex, drugs, crime, transexuals, hard working, hustling, ass kicking, high drama, great hair…. The Factory had it all. It was Reality TV before Reality TV existed and that’s half the reason people went there. The other half was some pretty amazing hair stylists. But I digress. My reflections of The Factory will have to wait for it’s own story. But this story is about this guy named Rick Jones. By the time I started at The Factory, Rick had already been there a long time and was embedded into it’s lore. Like I said, he was quiet and calm yet always seemed up for anything and was always part of the action. His clients loved him. Ya, I know everyone’s clients love their hair stylists but no, really… Rick’s clients LOVED him. He styled a lot of the wealthier mature clients of the time. Names you would recognize, but the name that they all knew was Rick’s. He was their son, their confidant, their …. he was their gay hair stylist and everything that should mean. I looked up to him not only because he was so welcoming even to this straight new stylist at The Factory, but because he had everyone else’s respect and because he could dress some beautiful hair. My Dad taught me early to watch other good hairstylists and I watched Rick. He was the go-to stylist for brides. Out of this whole big salon, he was the one you sent your daughter to for her wedding style. I conceded the bridal business to Rick (what choice did I have?) but made my mind up to learn everything I could from him and apply it to prom and homecoming updo styling. I did just that and before I left to go out on my own I had built a decent reputation for prom and homecoming styles. Today, I have the honor of styling upwards of 100 brides a year. I can honestly say I took that cue by watching Rick Jones to build that niche. I sadly admit I’m not sure if I ever told him that directly. If I had, he would have modestly shook it. At the end of the day, Rick’s day, the thing that rings out the loudest about this man is not the great hair he did, or the crazy scene he played a part in, it’s his kindness. He will be remembered by all who knew him for his sweet, sweet kindness. Thanks Ricky.
Rick Jones passed away Feb 22nd from complications with a long running illness.
Oh heck ya, it’s back to school time. yay. Sorry I was never too excited to go back to school. Actually, I couldn’t stand it and the mere mention of that phrase “back to school” still gives me the heebee geebees, the creepy crawlies, the dry heaves, the booloo mooloos. Yes, I made that last one up but you kinda like it don’t you? Come on, you do. I’m so gonna start using it.
So OK, school time wasn’t for me but I do appreciate the hugeness of it. It’s a heady time. Think about your school years. There will never be another time in your life when you are so tightly associated with the same group of people for that long. Some of these associations with classmates are for 12 straight years. Then you graduate, hopefully, and poof. You are off into the big world and never again are you in that kind of a social institution again. Work buddies are different. There just isn’t that same connection. Good or bad it’s just not the same. People have lives outside of work. But when you’re in school you really don’t. Except for the summers.
Ahh the summer. I loved it. I lived for it. But sadly it was fleeting. It’s so much more than the weather too. It was ….freedom. Like real freedom. At least for me it was.
The end of May would come, the bell would ring and it was like, “See ya later teachers and parents and responsibility until Sept!” Ya, May to September. Remember that? Now what is it, like a few weeks in July? Geez! Mine seemed like entire lifetimes would come and go in comparison. Bell to bell I was off the grid. Of course there was no grid back then and no cell phones and no way to keep track of me. The pool all day, a pick-up game of ball in the afternoon and then shenanigans and tomfoolery all night. Next day, rinse and repeat. I am not kidding. It was like that all summer long. We never did camps or clinics or any of that stuff. I was the youngest of 6. My folks were over it by then. I get it. Actually, I loved it. I had it good. The street was my teacher. She could be cruel but she was honest. Oh who am I kidding. We moved out to the west O suburbs by the time I was 3. Leawood West wasn’t exactly the mean streets. We had one weirdo in the whole neighborhood and everyone knew to stay away from that house. Besides that it couldn’t have been safer. The salad days. The wonder years.
Then came Labor Day. It loomed like a giant dark cloud creeping over my sunny summer. Relentless with no regard to freedom, to summer love, to bare feet, to running from the cops, to kick the can, to homemade pyrotechnics, to amateur aviation, to “Kill The Man with the Ball” (actual name of a game we made up. I don’t think I need to explain the rules here. Its pretty self explanatory). If not for my birthday at the end of August I don’t know how I would have made it. That and the Jerry Lewis telethon. A legit excuse to literally stay up all night. “Hey it’s for charity Mom!” We once jumped on a neighbor’s trampoline all night to raise money. “Jump for Jerry’s Kids.” I recall we raised a total of $36 bucks.
I’ve tried hard to give my kids some sort of taste of my summers. I don’t schedule them a lot to do but I do try to keep an eye on things. Times have changed but some things never change. The cloud is rolling in.
Alas, “Back to School.” Oh my gosh I just got the booloo mooloos.
My son, Eon is turning 14 tomorrow. God I love this kid. I can crumble into a blubbering, sobbing mess at the drop of a hat thinking about my kids. Its like that.
Eon is the big brother. He’s generally horrible to his little sister. I’ll straight out tell him to quit being such an ass to her. I hate it. But it does tend to make those sweet moment when I catch him being decent to her , even sweeter. I try to explain (more…)
I am celebrating International Women’s Day by reflecting on one of my favorite writers and directors, Nora Ephron. She died last year from some kind of leukemia. I never had the opportunity to meet her but would like to think we would have been great friends. I flatter myself. Truth is, I loved her. I wish I took more time to read more from her. That is something I hope to do, going forward. (more…)
I have always been a gadget guy. My Dad was a gadget guy and until his passing, always gave us gadgets for gifts, instead of practical things. I’ve kind of continued that tradition with my kids. But what this has also done is made me want the latest tech toys before everyone has them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out buying $10,000 3D smart flat screens. But if I could afford to…
So anyway, I remember when cell phones started coming on to the market. Yes, I’m old. I didn’t see this in a movie. I was there. Let me take you back to a time before Google, Facebook, DVDs, before everyone at this year’s Grammys except Sting and Elton. Nirvana was huge and Kristie Alley wasn’t. (more…)
On returning home from the grocery store I noticed a very strange anomaly that exists in my kitchen. It made me wonder if this is just something unique to my kitchen or if it’s a common unexplainable phenomenon in yours as well. This gave way to several other peculiarities that came to mind as I prattled around the kitchen. Incidentally, I believe the kitchen and the garage are the only two rooms in the house that one prattles.