Next month, my dad and his partner Lenny are closing their shop in Harvard Square after 23 years in business. From this 4’x4’ space on the second floor on 54 JFK Street, my dad bought and paid for two homes. With the help of my mom and a pair of scissors, he put two kids through private school and paid for our college tuitions in full. He never had a debt that he didn’t pay back. Never turned away a friend who needed a loan. I’m proud to say, my father epitomized the unselfish work ethic that this country is built on.
Over the years, he earned a devoted tribe of clients who returned to him faithfully year and year, even when they didn’t have any hair left to cut. My first job was in this shop. Every Saturday, I’d sit on the radiator in the corner and wait to sweep up. It was then that I learned what putting in an honest day’s work actually looked like. Dad was on his feet all day, usually sustaining himself only on coffee and bananas. Fifteen clients later, he still brought the same enthusiasm for the last as he did his first.
I just got my last hair cut in this shop, but it was marked with excitement, not sadness. Dad is moving on to a new chapter in his career and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’ll continue to see his clients at a different shop in Waltham, but now with the piece of mind of being able to focus solely on his craft as opposed to also running a business. There are so many lessons that he taught me from this spot in the floor, but the one that comes to mind now is that it’s not so much about what you do, but rather how you do it.