I Left It at the Barbers



My father’s new theater was the Cinema 1 and 2 in Brockton, Massachusetts. The building was in the parking lot of the Westgate Mall. Its back was right up against the cloverleaf of the freeway. So it was a good location. And a popular one.

A spacious lobby sat in the center, with a long concession stand at the back as the focus. Doormen stood guard over the entrance to the theater auditoriums, Cinema One on the right and Cinema Two to the left. And inside ushers with flashlights would escort you to your seats. I would soon join their ranks.

But for the time being I would only pay visits, usually by walking from our apartment about a mile away. I had a bicycle, though I don’t remember ever taking it on the long trek to the theater.  One memorable time was after a heavy snow fall. The snow plows, as was their duty, had all been out early, especially in the mall lot. So there were long mounds everywhere, at least five feet at their summits. And a whole series were pointed in the direction of my travel. So I would trek to the top of the snow pile in my shoes (I still had an aversion to boots and hats), and traverse its length like Lawrence in the dunes of Arabia.

The mall had two large department stores, a Bradlee’s and a Gilchrist’s. Dad tells me there was a Plymouth bank where they made their deposits, and a Chinese restaurant, with whose owner he traded passes for takeout.  I only remember the barbershop.

By this time I no longer sported a Roman haircut, but I was still an oddity in that I parted my hair on the right.  I would instruct him to mind the part, taper the back, and oh yes, since one ear was higher than the other to take that fact into consideration when balancing the length between both sides. And one other thing, when using the razor on the back of my neck, watch out for the mole in that vicinity.

This was only an invitation to the barber to tease me. Come time when he put the clippers away and took out the razor, he would ask me, you sure you don’t want me to remove that for you? A mildly funny jest until one time he actually did it. He sliced it clean off. So along with the mole I left a little blood at the barber’s.

It was all an accident of course. Or was it?