During a visit to Monterey, CA., I needed a haircut so I instinctively began to whine internally about the impossibility of locating someone with the credibility, skill and 62 years of experience of my hometown barber in Hampstead, MD. Then came Frank.
Frank runs an old-world barber shop in Monterey. He sports a thick Italian accent and has been plying his trade for only 60 years. What came next is a scene I thought only existed in the movies. When I queried him about his past, he told me the great American story. It went something like this:
[insert thick but decipherable Italian accent here] “When I wasa in Italy, I started sweeping my father's floor at the barber shop when I wasa 10 yearsa old. He would playa the mandolin then cutta a man's hair. I grewa up cutting hair and playing the mandolina. During the hippie 60s and 70s, with everyone with their longa hair, there wasa no more haira to cut in Italy, so I hada my uncle cutting hair in America sponsor me. I camea to America 35 years ago to cutta the hair.
“My uncle, he sponsor me, and on the way homea from the airport, he teach me how you say 1,2,3, 4,5,6,7,8,9,10 in English and how you say “how would you like your hair cut today” in English. I cutta the hair of our great US military soldiers with my uncle at Ft. Ord for 24 years before they closea the base down. Now I worka here in my own shop.”
“I lovea America. I lovea our soldiers. They give me job. They give me opportunity. In Italy, I am nothing. In America, I am something. I lovea America.”
Frank really is something. Enough said.