From June 2014

Replacing Jimmy

This was my first graphic story, completed in a workshop 4 years ago. Fox and Obel might have bit the dust in the years since, but the theme remains timeless!

 

After I moved to the city from the suburbs, I re-sourced my personal services closer to where I lived. However, hair happiness trumped distance and I continued to drive to Hip Salon in Schaumburg to see Jimmy, my stylist of many years. It had been so long since I had gotten a bad haircut, that I was lulled into complacency about the prospect of finding a stylist closer to home.

Replacing Jimmy of HIP Salon

The more I pondered this idea, the more reasonable the possibility seemed.

Replacing Jimmy HIP Salon

Feeling confident with my first recommendation from the girl with the cute hair at Fox and Obel, I started on my journey to replace Jimmy and end the tortuous commutes to the suburbs. When I walked into the salon and met Casmira, I felt an instant connection. She nodded knowingly as I voiced my concerns.

Replacing Jimmuy

“This isn’t going to be so bad,” I thought. “What was I so worried about?”

But as Casmira began to cut, I was filled with a sense of foreboding. Her hand seemed giddy and the snipping took on a life of its own, faster and faster, louder and louder.

Nervously, I looked for reassurance.

Replacing JimmyReplacing Jimmy

Replacing Jimmy Replacing Jimmy                                                                                                                                                     AAACCCCCKKKKKK!

My worst fears had come true! She didn’t get it! Why did I ever think I could replace Jimmy?

Sensing my distress, Casmira attempted to rectify the situation.

Replacing Jimmy

Replacing Jimmy

Salvation was at hand! I gladly forked over the big bucks for the magic wax, ecstatic that the repair had worked. In a saner moment, I may have questioned why I was not only paying for a bad haircut, but the expensive goo to fix it. This wouldn’t have happened on Jimmy’s watch, but for now I was happy.

Replacing Jimmy Replacing Jimmy

Down, but not out, I waited for the sides to grow out and tried again. Tried and tried and tried, as it took 2 years, 6 stylists and a drawer full of styling products to finally end up at Salon Buzz in River North with Duc. Thank you, Duc, and Jimmy… I miss you.

Dinners with Dad

When I remember my dad, most of my memories center around dinners with him. Growing up, it was the one time of day when the family was all together and, in later years, dinner was a part of any visit.

When I see Don Draper of “Mad Men”, I always think of my dad returning home from work. Like Don, Dad was tall, dark and handsome… the quintessential image of a 1960s businessman.

Dad and Don Draper 1

However, once Dad changed out of his suit into his “around the house” clothes, this resemblance disappeared completely. Dad and Don Draper 2

Well, maybe not completely

Dad and Don Draper 3

After Dad was out of his suit and done with his cocktail and newspaper, we sat down to dinner. Dad listened to our problems and shared his wisdom.

Dinner Table 1960s

Once summer weekends arrived, dinner meant… barbecues with the neighbors!

Barbecue 1

When he finished his round up, he’d break the news to Mom.

Barbecue 2

The barbecues lasted long into the night with the strains of Andy Williams and John Gary crooning from Dad’s patio speakers. They were a summer staple at our house for over 20 years, but ended when Mom and Dad sold the house and moved into a condo.

We didn’t eat out at restaurants much, but there was one consideration that overshadowed all overs when we did.

Restaurant

After we daughters were grown with families of our own, family dinners shifted to our homes. These were the best years. Mom and Dad were (relatively) healthy, enjoying retirement and seemed to like us more as adults than children. Conversations were funny and interesting and Dad could be counted on to add life to any gathering.

Middle Years

The years eventually took their toll. My dad lost most of his eyesight to macular degeneration and my mom lost the use of her legs to multiple sclerosis. Between the two of them, they tried to function as one person.

Popcorn

Dad was in charge of heating meals we had made for them, doing laundry, grocery shopping and taking care of Mom. He was all that stood between her and a nursing home and he did it without complaint.

When this became too much for them, Mom and Dad moved to supportive living, or “God’s Waiting Room”, as my mom called it. After Mom died, Dad’s “eyes” were gone and he was left to fend for himself. Meal times were difficult. Dad was too proud to accept help, especially offers to cut up his food. Watching him eat was excruciating.

Mealtime Disaster

As we walked out of the dining room one day, I noticed a big wad of mashed potatoes which had fallen on to the tip of Dad’s slipper. I held back tears thinking of my handsome, Don-Draper-ish dad, now a frail old man with potatoes on his shoe.

Potato on slipper

Not long after that, Dad started rotating through hospitals and rehab centers. As the clock wound down, I didn’t know if he was aware how close to the end he was. Our last dinner gave me the answer.

Last dinner

After I left Dad’s side that day, I never saw him conscious again. He died October 17, 2010. I still feel bad that his last dinner was orange Jello, but I am glad he had it with me.

Remembering my dad with much love today and wishing a very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who make happy memories for their children.