William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 6 - Meeting Mr. Carl

September 16, 2015

As Mr. Carl greeted me he seemed like a nice guy in his early to mid-fifties. He gave me a visual once over and from what I could tell that went okay. He directed me to a small office which was located in an area that I later learned was the senior side of where students spent a specific amount of time applying their newly acquired skills, prior to completing their training. Upon entering the office area, from what I could see, everyone momentarily stopped to see who the rookie was -- everyone being, all women.  Lunch was coming right up, and I believe I was part of that days menu, conversationally.

The meeting with Mr. Carl was fairly routine. We discussed my reason for choosing hairdressing as a career and what had motivated me to choose Mr. Lee’s. I shared the fact that I was aware of Gene Juarez and his success in the industry, and that he had trained at Mr. Lee’s as well. We also discussed my self taught hair cutting career while I was in the service. I was using my GI Bill to pay the tuition, which also covered a certain amount of my other expenses. After completing the paperwork required by the U.S Government we were almost finished. Mr. Carl was very clear in sharing his expectation, providing me with a list of certain items I would need to purchase. As the meeting concluded I had made an informed decision.

Within the next couple days I visited the recommended uniform store to pick up a couple of white smocks, which were required as part of the dress code. The selection was little to none for the men’s smocks, with a few more options available for the women. The style choices were two, both of them white, however, one was double breasted with tasteful gold buttons, the other was single breasted and quite ordinary. I purchased two exactly the same -- double breasted with golden buttons.

Returning to civilian life in 1966 was full of excitement. The United States was about to face a cultural phenomenon as bra’s, flags, and draft cards were being burned. Vietnam was heating up. “The Sound of Silence” (overdubbed version) and “Like a Rolling Stone” was the mantra of the youth culture at the time. At 24 I was just on the cusps of being lulled by “Old Blue Eyes” (Frank Sinatra), love him to this day, or catching the wave and again gravitating to “the great unknown”. Without any negative signs I eased into what instinctively felt on track. My hair got longer, I grew some facial hair, and began to feel like I was finding my groove.

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