Happy Easter everyone. I am so pleased that I have been able to share my true life stories with you all. This is just one from my book. I was encouraged by my son in law to take this one chapter and make it a separate short story. I am glad I did.
There were no frivolous services like perms or colors offered but shampoos, haircuts, basic nail care and scalp treatments were provided.
No matter what level of schooling we had, as students we all chipped in to help, never giving a second thought to the services required. The school was closed to the public on those days to ensure the comfort and privacy of the customers. Our customers needed help not judgment.
Marissa, our newest student, enrolled just in time to join us in the next charity work event. Having just transferred from another city as a first semester student, she was also the only deaf student to have ever enrolled in our school. Marissa and I hit it off right from the start. We found a way to work around the barrier of sound and she shared with me that hairdressing was also her dream career. She expected it would be challenging being a deaf beautician in a hearing world but she was excited at the prospects of such a challenge. With a giggle she said at least she would not have to listen to complainers. Laughingly I said, “It was better than hearing your complainers but not being able to see what they were complaining about.” We closed our eyes making random gestures in the air with our fingers like scissors snipping. By now we were both laughing hysterically. We students were now prepared for our day as volunteers. Enthusiastically, Marissa took the job of brushing the tangles and knots out of each customer’s hair before being shampooed.
Throughout the day, our volunteer work had been going pretty smoothly, we were working on the last patron when there was a sudden commotion around Marissa and her client. We all abruptly stopped doing our duties and intensely watched as her teacher frantically positioned a large plastic sheet around her. In sign language she was instructed “NOT TO MOVE!” Then both she and the customer, including the station area were wrapped in large plastic sheets and taped off from the rest of the surrounding area. To say the least we were all intently curious, but were sternly warned to keep out of the way. For a few brief seconds the silence in the room was deafening, although not long lasting. Soon the commotion and excessive chatter broke the deafening silence. Shocked and confused at what we just witnesses we all decided it best to obey and keep out of the way. Although with every passing minute we became more curious like little children impatiently waiting our turn at show and tell. Each of us was trying to creep closer to the forbidden area. We wanting to be the first to hear and see what all the fuss was about while still maintaining a safe distance. We would not have to wait much longer. Three people covered in plastic outfits from head to toe came in and whisked both the customer, and Marissa away. Being deaf and unable to hear, caused Marissa to cry. She was becoming visibly frightened and confused. None of us could truly understand or even imaging what Marissa’s world of silence was like; so I tried plugging my ears with my fingers to tune out the noise, thinking this would give me a small taste of her silent world. Unsuccessful, I felt and possibly looked foolish. Soon after, several people from the Board of Health brought in chemicals, and sanitized the total taped off area. All the time patiently waiting for answers, our imaginations ran rampant as we speculated on the many possibilities, and scenarios that could cause such a dramatic fuss.
We found out later that the customer, who was also confused and visibly upset, had been living on the street for several years, and had not washed her hair for weeks, this in turn enabled lice to infest, grow, and finally take over her scalp and hair. Furthermore, sores and scabs from scratching her head with dirty unkempt nails had made the situation worse, especially the tender areas around her ears and neck.
Learning about lice in class was mandatory but this situation was far worse than anything even our teachers had ever witnessed.