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Memories and Musings: The long and short of it

By Gene Gallelli

If I had a jelly donut for every length, shade, shape and style my hair has suffered through, I might not be able to leave the house through the front door.

Friends who have known me during more recent hair effects would find it hard to believe that as a young child, I had blonde hair and I have the photographs to prove it. In fact, embarrassingly, my mom displayed photos of me with blonde hair on the long side, resulting in one of my college teammates remarking; “Geno, I didn’t know you had a sister!”

Those of us who have had a teenaged daughter and prepared for a prom or two will certainly never forget the drama surrounding the “hairdo” that didn’t turn out right and the trauma and tears that flowed trying to “fix it” before the doorbell rang. (Little did we parents know that in our well-intentioned act of taking dozens of photographs of the prom-bound couple before they headed to the decorated school gym, we were creating undeniable proof of the “hairdo” that will live in infamy!) In fact, it’s not surprising for moms and dads to come across the traditional prom picture – stuffed or hidden somewhere – that their daughter has defaced with a magic marker that obliterates the prom’s failed hair arrangement.

Of course, it was and is understandable that hairdos and haircuts had unique names like brush cut, pageboy, duck tail, beehive and many others. (I remember getting a brush cut as a teen that made my hair feel like sandpaper and exacerbated my already large ears and prominent nose that my Mom would refer to as “Romanesque” to make me feel better.)

With everyone still going through the myriad changes caused by a history-making, once-in-a-lifetime COVID pandemic, it’s not unusual to opine that everyone’s hair has been affected in some way: Maybe longer? Shorter? We may even see a return of the brush cut. Until Kim, who always cuts my hair, is back at it, my graying hair will just keep getting longer and longer.

As my lovely bride, Pat, would probably have said: “It is what it is.”

Gene Gallelli was Associate Superintendent of the Dare County Schools for eight years. He received his Doctor of Education degree from East Carolina University, where he taught and supervised students studying to become school administrators.

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