I happen to think beauty shops are interesting places and I wonder why the thought of doing a television show based on one never occurred to anyone. I have a fictional show about my salon that only a few know about.
Welcome to the Life At Francesca’s reality show.
Our show began over 20 years ago in the elementary school yard that both our children attended. Fran informed the parents during dismissal one afternoon that she was opening a hair salon down the street from the school. Not only did I find a hairdresser that day I found lifetime friendships
Like most beauty shops we had a colorful cast come through the doors.
Let me start with Francesca (better known to all of us as Fran). I refer to her as our exploding crayon box as every day since we met she has a million things going on at once. She owns the building above the shop so the telephone is always ringing; tenants are coming in for various reasons; the customers are arriving and through it all she styles all our hair and asks how we are doing. Despite her hectic life Red is the color that describes her best for she has the biggest heart.
Next let me introduce you to Robin; I met her at the shop a few times and while we tried to get together life just goes by and we never were able to schedule it in. We are however social media buddies and we will be forever friends. The color I feel represents her best is Rose for she is sweet, patient, kind and best of all a great listener. Despite the trials she experienced in life she always has a big smile on her face. A smile that brightens every room she enters. And she LOVES pets as do I.
Let’s not forget ME. I chose the color orange for I am the loud and lively one of the bunch as you never know what I will say or do to make everyone laugh.
Last month I paid my final episode as my husband and I are moving out of state. When Robin heard she came with bouquets of flowers for both Fran and I as well as a gift and a beautiful note for me to take with me. Robin definitely makes the line “quality over quantity” true; for every second I spend with her is a wonderful experience.
We three reminisced on episodes gone by. Oh there were so many happy times as well as upsetting events, births, deaths, illnesses and everything in between. We all have different personalities, lives and past journeys but the one thing we all have in common we were blessed with sons. Together the three of us have four boys; we laughed how we did not have a girl in the bunch. Our boys went through lots of changes and we shared the tough times as well as the proud moments. At one point we all were crying at the same time as we realized how fast the years have gone by and our little boys suddenly became grown men. We wiped our eyes and laughed saying who needs girls; Fran has enough women to deal with doing hair all day. Besides, there is a special bond between Mothers and Sons and we are quite happy how life turned out.
Hair salons are places many go to share stories just like we did. Everyone wants to feel loved, comforted and understood and I felt that every episode of Life at Francesca’s. The color that best describes it is yellow for it is a bright sun shiny place. No matter what the weather was like outside it was never gray at Francesca’s
Yellow smiley faces come to mind when I think back on the times I felt like a clown with hair dye on top of my head. Every visit had some sort of crazy event so I was not surprized when from the window I saw a ladder fly off a cable truck driving down the street and landed on a parked car. Fran and I ran out like Lucy and Ethel to make sure all was OK. Except for the damaged car it was all fine. Life at the beauty shop was a place where for a little while you did not care what you looked like (dye on my hair) and ran out to help someone.
We are a family at Francesca’s. Sunshine Mary is a customer that must be in her 90’s as she was the librarian at the elementary school I attended as a child. She still lives in the neighborhood and is as bright and cheerful as she was years ago. Miriam is another customer also in her 90’s who is not as fortunate as Mary and can no longer leave the house. Fran goes to her apartment every Friday morning before opening the shop and does her hair.
Hairstylists and customers do not share moments like I had with Fran; she is my friend. I remember a number of times joining her at her Mothers house for lunch and watching Fran so patiently answer her Alzheimer questions over and over and over. I remember calling Fran on the day my Mom died and how she took time on a Sunday afternoon to come to the wake and spend time and comfort me. We had MANY funny times; one that comes to mind is Fran needed to have her car serviced so after dropping it off the only way we could get back was in the rear of his dirty van. The guy thought we were nuts as we laughed hysterically the entire trip. Oh and I will never forget the scary ride home when we saw the snowflakes were becoming blizzard like from the shop window and we held hands driving. We actually can laugh about it now because that is what friends do. You forget the bad stuff.
I realize to a reader these moments will not have the same effect on you as they had on me. I share them to emphasize how much I loved being a part of this special place. I know I will find a new salon and get stylish cuts but it will never be the same as Life At Francesca’s for me.
The theme song I chose for our special show is Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Fran always told me one day I would wake up and my clouds would be far behind me and she was SO right! When I spoke with Robin both at the shop and through social media my troubles melted like lemon drops which is why you always found me there.
Plots change and have many twists and unexpected turns. Rainbows need sunshine but also have tears mixed in for me right now. While I am excited to begin this brand new chapter I am sad to say good-bye to this very special show.
I the Orange flower will forever remember her Red and Rose friends. What a beautiful bouquet we have all become.
Our show is real only to us but I am forever thankful for the bright yellow friendship that bonds us forever. A bright yellow bond that we never would have received if it had not been for our LIFE AT FRANCESCA’S.
Editor’s Note: Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website: http://www.50plusstickingtogether.com/. She says, I have always thrived on inspiration. I love reading it everywhere I can find it. I am 57 and it has been a journey with many twists and turns. I invite all 50+ women to join me in discussions on this second chapter. Our road ahead is fun and exciting because these truly are the best days of our lives.