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Celebrating Peace House people

By Mike Hazard

MIKE HAZARD
James, Tony, and Janette (left to right) focused on a haircut Tony kept saying, “Don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be afraid

Janette, a retired psychologist who counseled couples (and who’s losing her hearing and was always letting couples know they were not hearing each other), was giving Tony a haircut at Peace House while James advised. 

“Don’t be afraid,” Tony kept saying, “to press really hard with the shaver. Don’t be afraid.” 

She was doing good, but she was afraid of pressing too hard. After awhile, James took over. The intimate trio was entertaining, and serious. Everyone wanted a good haircut. James explained how to cultivate a wave, how to shave a face.

Tony nicknamed Janette, Jean T. Jay. It was a scene that embodies the blessed heart of Peace House. People doing good together.

MIKE HAZARD
Peace House manager Marti typed in his office while Charlie gave Tom a haircut in the hallway. Peace House is always busy with tasks.

SO WE FEEL BETTER ABOUT OURSELVES

Charlie gives haircuts at Peace House on Fridays. He sets up in the hallway. “After lunch, there are too many people who need the bathroom so we cut hair in the hall. My father used to cut our hair. I learned from him. I started cutting hair at Carleton, 50 years ago. It was 35 cents or a pack of cigarettes. I do them free now, so it is the only thing that costs less now than then.”

A man stopped, looked, listened, and said, “It is always good to have a Cost Cutters at Peace House. So we feel better about ourselves.”

Tom already had a crewcut. He wanted the sides tapered. Charlie went at it. Tom said, “I was a wandering liberal arts major then I went to a company that became Adobe.” They talked about writing. Tom wondered if it was a good business. Not. Not anymore.

“Nobody knows if you’re working or not when you’re a writer,” joked Charlie. “I’m still writing. I gave up on the last novel I was writing. I decided it was not working. I’m still writing about politics and good government. I write for entertainment. I still write short pieces for the fun of it.”

“Human touch,” Charlie writes, “felt even through a machine.”

“Like Rumi, who said, ‘You must ask for what you really want,’ I want to tell them, this time is yours alone, for as long as you need. It’s okay here to ask for what your heart desires, and I will do the best I can to fulfill it.”

Tom looked at himself in the hand mirror. “No matter where I go, people think I’m a cop.” We three grinned.

These picture stories have been made by the artist Mike Hazard as part of a project celebrating Peace House People. The project is funded by an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. A selection of the work will be exhibited at Franklin Library in April, 2020.

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