‘Hair Cut…Two Bits’…. Nostalgia – (part 6)

Just because……….the few people that have purchased or read my first book of poetry seemed to love this story the most, I thought I would share it with my readers.

cathedral, New Orleans, history, music This story originated from old papers, receipts and journals owned by Marcel Guerman that I found in a trunk in the attic of a building on Camp Street in New Orleans.  The building was being renovated into apartments and I was to be the first tenant.  My third floor walk-up looked out on St. Patrick’s cathedral. (seen here)  One day we crept up to the attic to take a look. Among the many things in the attic was a single, cherrywood door of an armoire that I have to this day. Off in a corner was a leather and metal ribbed trunk forgotten for decades. As I read pawn tickets, journals, papers of this stranger’s life, from decades earlier,  I could envision this European man as clearly as if he stood next me.    I wrote the first draft in 1979.

                                                  Haircut…….2 bits  © by Trisha Sugarek

Freighters struggled through the birth canal of the Mighty Miss-a-sip fighting to escape the specula of the Gulf, andNew Orleans, music, cello, history like a birth, exploded into the river.  The Ole’ Man rushed out to sea carrying in its  afterbirth the flotsam of cotton fields miles up river, bloody mud from the swamps and memories of old storms.

The huge ships, having conquered oceans far and wide, struggled through the breach. Grander vessels, all teak and silver bright, sweep down the old river.  Like matronly ladies, they glided along the watery promenade, decked out in their finest.

The ships were piloted to the wayside amidst the cries of sailors from a hundred lands. The year is 1934 and a deckhand and barber named Marcel stepped off the freighter.   A barber by trade, a cellist by vocation.

To make his passage from war ravaged Europe, he pawned his bow; a work of art with a turquoise and mother of pearl inlaid handle.   A paltry sacrifice to gain one’s freedom but one might ask the question….’how can a musician play everymusic, cello, history day without a bow?’ To reclaim his prize, Marcel set up a simple stand, laid out his scissors, towels and dusted off the straight back chair. His simple placard read: “Hair cut– Two Bits”.

At sea for months,  his business was brisk. Deck hands, galley cooks, mechanics, engineers, and officers all stopped by Marcel’s for a dockside hair cut and shave.  Most customers took him at face value. Little did they

haircuts, history, cellist, New Orleansrealize that the hands that so carefully cut their hair were the hands of a virtuoso cellist. A renaissance man, born in Paris in 1897, and schooled at a famous music  conservatory in Brussels.

His enemies called him a bum, a gambler, a misfit and a rebel. Marcel fit in comfortably in this city of nér’ do wells. ‘The City Who Care Forgot’.  He was a master at the game of chance.  The turn of a card, the toss of the dice, the pounding hooves of a horse. Did Marcel actually need the money earned by cutting hair? Many said he did if luck turned her back.

When Lady Luck frowned at him, Marcel would be on foot, hauling his table and chair to the docks. But when the Lady smiled, and she did frequently for Marcel, he would drive down the streets of the Vieux Carre in a new, yellow Cadillac convertible…the front passenger seat gone so that his beloved cello could ride beside him.New Orleans, history, cello, music

Marcel didn’t care about money.  Just allow him to be near the sights, sounds, and the air of the delta river.  Close to the mighty ships, the men who served on them.  The freighters were the benchmark of Marcel’s freedom; of new beginnings for himself and his music.

Years passed and Marcel traveled across this great land, playing in many orchestras. But, he always returned to New Orleans and the song of his heart. What kept calling him back? Was it the city, a tired, rouge stained whore of a city or was it the docks, the majestic Mississippi River and her water traffic that beckoned him back time and again?

cellist, cello, history, New Orleans…….The symphony of a great city and her river.
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Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . These authors have already responded and you can read their interviews by clicking on their name: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal,  Karen Robards, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Raymond Benson, Heidi Jon Schmidt, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author with a bonus chat with Cathy Lamb.  and September will feature Tasha Alexander. Jeffrey Deaver is November’s author and  slick mystery writers, Raymond Benson and Andrew Grant will join us this winter. Loretta Chase will be featured later this year. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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