Niagara Gazette

Columns

March 21, 2014

HAMILTON: Fool us once, shame on you; but fool us always?

Niagara Gazette — Many, if not most of the kids that attended the old Beech Avenue School back in the 1960s can remember the day that young Tommy Carter arrived there. He was the very cute little boy that all of the girls wanted and all of the boys who wanted the girls that wanted him were, well, jealous.

While he was a handsome child, the thing that was most notable about him was not his chiseled, but youthful features. No, it was that one thing that was most unique about him, the thing that made the elementary school kid look far more mature than his young age. For you see, amid his dark and turbulent waves of hair, like the tiny sail of a wind-tossed boat at the edge of an ebon sea, Tommy had a small square of pure white hair that sat just above his eye.

Later in life, Tommy learned to cut hair. For me, and it may have been as long as 20 years ago, I had an important meeting to attend and my regular barber was out of town. Someone told me of Tommy’s skills; so I found him and sat in a chair in his living room beneath the buzz of his clippers. As I watched him dash back and forth from side to side and mowing the bushy crown above my head. But like a mirror to the past, that little white square, still prominent in his dark hair, was the focus of my eye; and it took me back to Beech Avenue School and to the ‘60s. 

Whereas, as kids, I could never must the nerves to ask him about it, as an adult, I had overcome my shyness and decided that I would for the first time. “Tommy,” I said. “You still have that white patch in your hair. Why is it that you never died your hair black?”

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