Everything comes in cycles for Karla Fredricks.
But that’ll happen when you spend 45 years not only in the same profession, but at the same business as well.
Today, 44 years and 10 months after she first started working at Sadie’s Salon, Fredricks is calling it quits – packing up everything and moving to Sonora before eventually making her way up to Idaho to spend the rest of her days in relative isolation from the problems of the rest of the world.
And some of Manteca’s most influential are going to miss her.
On Friday, while Fredricks was in the middle of a hair appointment, Geroge Perry – “The Pumpkin King” – made his way into the salon to give her a freshly picked watermelon from one of his fields and give her a goodbye hug. His wife Violet, a longtime client of Fredricks, sat in the car outside and prompted her to take a second away from her appointment to go exchange pleasantries with one of Manteca’s First Ladies of the Fields.
“I’ll be right back. I have to go say hi,” she said as dashed out the door – the comb still in her hand.
Such is life when you’ve spent more than four decades cutting, coloring, perming and styling hair in Manteca. You hear all of the stories. You meet all of the people. And you develop the kind of friendships, she says, that are going to be incredibly hard to walk away from.
“The people are what I’m going to miss about this the most. They really do become like family,” she said. “I have one lady left that has been coming to me since I first started here. But there are others that have been coming for a long time, and you really get to know them and their kids and their families.
“There’s a bond there. I’m really going to miss that.”
And her clients are going to miss that too.
Gladys Park arrived early for her 11 a.m. appointment with Fredricks, but that didn’t stop the short-timer from coming out and greeting her as she made her way into the waiting area.
Park moved here five years ago to live with her daughter, and when she sought out a place to get her hair tended to, the recommendation that she received was for Fredricks – making her relatively new on her long list of clients.
That, however, hasn’t stopped Park from growing to love the woman that has captured the heart of thousands of women that have sat in her chair over the years. She said she’s going to miss her when she’s gone.
“She does such a great job with my hair, and she’s always so pleasant to be around,” Park said. “I look forward to coming down here for these appointments. She’s a great lady, and I’m going to miss her.”
Fredricks has also garnered the respect of her colleagues and coworkers.
In a salon that boasts hundreds of years of experience among those who staff the chairs, Fredricks represents a huge departure for the 77-year-old business. Owner Tim Cabral said that her experience and her longevity made her a staple, and her demeanor made her a model of what those coming up aspired to be.
“It’s not very common to have somebody that spends that amount of time in one place, and I think that’s a testament to her amazing work ethic and her dedication,” Cabral said. “She adds so much, and always served as a true professional and a role model and mentor.”