Barbers Marianne Andrade and Michelle Moore of Dan’s Barber Shop in downtown Manteca have been sharing their stories of Christmas past with clients at their North Maple Avenue shop.
Moore said she remembers having a boyfriend when she was only in kindergarten and thinking about a future husband when she was 7 and in the second grade. She and her husband Randy are now spending time watching Christmas movies – both happy and sad.
Both women came from a family of three kids and both were the second oldest in their homes. Moore said her husband at a young age had a history of unwrapping all the gifts placed for him under the tree and wherever else he could find them and then rewrapped them so no one would know – or so he thought.
Her family lived in both Palmdale and Victorville and she remembers her best gift was a Cabbage Patch Doll given to her by her grandmother.
“It was 1980 and the doll was the “it” gift. We had a fireplace and we were sure that Santa actually came down the chimney with Oreo cookies and milk left on the mantelpiece for him,” Moore said. “The milk had always been obviously sipped but the cookies were all gone without a trace of any crumbs left behind. The other gifts were things we kids needed like night gowns and pajamas.”
She said the stocking were always filled with small cars and candies and Chap Stick that they were told was girls’ makeup. Her dad worked nights as a security officer at Lockheed Aviation in Palmdale and the kids had to stay in their rooms until their dad came home on Christmas morning. They would soon get permission to come out of their rooms and wait for their grandparents to arrive.
Both remembered making ornaments at school with the help of their teachers that had their picture included – pictures their teachers had taken to round out their gifts for their parents.
Andrade grew up in Union City with two sisters and brother. She said as kids they wanted a real Christmas tree but mom and dad went for the artificial version that wouldn’t drop needles.
“We’d wake up before sunrise – with the first kid awake waking the others – and we would have a secret meeting about what was under the tree before we went down stairs,” Andrade said. “Dad was an engineer for a construction company. My dad has since (passed away) and mom is still living as is sweet as pie. All three of us unwrapped the presents we could find before Christmas and rewrapped them carefully back up.”
Andrade said her big gift at 7 was a pink and white Huffy bike that she will never forget even though she took a few spills Christmas morning skinning up her arms a little. At school she and her siblings took their teachers large shiny red apples and a coffee mug.
“Now that we are grown, we realize many of our customers have a lot of grief to deal with after losing a loved one during the year,” Moore said.
“You try to help keep their spirits up with a heart and soul approach while cutting their hair. And, it really affects all of us when we lose a client – I can really get choked up,” Moore said. “People are dealing with their own issues and we are more like family here. Healing from a loss takes time and patience. We have to build an emotional relationship with our new clients before we can talk and listen to them freely.”
She further noted that the “guys feel open that they can talk – its about the environment we have created in the shop.”
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.