For years, I had been audition of the fable that is octogenarian, celebrity beautician George Papalimberis. He is the admirable buyer of “La Flamme” barbershop in Harvard Square, accepting cut the beard of endless Harvard notables for decades — from a adolescent Barack Obama to Michael Dukakis, still a angel of “the best acclaimed Greek Beautician in the USA” today. Additionally, George is additionally “one of the wisest men you will anytime meet” according to my aide Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation assistant at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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“I will booty you to accommodated him one day,” Prof. Reimers would acquaint me in passing, on-and-off afresh for the accomplished 9 years, agreeable me initially back I was a apprentice at HGSE, to still agreeable me now in my role as Preceptor on Communications and Director of Digital Communications Strategy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“You charge a haircut. You consistently assume to charge a haircut,” he would say with a wink.
Protective of my long, moppy beard and blessed with my accepted barber, I demurred these bi-annual offerings. That is until aftermost month, back the stars accumbent and I was both a.) actual abutting to a mullet and b.) had a affair canceled at the actual aforementioned time Prof. Reimers arrive me to get a crew with him.
“Wonderful! We’ll airing over together, I’ll acquaint you to George and we will accept to him and ask him questions about life,” Reimers exclaimed with buck excitement. “And, the crew will be my treat.” Uncertain of what was to come, alfresco of alive I didn’t charge to accompany cash, at 1:00 P.M. on an backward Tuesday in Harvard Square, I met up with Prof. Reimers and we absolved to see a man about a haircut.
Now at this point in the story, I could easily, effusively admonish about how alluring and astute George Papalimberis was — about how about every added angel in the barbershop was cat-and-mouse for his chair, and didn’t apperception affably crumbling added accessible chairs with beneath or no waits. I could acquaint you he gave me a abuse acceptable haircut, aggregate untold belief of Harvard Squre lore, and seemed clear-sighted in his ability of both civic backroom and the bounded apartment market. This above Greek cop angry Harvard Square academy was by all accounts exceptional, exciting, and beyond the abreast 10-year advertising of my oft-declined crew excursion.
But pray, acquiesce me this detour: I believe, to Prof. Reimers, the joy acquired in that afternoon was in introducing me to his acquaintance George and witnessing my official Harvard Square ablution in an adjustable armchair on Dunster Street. I admired it and relished affair George, but amidst the anniversary season, it is adamantine to not accept this adventure angle appear the abstruse acknowledgment unearthed in amid the cracks of the aberrant and the exciting.
Nothing decidedly affecting happened on my airing over to La Flamme with Prof. Fernando Reimers, nor in the 30-minute delay for George’s armchair to accessible up. Our chit-chat was not hyped, nor was there accent on how abundant acumen would be attained. We laughed, joked, and discussed aggregate from relationships and ancestry to accepted parenting trends. There was accomplished acceptation in our accidental chatter, minutia of abounding account during an afternoon initially added focused on the destination over the journey. We were two guys accepting haircuts on our cafeteria breach from assignment and admiring every accustomed additional of it.
With friendship, there is generally no ultimate accession point. It is in this adventure that the seeds of acquaintance germinate, until admiration of wonders, you acquisition yourself acutely beholden that afterwards all these years at Harvard — now sitting in a Greek-owned, French-named beautician boutique lobby — you may accept about accidentally, yet joyously, become accompany with someone.
And if you’re advantageous like me, their name is Fernando Reimers.
Matt Weber, Ed.M.’11 is a Preceptor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Director of Digital Communications Strategy, and occassionally gets affected about the holidays afterwards the allowance of a haircut.
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