Last Saturday, I got what’s left of my hair cut.
Not exactly blog-worthy — except for this:
When Tom Ghianuly — who has been my barber at his Compo shop since I was a teenager, and who cut my father’s hair for even longer — asked what was new, I couldn’t tell him.
I couldn’t mention that the next day, over 100 of his many customers, friends and admirers had planned a surprise dinner in honor of his 50 years in business.
It’s not easy to keep a secret from a barber — especially one as well-connected and curious as Tom — but these guys did.
The event was the brainchild of attorney Dick Berkowitz. He had help from a group that included Jim Schadt, Alan Nevas, Ron Gordon, Les Giegerich and Steve Siegelaub.
It’s a microcosm of Tom’s clients and fans: a former CEO of Reader’s Digest,a retired US District Court judge, a guy who built half of Westport — all there to honor their longtime, beloved barber.
Giegerich — 96 years old — was almost 50 when Tom started cutting his hair. Seigelaub was 5.
That half-century span spoke volumes about Tom.
So did the presence of the Brooks family — Tom’s longtime landlord at Compo Shopping Center. How often do landlords fete their tenants?
A few people spoke. They presented Tom and his wife Carolyn with a weekend at the Ocean House at Watch Hill.
In typical Tom fashion, he never expected anything like this — even after half a century of work, even after seeing the Birchwood Country Club parking lot filled as he and the Berkowitzes drove up. (Dick had told Tom he’d take him and Carolyn out to dinner.)
“Boy, this place is packed!” Tom said.
He had no idea it was packed for him.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff was one of the many Westporters already inside. When the ceremony began, he read a proclamation. Then he gave a framed copy to Tom, to hang in his shop.
I’m guessing that on Tuesday — when Compo Center Barber Shop reopened — Tom was embarrassed to put the proclamation up. He’s much more comfortable with the many photos of historic Westport he’s collected, and which line the walls.
But after 5 decades, Tom Ghianuly is a very important part of town history too.