Meet Lolo Saldana in his barbershop, aptly named Lolo’s Barbershop, on Catalina Island. At 83, Lolo opens his shop every day to a steady stream of heads that need clipping and beards that need his still steady hand on a straight razoer. He can hardly get through a sentence without calling out a greeting to someone walking by the open door. We met a few years ago when I was working on my book, Flourish: People with Disabilities Living Life with Passion. Lolo introduced me to Tony, a young man who lives in Avalon. He comes by Lolo’s shop to chat, sometimes to get a haircut, to work out problems and, most importantly, to put up and take down the flag that hangs by Lolo’s spinning barber pole. “It’s an important job,” Tony says, “because people feel happy when they see the flag.”
We stop in to visit whenever we go to Avalon and each time, I am drawn to make photos of Lolo at his labour of love in his eclectic shop. We love the consistency of the man and the place. Lolo always laughs and wonders when I’ll have enough pictures. Lolo was born on the island; his father worked for William Wrigley Jr., the gum guy. Lolo knows everything about the island and almost everyone on it. He is still an avid golfer and we were happy to see him a few times on this trip; the following week, he was heading ‘overtown’ to go golfing for several days.
It’s a rare breed, this kind of barbershop – as is this type of kind and generous man. Rob Hammer is a photographer in San Diego who wants to capture this cultural gem –the old fashioned barbershop before it disappears. See his collection so far. Coincidentally, the photos of Lolo that appear in Rob’s collection feature a younger version of Matthew, the serious young man being tended to on the day of my recent visit.
See you next year, Lolo!