With Love, Laura Beth

Words from my heart

Cool Connections

I hate to admit it, but I paid $160 to get my hair cut and colored once. The day was May 6, 2010, and never in my life had I paid so much money (including tip). I had assumed that a high-end salon would be my stairway to hair heaven. But no, no, no . . . $160 did not set my feet on streets of glittery gold.

When the stylist whisked the cape from my neck and announced, “All done,” I stood up and stared at my reflection in stunned silence. Something wasn’t right! Something about the cut made my natural waves go haywire on one side. My heart went wild—should I laugh, cry, SCREAM?!? As I dangled the warped wave between my fingertips, I managed to stammer, “ca-ca-can you fix this?”

I then lowered one butt cheek onto the salon chair armrest and watched nervously as the stylist did her best to make things right. She came close, but no cigar, so I went home and did what all bathroom hairstylists do—I cut it myself. Good thing I liked my color!

But there’s more to the story. Something else good happened that day at the salon . . . I “met” Katherine and Suzy.

Suzy book Green notebook

During the color-processing stage of my appointment, I had flipped through the May 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar and landed on a story by journalist Katherine Rosman. In “Getting to Know Your Mother,” Rosman shared stories about her mother, Suzy, who had died of lung cancer at the age of 60. After Suzy’s death, Rosman embarked on a mission to discover Suzy beyond their mother-daughter relationship. Thanks to her mother’s Filofax, Rosman made countless connections that led her into the fabulous, eccentric world of Suzy Rosin.

One of the connections was Hattie Whitehead, the former owner of a high-end boutique where Suzy loved to buy designer clothes (designers I had never heard of—Sonia Rykiel, Karl Lagerfled, Jil Sander). In the final paragraph of the article, Rosman wrote, “ . . . from Whitehead I learned that my mom didn’t just wear clothes. She understood them. She had style—an instinctual sense of what was worth buying and how it expressed what she wanted to say about herself.”

I have struggled with style, so the idea of understanding clothes intrigued me—Suzy intrigued me. Where did her instinctual sense come from? How does a woman become confident in expressing herself?

Inspired by Suzy, I pulled my little lime-green notebook from my purse and jotted down the paragraph, adding, “My style: what does it say? My shopping style? My clothing style? My hair style?”

In the months that followed, I thought of Suzy often when I shopped or had my hair done. And I had Rosman’s book, If You Knew Suzy, on my to-buy list. I was eager to know Suzy better as I plodded along my self-discovery journey, yet I didn’t buy the memoir until 2012. Even then, it sat patiently on my shelf three more years. Finally, I got to know Suzy and her daughter Katherine “Katie” Rosman this summer. About halfway through the book, I got an irresistible urge to send Katie an email.

“Dear Katie, I love connecting with people, and want to share how your life has connected with mine even though we’ve never met. Five years ago while getting my hair cut and colored . . .”

Katie replied! She thanked me for the note, and I was excited about making such a cool connection. As I continued reading her book, my intrigue and excitement mounted when I hit page 161. Katie unwrapped a beautiful story involving Reverend John R. Claypool, a world renowned Episcopal priest. I quickly took a picture of page 161 with my phone and sent a text to my friend Heidi Claypool.

“I’m reading a book called If You Knew Suzy by Katherine Rosman. True story about Katie’s mom. Just had to show you the page I’m on . . . it’s talking about a John R. Claypool . . . who knows, maybe a relative of Dave’s!”

“It’s very possible! Two Claypool brothers came from England on the Mayflower and supposedly all Claypool in the U.S. are descendants from those brothers. I’ll ask Dave!”

“Wow!! That is fascinating!”

“I know they were Episcopalian! One of the Claypools is Betsy Ross.”

“Betsy Ross? This keeps getting better! How fun to be reading a book that has this connection to you and Dave :)”

“Yes 🙂 Dave just answered that yes they are related!”

“SO COOL!!!”

“It is!!”

As of today, August 3, 2015, I have climbed a few stairs closer to hair heaven with my $30 pixie (including tip) and my natural color (sparkly silver). But best of all, I have cool connections and friendships—in heaven and on earth—that are worth more than any silver, worth more than any gold. Why?

Because friendship never goes out of style.





8 comments on “Cool Connections

  1. Laura Beth
    August 5, 2015


  2. Bailey
    August 4, 2015


  3. Laura Beth
    August 4, 2015

    You’re an expert in narrative, Jessica, so thank you for your words of encouragement!

  4. Laura Beth
    August 4, 2015

    Thank you, Bonnie!

  5. Bonnie Phillips
    August 4, 2015

    Lovely read

  6. Jessica Witrago
    August 3, 2015

    Yes! Great writing Laura Beth, And great conversation regarding connections. Never forget that even sharing a narrative has the capacity to connect us to others.

  7. Laura Beth
    August 3, 2015

    Yes, it is lovely, Lisa . . . and I’ve loved being connected to you for over 30 years! Thank you for your comment 🙂

  8. Lisa Bundy
    August 3, 2015

    Isn’t it lovely how connected we all are.. how nothing really happens by accident? Thanks, Laura Beth!

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