Tuesday, February 13, 2007

this is the sort of story we need to read more of

“THERE’S MORE LOVE on this street corner than in all the state of Connecticut," says Anthony Cymerys, also known as Joe the Barber. David Weaver, left, is a regular visitor in front of the former YMCA building in downtown Hartford, where Joe gives free haircuts and food every Wednesday. (MARK MIRKO)

this is the sort of PERSON we need MORE of. giving. this is real giving. caring. this is real caring. at 75, he's not giving up. neither should we

A Hug For A Haircut Joe The Barber, With The Help Of Friends, Fosters Fellowship On A Hartford Street Corner

By JENNIFER WARNER COOPER Special To The Courant February 11 2007

It's 5 p.m. on a wintry Wednesday, with temperatures in the low 20s. Joe the Barber is on the sidewalk outside Hartford's former YMCA building, talking softly to a man with cuts and bruises on his face. He removes his own wool hat and gently fits it over the raw stitches on the man's forehead. He reaches up to tug the hat gently over the man's ears once, twice."You need to keep your head warm," Joe urges.Joe the Barber, whose given name is Anthony Cymerys, sets up his alfresco barbershop and snack bar across from Bushnell Park every Wednesday.Balding and white-haired, the 5-foot-6 Cymerys passes out sandwiches from the back of his gray Dodge Caravan and ladles soup from a stainless-steel stockpot that sits in a cooler on the sidewalk. Steam from the soup carries the smell of hot chicken broth up and over the cold concrete steps of the vacant building.No matter what the weather, Cymerys, 75, has set up shop here once a week for the past decade. In warmer weather, as many as 50 people gather here, but in winter, it's more like 15 to 20 regulars.Beards are trimmed, and hair is clipped. Cymerys can do a buzz, a fade, a zero, "whatever styles the guys ask for."His fee never varies - a hug for a haircut............


Jennifer Warner Cooper said...

Thank you for sharing my story on your blog.
There are many more things to say about the community of poor and homeless in Hartford, a group I am so fortunate to have met.

a rose is a rose said...

no jennifer, i thank YOU for writing it

Jennifer Warner Cooper said...

My pleasure, Rose. I'd like to write more. Their stories are kind of amazing. Would you honor me by tuning in for a few minutes as I fill in for Colin on Tuesday? Call in, if you want. I'm... uhhh..a little nervous.

a rose is a rose said...

oh absolutely i'll tune in on tuesday. i may be in and out but i'll try to listen as much as possible.

it's easy to say, don't be nervous, but don't be nervous.