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Senior citizens and teens bond at the beauty parlor

By KBell
May 6, 2011 at 12:06 a.m.

Minnie Hernandez bursts into laughter while getting her hair cut by Victoria West senior Monica Trevino on Friday afternoon at the Victoria County Senior Citizens Center. High School seniors from the VISD Career and Technology Institute's cosmetology class gave free haircuts and manicures to anyone over the age of 60 as a Mother's Day tribute.

It was your typical beauty parlor - the gray-headed ladies gossiping and cackling, comparing nail colors and admiring haircuts.

But at the other end of the sheers and nail files were high school students, who between cuts and polishes were having just as much fun as their pampered clients.

"They have a teenager, older-person bond. I mean, look at them," said the students' cosmetology instructor, Brenda Dungan.

She was pointing past the four hairdressing stations and to the manicure table, where three senior citizens were cracking up the three high-schoolers beautifying their hands.

The cosmetology students from Victoria's Career and Technology Institute were at the Victoria County Senior Citizens Center on Murray Street, providing free services as a tribute to Mother's Day.

But it seemed the ladies weren't quite over the most recent holiday - Cinco de Mayo.

Beatrize Rodriguez, who just had a few inches cut from her hair, was replaying her evening that she spent dancing at the same center.

"I'm a dancing freak," the 71-year-young woman said. "If I don't have a dancing partner, I dance by myself in the kitchen."

Ashley Carisalez, 16, was nearly finished applying the glittering pink nail polish on her footloose client. The color matched Rodriguez's pink flower ring and pink pearls.

"It was quiet in here at first, and then we all just jumped into conversation," Ashley said. "You want to make them feel better, especially before Mother's Day, too. It's a treat for them."

Next to Rodriguez and Ashley, Bertha Garcia had one hand painted "Melon of Troy," a peachy color that Garcia said will go with everything.

"It's just wonderful to have (the teenagers) here. You have all these old people all the time," she joked. "Seeing the young ones is nice."

With four children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, Garcia said she was getting dolled up for nothing more than a relaxing afternoon before the holiday weekend.

"Just to watch my novelas at home," she quipped.

Working on Garcia's hand was Sabrina Vasquez, an 18-year-old who said she always wanted to do her grandmother's nails, but the manicures have been more difficult since her grandmother's stroke.

"Since I was little I always wanted to do nails and makeup, and you know how you always have a guinea pig? She was mine - the only girl in the house," she said.

Sabrina so much enjoyed her morning with the ladies, she said she told her teacher she didn't want to leave.

But their shift was over, and the long line of clients waiting for their turn with the youngsters would have to wait until the afternoon shift came on board.

Rodriguez was just getting started, though, when she held up her hands to admire the polished work.

"Maybe I'll go dancing again," she said.



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