Homewood. Supercuts hair salon. The young woman cutting my hair goes by the name Shelby. She is as country as a collard, with an accent like Ribbon cane syrup.
She is 21. She is constantly laughing. She smiles a lot. All the customers here do the same whenever Shelby is around. This girl is Pollyanna.
I ask where Shelby’s originally from.
“Woodstock,” she says. “Not the one in New York. The one in Alabama.”
I would have never guessed.
I ask how she got started styling hair.
“Started cutting hair when I was 10 years old. My mama was a hairstylist, but she didn’t cut men’s hair, so Daddy would hand me the scissors and say, ‘You cut my hair, Shelbylane.’ That’s my real name, Shelbylane. My daddy wanted me to have a double first name like a Southern belle. Do you want me to trim the clumps of hair shooting straight out of your ears?”
While Shelbylane works steadily, I’m trying to imagine a world wherein a grown man would give a 10-year-old child surgically sharpened scissors and allow the child to take a whack at his head.
“Your father trusted you a lot, to let you cut his hair when you were so little.”
She laughs. “Oh, Daddy believed in me so much. His confidence in me made me what I am. When I was a kid, I felt like I could do anything because of his faith in me. Do you want me to trim your unibrow, sir?”
“Please. Does your father live in Woodstock?”
“No, he passed away.”
“It’s okay. He died when I was 14. I’ve had time to deal with it. But I miss him real bad.”
I know all about daddies dying at young ages. I know all about missing daddies real bad.
“But I have a theory,” says Shelbylane, firing up her electric clippers. “If you lose your parent at a young age, it can either make you a good person or a bad one. I know a lot of people who let it ruin them. But I think Daddy’s death made me a good person. I learned that this life is not all there is.”
“What about your mother?”
“She run off when my daddy died.”
“I was raised by my grandparents. Did you want me to shave the hair on your neck? It’s like a carpet back here.”
“Yes. Thank you. I’ll bet your grandparents are proud of how well you’ve turned out.”
“Well, my grandmother died. She had dementia. So now it’s just my granddaddy and my step-sister.”
“Do you like your job?”
She smiles largely. “Oh, yessir. I love my job. I went to school and worked hard to learn to cut men’s and women’s hair. It took a long, long time, I practiced a lot. I am a very hard worker.
“When I got my first job at a local salon, they wouldn’t let me cut hair, they made me do petty jobs, like cleaning toilets and stuff. I didn’t mind, but I kept begging them, ‘Please, let me prove what I can do, let me show you how I cut hair on a mannequin or something.’ But they wouldn’t let me. So I quit, and here I am at Supercuts.”
“Do you like Supercuts?”
“Like it? I love it. I don’t have many regular clients yet, but this is my dream job. I have always wanted to cut hair and be my own boss, and now I’m doing it, right here in Homewood! Of all places! Pinch me.”
“It’s just Homewood.”
“Compared to Woodstock, it’s Hollywood.”
“I don’t know many folks who feel about their jobs the way you do.”
“Well, cutting hair isn’t just a job, it’s more than that. It’s about making people feel good about themselves, about helping people love themselves. I’m so lucky to be doing this for a living. I feel like I’m in a movie.”
When she finishes her work, my haircut ranks among the best haircuts I’ve ever received. My hair looks perfect, it’s only too bad about my face. I’ve never been a looker. When I was a kid, before group photos someone always handed me the camera.
“Do you like your haircut?” she asks, passing me the mirror, spinning my chair.
“I do. Your father was right. You’re an artist.”
“Thank you. Come back and see me again. I need all the new clients I can get.”
Well, Shelbylane, let me see what I can do about that.
Jamie C - February 3, 2023 2:50 am
Homewood single momma paying all I can to keep my son in these schools. So I sure could use a Supercuts artist like Shelby Lane. Plus she knows real pain. So she can be trusted. Beautiful post.
Trudy - February 3, 2023 2:55 am
I wish there were more Shelbylanes and Seans in this world.
Julia - February 3, 2023 2:56 am
Shelbylane. If I were closer, I’d be in your chair tomorrow. Thank you Sean.
Oliver Rhett Talbert - February 3, 2023 2:56 am
I loved this. I’ve been to a local Supercuts and a handful of other established barbers, but I recently found a young black girl who’s set up her shop in a dying mall near me. Like your new stylist, she’s passionate, an artist who believes in God and herself, in that order. She’s learning on me and few other regulars, and she is easy to like. When she has a slow day, she does home deliveries for the nearby WalMart. Her husband works hard and they’ve started a family. She asked if I wanted a Bible when I checked out; I told her I was a retired preacher, and I carry a half-dozen in my car wherever I go. She said I didn’t look old enough to be retired, which of course earned her an even bigger tip.
Linda Hubbard - February 3, 2023 2:58 am
Peggy C - February 3, 2023 3:00 am
It’s so nice to meet Shelbylane. Thank you for introducing her!
Steve - February 3, 2023 3:03 am
God bless her…and you.
Max - February 3, 2023 3:15 am
There are Shelbylane’s everywhere. They’re all around us, working jobs they sometimes love and sometimes hate, but striving to take care of their kids and often ailing parents. In every country in the world. God Bless them.
Tom Provost - February 3, 2023 3:27 am
What is the address of Shelby SuperCuts? I need to know so I can get my hair cut there. Thank you, Sir!
kingswaydaughter - February 3, 2023 3:30 am
I have been cutting my own hair now since the beginning of Covid. I wear my hair so the unprofessionalism of my haircut isn’t really noticeable. I’m sure Shelbylane could clean it up real good but the 2k road trip would be unpractical; but otherwise, I’d be there. Good luck Shelbylane and God Bless ….you are a success story.
Crystal Pariseau - February 3, 2023 3:32 am
I love you Sean Dietrich.. you make me smile, laugh and sometimes cry. I admire you for the true love you have with your beautiful wife. You both have hearts for a blind pup that you took on and you both are so genuinely kind .
Your writings reflect your care and consideration for all people.
You paint pictures with your words.
You bless me daily and for that I thank you.
God Bless.. know that so many of us love y’all.
Carol from GA - February 3, 2023 11:14 am
Crystal…. my words and feelings exactly!! Sean… you are loved by so many! Be open to receiving all the wonderful thoughts that come your way💙
Linda Halfpop - February 3, 2023 3:36 am
Anne Arthur - February 3, 2023 3:15 pm
Another good column to lift me up and make me smile. Great writing!
thomas penn montgomery - February 3, 2023 3:43 am
Great to build up the confidence in young people when their parents die young ! Been there and raised 2 sisters ! And her comment is so correct , it either makes you or breaks you !
Maggie - February 3, 2023 3:48 am
Oh my goodness I sure hope she is blessed by all the folks that are reading this in your home area!! Bless her and do get a haircut ❤️
Patricia Vasquez - February 3, 2023 3:52 am
I too wish I were closer! God bless all the Shelbylanes of the world.
John - February 3, 2023 3:56 am
Heartwarming article. Thank you
Patrick Wolfe - February 3, 2023 4:01 am
I read an enthusiastic person is possessed by God. No wonder Shelbylane is so terrific. Throw her a curve ball, she has been hitting them all her life. I hope they are lined up tomorrow for her.
David Britnell - February 3, 2023 4:04 am
If I’m ever in Homewood I’m gonna look up Shelbylane! And Sean, there is nothing wrong with your face and you have a heart of gold to go with it. Thanks for all that you share with us!!
MAM - February 3, 2023 4:09 am
If she’s not too far away, you should become her client. She needs them, and you like the way she cuts hair. I’ve been going to the same gal for 23 years. She was recommended by a neighbor and she always makes me look as good as I can look.
Candy Parker - February 3, 2023 4:45 am
She makes me feel good about myself just reading about her. What a blessing!
Jean McCrady - February 3, 2023 4:59 am
If I lived anywhere near Homewood, I’d certainly let Shelbylane cut my hair, and I would give her the biggest tip I’ve ever given anyone.
PMc - February 3, 2023 5:04 am
♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ just perfect! Thank you for giving that sweet girl her wish. She is about to see how many people will take your advice and come her way.
Peace and Love from Birmingham🙏♥️
Susie - February 3, 2023 5:14 am
Della Haase - February 3, 2023 5:23 am
Best advertisement a hairdresser can get– a happy client who tells his/her friends! She hit the jackpot with you, Sean! You’ve got more friends than Carter’s got pills. Great story!
Brant - February 3, 2023 5:41 am
Good one! If I ever go to Homewood, I’ll get Shelbylane to cut my hair!
Linda Moon - February 3, 2023 5:52 am
I’m not too far from Shelby in Homewood. I’ll chat her up while she’s cutting my hair when I go to Homewood Supercuts while she improves my homemade haircut!
Pat - February 3, 2023 9:22 am
I love this!
FrankinSC - February 3, 2023 10:48 am
Apparently she has an Instagram page. @shelbysupercuts
Eva - February 3, 2023 11:07 am
People like Shelbylane make the world a better place by helping her customers feel a bit more cheerful and look even better.
chris - February 3, 2023 11:12 am
what a great “job” you have! You can impact so many people’s lives in so many different ways…..Sean you are a very gifted and lucky man.
Tracy - February 3, 2023 11:59 am
My late father, who died in a bicycle accident at 92 in July 2019, always got his haircut at the nearby Supercuts. As he got older and it was harder for him to go places on his own, I accompanied him to Supercuts. He usually got the same stylist, and she was so kind and friendly to him. In fact, everyone there, the staff and the other customers, were nice to be around. It must be a good place to work.
mccutchen52 - February 3, 2023 11:59 am
A good haircut can make your day but the person cutting your hair can also make your day or at least mine do.
sjhl7 - February 3, 2023 12:15 pm
Great story! Love learning about people who can take difficulty and turn it into a positive in their life. Makes me happy!
Michael M Mack - February 3, 2023 12:32 pm
I’m tempted to drive to Homewood just to get my hair cut.
Angela - February 3, 2023 12:47 pm
I own my own hair salon and have been a licensed cosmetologist for 20+ years. I’m 38 🙂 I still feel like “Shelby lane”. I’m an artist but more importantly, I’m a safe place. I love my clients, I pray for them. I have been to most of their homes and there’s not one that I would require payment from before they left. I cry with them when life happens, even if it’s been 15 years since their child died. If they need to cry, we cry. I go to their parents funerals. I go to their children’s weddings and usually fix their hair as we talk and get the nerves out. We laugh A LOT 🙂 I have to stop working often because a client will get me laughing so hard I am bent over with my side hurting. When my dad died during 2020 covid, they prayed, sent cards, brought me books, hugged me. When covid shut my salon down, they left money on my doorstep and checked to make sure myself and my kids weren’t without. I have THE BEST clients on the planet!!! (They also all have AMAZING hair!!) They are my mentors, my friends, my family. I do life with my clients in a very cherished, sacred environment. I’m not in their circle. The hairstylist/client is its own circle. It’s a safe place to bare your soul and there aren’t many safe places left.
Thank you for sharing about Shelbylane. Sounds like she’s got a great future in a great profession!
~Angela (also from Alabama)
Sandy Sayre - February 3, 2023 12:51 pm
Sean, I had never heard of you until a friend shared your column about Will’s entrance to heaven this week and I fell in love with my you immediately!! Shared it with everyone and went to your webpage and got on your mailing list. Since I have 4 grown kids and 7 grandkids I can’t adopt you but I would if I could!!! Love to have you come to Madison Florida and share your life with us!!! Hurry…I’m 82 so I am not hanging around here forever…God bless you Sean
Gwen - February 3, 2023 12:59 pm
What a joyful, inspirational story!!! ❤️❤️❤️ . Good gal !!!
Norman Turnipseed - February 3, 2023 1:23 pm
Sean, you are an amazing person with a wonderful heart.
Love your writings.
Michael Sellers - February 3, 2023 1:54 pm
Love It !!!
Sallie D Snyder - February 3, 2023 1:55 pm
Richard Owen - February 3, 2023 2:18 pm
Shelbylane’s love of her job reminds me of the joy I had each day for 10 years working as the lone photographer (and sports writer) for a small weekly, The Walton Sun. When people asked me about my work, I told them “I get to go play every day.”
Sandra Jones - February 3, 2023 2:32 pm
I admire this young lady . She is inspiring
Paul Alge - February 3, 2023 2:48 pm
Blessed are the weird people The Artist The Writers The Music Makers The Dreamers The Outsiders for they force us to see the world differently
johnny blevins - February 3, 2023 3:07 pm
Thanks and have a good day..you and Shelbylane both.
Edith Reed - February 3, 2023 3:16 pm
Patrice - February 3, 2023 3:30 pm
If I wasn’t a girl with natural, very kinky curly hair I’d let Shelbylane cut my hair just because I like her, and I don’t even know her. I read the story in my southern voice and I could almost see her face. Beautifully written! Shelbylane, keep doing what you love and making your daddy proud.
Pubert Earle Bozemann - February 3, 2023 3:46 pm
Pone, you’re a sneaky guy. Seemingly innocuous story about some young gal cutting hair in Homewood, but I say it’s really you telling your life story. Hard work, persistence, positive attitude, and making other people feel good about themselves. That’ll sell a lot of haircuts, or blog posts. Fun to hear a happy story too!
Stephanie Brogdon - February 3, 2023 3:51 pm
You touch my heart every morning with your ability to see deep into people and share their goodness with us, but I also love reading the beautiful comments I see here. It’s a reminder of how many good, loving people there are in the world. There’s no better way to start my day off than being here with so many good people!
Richard and Nancy Cobb - February 3, 2023 4:08 pm
We know Woodstock and Homewood well. I bet Homewood does seem like Hollywood to Shelby. But, there are lots of good,hard-working people in the Woodstock-West Blocton area, so I’m not surprised that Shelby is from there. Lot of those folks are descendents of coal miners, so a good work ethic is a part of these people’ s heritage. For several decades there just were so few jobs available there, like so much of Appalachia. Looks like things are picking there a bit in Bibb County. If anyone is around that area in mid-May,they should stop on the Cahaba River in West Blocton to see the Cahaba Lillie’s in bloom . Sean,you should visit there and do a column o the Cahaba Lilly Festival. Those Bibb County ladies can sure put on a down-home potluck. Better than any church dinner-on -the ground I’ve ever been to. Not having the Festival due to Covid has left a big hole in my Spring; I think it will be back this May. Best of everything to Sean,Jamie, the dogs,and especially Shelby.
Diane Mark - February 3, 2023 4:27 pm
thanks for that story…….good for me and good for ALL
ELLEN Taylor - February 3, 2023 4:29 pm
Shelbylane will have plenty of new business coming her way. Great job bringing her personality to life in your account of a simply cut.
Stylist are ARTISI in the the category of ha nds on therapist
That bring visible results to the mirror.
William J Webb - February 3, 2023 4:54 pm
Just Incase some of your readers missed the business card. Here it is. Supercuts, Homewood Al, Shelbylane.
A good haircut is hard to beat.
Good luck Shelby
Stacey Wallace - February 3, 2023 4:57 pm
Thanks, Sean. I‘lol bet that Shelbylane gets a lot more customers because of you. She sounds like a delight, just like you. Love to you, Jamie, Marigold, Otis Campbell, and Thelma Lou.
LISA GRAY - February 3, 2023 5:11 pm
Oh my gosh ! I have been a member of First Baptist Church Woodstock almost all of my life. There are alot of wonderful people in our of the woods. So proud of one of our very own !!! Keep smiling and cutting !!!
Debbie g - February 3, 2023 6:28 pm
Of course you are sending the congregation to Shelby ?🙂🙂🙂🙏🙏🙏🙏
Patty - February 3, 2023 5:39 pm
I am sending my Birmingham grandkids and parents to Shelby! Wish I also lived nearby❣️
Laura Y - February 3, 2023 5:46 pm
You’ve messed up now, Sean. Shelbylane will have so many regulars you’ll have a hard time getting in yourself! (Love this column, as always!)
Pubert Earle Bozemann - February 3, 2023 6:02 pm
BTW, with that description of your haircut, I think we better start calling you Wolfman!
MaryBeth - February 3, 2023 6:25 pm
I wish I lived near Homewood. I’d definitely go see Shelbylane.
Holly Moore - February 3, 2023 6:58 pm
I bet Shelbylane’s book is overflowing! She probably had no idea what her smiling face, hard work and great attitude has done for her until NOW! Another great one Sean!
Holly from the Gump
G. Garrison - February 3, 2023 7:22 pm
We need more people who take pride in a job well done. Also, bosses should value and pay worker what they deserve.
Eva Marie Everson - February 4, 2023 2:06 am
Now I wish I lived in Homewood …
Cindy Gallop - February 4, 2023 12:51 pm
Hats off to wonderful hairstylists!!! I, too, am blessed! Betsy is not only great on haircuts and foiling, she’s my therapist and good friend. Been with her for years!!!! My niece works her calendar around her hair stylist’s appointments! Shelbylane is a genuine steel magnolia!
Gayle Wilson - February 4, 2023 8:43 pm
As I use to tell my children – your attitude determines your latitude. I would say that young woman’s latitude is quite high.
denise - February 5, 2023 1:29 am
Love it, a usual!! Sean,you ae one in a milion. Thank you for brigtening my day.
Dolores - February 5, 2023 2:32 pm
Colossians says whatever work you do, do it with all your heart. It’s a glorious thing when people take their jobs seriously, for everyone.
Shelbylane’s resilience in the face of multiple heartbreaks and unabated enthusiasm for life and people is a humbling thing. I won’t be surprised to learn she’s opened her own independent salon in the near future.
I hope there’ll be a follow up story about this exemplary young woman. Lord bless her in the meantime.
KG - February 6, 2023 2:01 am
How amazing your writing is. That story made me cry, laugh, and feel greatful at the same time.
Emily - February 7, 2023 8:59 am
Which Homewood Supercuts does Shelby work? Suunflowerss@gmail.com
Cheryl Yarborough - February 7, 2023 4:19 pm
I love your stories. Some make smile or laugh, some make me cry. But you are an excellent story teller! I look forward to them.❤️
Patricia Gibson - February 9, 2023 4:21 pm