Youngster's first haircut benefits other kids
PITTSFIELD -- Kingston DeJesus' first haircut on Saturday put a smile on more than his own face.
The 5-year old had never had a haircut, evident by the long brown and blonde-tipped curly locks running down his back.
His mother, Sarah DeJesus, has spent up to two hours braiding his son's hair so it didn't get in the way when he played outdoors.
His father, Samuel, says the hair was so long before that strangers frequently identified his son as a girl, which in the last year has had Kingston responding, "I am a boy with long hair!"
But it was finally time on Saturday.
Kingston went to the Split Ends Salon in Pittsfield on Saturday. But instead of the garbage bin, his three 15-inch locks of hair will be shipped to the Westlake-Ohio based nonprofit Wigs for Kids, which provides wigs for children affected by chemotherapy, burns, and other medical conditions.
Kingston was teased by his grandfather about not getting a haircut, but his shy grandson wasn't backing down. "Yes, I am," Kingston insisted.
Hair stylist Bre Calkins set aside the long locks that will be shipped to the nonprofit that has been serving children since 1981. Sarah said she explained this to her son, and it made him even more eager to get his hair cut.
Calkins said Kingston's hair was by far the longest he'd seen of any boy -- or girl -- for a first haircut.
"I wish my hair was this curly," Calkins remarked as she cut Kingston's hair. He sat looking serious and stone-faced.
"That's why we never cut it," Sarah responded.
In the past, the numerous compliments from strangers was enough for Sarah to advocate for the hair to stay long.
Kingston also was willing to go along until recently.
"I like his hair," Sarah said. "I feel like it's part of his personality. I've only known him with long hair. I can't picture him without it."
But managing all that hair was time consuming. The hair had to be regularly washed, so the braid would have to be taken apart and re-braided. The braids would be wrapped before Kingston slept so they wouldn't get in his way.
During Pittsfield's Fourth of July Parade, Kingston's hair obstructed his ability to watch.
"The wind would blow and he couldn't see any of the floats," his older brother Premier said.
But going off to kindergarten in the fall, Kingston was ready for a new look. The "cool compliments" weren't enough, and his mother begrudgingly consented.
Before Calkins started cutting, Sarah struggled with her emotions. She apologized in advance in case she got teary eyed. Kingston's brother, Premier, noted he couldn't watch, but by day's end, Kingston had a new look.
Kingston might have been the calmest one in the room.
"I don't even feel it," he observed.
Asked whether he'd ever grow his hair that long again, Kingston didn't waste time to reply.
"No," he said, as he walked away from the barbershop with a Mohawk cut.