Joe the Barber touched many lives

To the Editors:

This is in response to Joe Magliari’s recent announcement of retirement after 52 years as a barber in Wilton. Many may not know Joe, but those that do are truly blessed.

I met Joe when I was 13 (although I’ve lived in Wilton since I was 5). My parents, especially my father, were reluctant, but finally convinced I could go to a barber to get my hair cut. Ironically, my father and Joe went to high school together. My father, who studied tool and die/machine shop, thought he could cut my hair and although he could fix anything, my head looked like a soup bowl.

Joe not only gave you a great “cut,” it was an engaging experience. He would talk about your day and always ask, “How’s it going?” As a child and young adult he would chat about your interests and encourage you to further yourself.

Joe would speak about his wife and his two daughters, all of which he “beamed” when he spoke. You felt you were a part of his family.

Like many, Joe cut my hair on a regular basis, including major life events; my confirmation, my high school and college graduation, and my wedding. Joe knew more about my family, my friends and what was going on in my life than my own parents. Joe gave me unsolicited, accurate recommendations on financial investments, professional endeavors, world events, and the anticipated great joke was always welcome. Joe took the stress away from everyday life.

Joe knew me before high school, through college, and encouraged my pursuits in the fire department. Joe knew my wife when we dated and even came to my bachelor party.

Simply stated, Joe Magliari’s kindness, support and insight has brightened the day of more people on a monthly basis than anyone will ever know.

Through the years Joe’s clients would feel guilty if they had to get a cut at another shop; although sometimes unavoidable, it was an uneasy feeling, not to mention you’d miss out on his conversation. At 37 years of age, I started losing my hair — I was ashamed, not for my hair itself or my looks, but for the simple fact I had no reason to see Joe every three weeks.

A couple of years ago I embarrassingly ran into Joe, scared, but happy to see him. After over 25 years of service, I said, “Sorry I haven’t seen you, not much to cut now, been doing it myself.” Joe, being Joe, said, “Good to see you, you’re doing a good job. How’s the family? And your daughter?”

Mine is just one simple story. Joe Magliari has been an icon in Wilton and served all his patrons well. I hope his customer base follows him to Norwalk on East Avenue for the few days a week he’ll be there. The rest of us will just stop in to say, “Hi.” Best of luck in the next chapter of your life!

Kevin Czarnecki

Olmstead Hill Road, Dec. 29