West Pittston man gets haircut.
Well, when the man is Greg Serfass, yes.
Serfass — well known cantor and lector at St. John’s, past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus 362 and a successful small businessman — hadn’t had so much as a trim for over eight years when he went to Sapphire Salon on the day after Memorial Day where they cut off over two feet of his hair. He donated 28 inches to Locks of Love, which was his intention when he stopped getting haircuts eight years ago.
Except for a stint in the Air Force, Serfass, 59, had kept his hair long since he was 12 and growing up in Pennsville. By the time he graduated from Northampton Area High School in 1976, where he was a vo-tech student, his hair was thick, curly and past his shoulders. Girls told him he had nicer hair than most of them did. The length led to some trouble once when a drill press he was running ripped a clump right out of his skull.
In 1990, Serfass was backpacking to Glen Onoko Falls when he stopped in Jim Thorpe for a break. Sitting in Molly Maguires Pub, he saw a poster for a rock show at the Flagstaff Ballroom by the Fly Boys featuring Kartune frontman Tommy Bruno. Being an Air Force vet, Serfass felt the Fly Boys calling him. He went back to his lean-to along the trail and took a nap. That night he went to the Flagstaff, a decision which changed his life. At the Flagstaff, a Pittston girl, Winifred Smalley from Mill Street, caught his eye. The next year they were married in November 1991. They settled in West Pittston, where Serfass launched his business, Betterman Home Improvements, and where he and Winifred raised a daughter, Michaela.
Serfass said when his hair grew below his shoulders it was hard to manage, so he’d get it trimmed. Eight years ago on Michaela’s 16th birthday, he decided to stop getting haircuts.
“I figured grow it while you can. I told my wife I was going to let it grow to the floor. That wasn’t realistic, but I did say I would grow it until I was 60.”
He missed that goal by nine months because of a trip to the Jersey Shore.
“He realized,” his wife said, “that letting his hair out in the ocean breeze wasn’t such a great idea. The knots and tangles were too much work so he decided to cut it off. Friends’ reactions have been mixed — some like the new look while others miss tugging on his ponytail. What his plans are for future hair growth, only his hairdresser knows, but for now, the experiment is over.”
His hairdresser, or stylist, at Sapphire is Rose Altavilla. Altavilla has been working at Sapphire for 14 years, so she’s seen a lot of hair. While she’s clipped ponytails off other men in their 40s and 50s, including bikers and one UPS driver, she recalls, Serfass is one of the oldest ponytailed guys she’s seen.
Altavilla said Sapphire accumulates hair to send in bulk to Locks of Love, a cancer charity that provides wigs to chemotherapy patients through the American Cancer Society. Serfass’ hair hasn’t been sent yet, but when it is he will get recognition.
Altavilla volunteers to fit wigs for chemo patients at Sapphire through the ACS. Patients can register with the ACS for a wig by calling 1-800-227-2345. Sapphire also participates in the Look Good, Feel Better ACS program, which provides make up kits and hands-on instruction in how to care for skin. For more information or to donate hair to Locks of Love, call Sapphire at 570-602-7700.
Altavilla said she knows for certain Serfass is not going to wait eight years for his next haircut. He’s already been back to Sapphire for a trim.
“He didn’t get a haircut for eight years now he’s had two in a couple months,” Altavilla said with a chuckle.