Haircuts are the ties that bond stylist, family

Vona Hankins, 71, has cut the hair of several generations of one family.
BY MATT PATTERSON mpatterson@opubco.com Modified: November 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012
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Vona Hankins' hands move with precision as she cuts the bangs of 1-year-old Nathan Marshall at Sassy Looks in southwest Oklahoma City.

Nathan is the sixth-generation member of his family to have his hair cut by Hankins, 71.

“I'm not as quick as I used to be,” Hankins said as Nathan squirmed.

Hankins graduated from Capitol Hill in 1959 after transferring there because U.S. Grant didn't have cosmetology classes. There, she met Nathan's great-grandmother, Janet Rodriquez, and a lifelong friendship was formed.

Shortly after graduation, Hankins began leasing a space in the home of Janet's mother and father for what amounted to her first beauty salon.

Over the years Janet had three kids. Her children had children and now her grandchildren are having kids. And Hankins wanted to be the first one to cut the sixth generation's hair.

“She started cutting my hair, and my mother's hair, and my father's mother lived close to us and she cut her hair too,” Janet Rodriquez said. “It's just a relationship that has grown over the years to the point where she is part of our family. She comes to our family reunions.”

Hankins is now in her 53rd year of cutting hair, but 2012 has not been easy for her. In March, she tripped and broke her leg in several places. She is still rehabilitating nine months later.

The day after she had surgery on her leg, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack. She plans to return to work on a full-time basis, but it's been a long road.