For years, Caren Davis would listen to her clients talk about the places they’ve visited and wish she had the chance to do what they were doing. But working full time and raising a family made that nearly impossible. That all changed one year ago.
Davis, who was born in Winter Haven, Fla., and raised in Loxley, Ala., spent 40 years as a hairdresser at various salons in Daphne, one of which she owned for 25 years. During that time, she got to know many locals on a personal level. They would talk to her about their families, their work and their interests until she became like a confidant. Now that she’s retired, she says the interaction with those clients is the one part of her work life she misses the most.
It took four decades of working before Davis finally hung up her scissors for good. “I always told myself if I could make it 40 years, then I’d be done,” she says. The last year of work was a tough one for her. Forty years of being on her feet all day had taken a toll on her body. “I always worked from the time I walked in the door to the time I left. I rarely ever even took lunch breaks. It was hard on my legs, I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
Now that she’s a full-time retiree, Davis says she can focus her energy on things she’s always wanted to do, such as traveling. She and her husband, who’s also retired, like to vacation to places like Florida, Michigan and the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera, Texas. It’s there that the Davises put on their dancing shoes. “We like to make the dance hall circuit,” she says. “We’ve seen some awesome dance halls, some a hundred years old, and met lots of interesting people along the way.”
When she’s not doing a two-step or in the middle of a road trip, she’s working on various projects around her home, including gardening. She also serves on the parish council of Saint Patrick’s Church and sings in the choir, among other involvements. “I try to do whatever [the church] needs me to do.” She also dusts off her scissors every now and then to give haircuts to family members.
Davis also enjoys having more time to spend with her three grandchildren. She admits that from the outside, it might look like she’s spoiling them, but according to her she’s “just doing what a grandparent is supposed to do.”