After 45 years, woman gets haircut
BY BRENDAN BROSH and TRACY CONNOR
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Thursday, December 13th 2007, 4:00 AM
Bates for News Before haircut\
Bates for News After haircut
For 45 years, Darka Jakymchuk refused to cut her hair, growing the auburn tresses down to her ankles and pinning them up in an enormous bun each morning.
That all changed yesterday with one snip of the shears when the 59-year-old Queens woman walked into a salon and left with a giant braid in a gold box.
She wept and trembled as the stylist chopped off her crowning glory - but was grinning ear to ear minutes later at her bouncy, chin-length do.
"It feels so much lighter," the modern-day Rapunzel marveled. "I'm glad it's so curly."
Jakymchuk, who was born to Ukrainian parents in a German camp but raised in the United States, had her last serious haircut in 1962 when her father lopped several inches off a waist-skimming shank.
The longer it grew, the more attached to it she became, even though it took hours to dry and caused some embarrassments.
There was the time she set off a metal detector at the airport because of all the bobby pins, and the time the hair got caught in the wheel of her office chair and the maintenance man had to free her.
At least she never had to wear a hat; the hair kept her warm in winter. For years, friends and family urged Jakymchuk to cut it off, but she always rebuffed them.
"It was like trying to take Linus' blanket away from him," she explained.
Then about a year ago, she started to give it some thought, even though she couldn't find the words to explain why.
In February, she made an appointment at a salon in Westchester County, but a snowstorm kept her home in Kew Gardens. She was secretly relieved. Still, she toyed with the idea. After a few false starts, she finally called her friend Oksana Andersen, 58, on Tuesday and said she was ready.
The next day the two women walked into the Micciche Salon on Austin St. in Forest Hills, Queens. Andersen pulled out a tape measure and estimated the hair at 65 inches.
She twisted it into a long braid and clutched Jakymchuk's hand as Lorenzo Micciche held the scissors at the base of her neck.
"I promise I'm not going to sue you if it's too short," Jakymchuk said, tears welling in her eyes. "I can't change my mind now."
A moment later, the braid was off, and as Micciche clipped away, he discovered Jakymchuk had wonderfully curly hair.
"She looks 20 years younger," he declared when he was done.
Jakymchuk took the braid and carefully placed it in a gift box to take home. She hasn't decided what to do with it but seemed glad to have it off her head. "I think I like it," she said of her new look. "But it feels strange."