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BJ Blanchard: Notes from Glen Ellen, June 8

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As the World Turns: A couple of Glen Ellen institutions are changing hands and should be noted.

Every Glen Ellen child got their first haircut from Roseann Fanucchi at Roseann’s Hair Cutting. In the little cement building by the creek opposite the post office, the walls were crowded with fascinating Glen Ellen memorabilia, posters, photos, masks. It was a hub of activity; a center for good news and sharing. Roseann and her friend Sharon Burns permed, colored and blow dried, poofed and coiffed your locks in a tiny, cheerful space of laughter and support. Roseann’s personal generosity and kindness are legend, as she thought nothing of washing the hair of residents of the Sonoma Developmental Center, and visited the sick at home for hair care.

Later Roseann moved her shop up the road to the old video store space next to the laundromat. Roseann’s two-chair shop still feels relaxed and personal, with the hum of the dryer amid the chatter of local news.

Roseann will retire later this month – “just because it's time” – and may travel some, to Italy and Greece maybe. She thought carefully about what would happen to the shop and has found the perfect fit for its next chapter.

Daniella Quintero will be the new proprietor and chief wonder-worker of hair activity. Daniella, born in Guadalajara but raised in China, is quadra-lingual, speaking Mandarin, French, Spanish and English. Her grandfather was a master barber in Guadalajara and taught her barber skills as a young child. According to Roseann, whe can do anything, up-do’s, down-do’s, make-up, waxing, brows, lashes and exotic intricate razor designs on the side of a young man’s head. So, welcome Daniella. Let’s see if you can do anything with my shaggy mop.

Another baton has been passed. Stephen Ashton and his wife Justine are long-time Glen Ellen people, arriving in Glen Ellen in the 1960s as part of the “back-to -the-land movement.” Together they planted pinot noir and syrah vines on the six acres at the north end of Henno where it turns onto Dunbar. They raised their three daughters in the 1895 redwood farmhouse whose fireplace stones had been hauled from the Nuns Canyon quarry across the Valley, and was once owned by Dr. Henno, the San Francisco Veterinarian. Stephen and Justine pursued the practice of dry farming and were early into the sustainable agricultural and groundwater preservation movement.

In 1994, seeing no independent film community, they invented one. The “top-tier” Wine Country Film Festival brought the finest international cinema to the region in the 1990s and early 2000s. Their “Reels on Wheels” project produced screening at local theaters, in wine caves and under the stars. The house, film equipment, 15 giant oaks, and hand-planted vineyards were all lost that night of the devil wind in October, when the flames flew down from behind the Beltane Ranch, jumped the highway and blazed down Henno.

And then, six months after the fires, Stephen passed. Justine, daughters Aurora, Tara, Sarah, granddaughter Chenoa attended to Stephen’s every need during his natural death. They sat with him for seven days, washed him, fed him, and kept him at home until his last breaths were gone. Justine, a Buddhist, believes his soul remained during the three days they kept his body at home, and was finally released through his mouth after a visit from a Zen Monk.

Stephen and Justine are followers of the Fourth Way, a practice so ancient and sacred Justine cannot talk about it.

Life is enhanced by innovative, charismatic individuals like Stephen Ashton.

Speaking of time passing, there is a Glen Ellen time capsule. Not buried, but hidden, it was created in 1999 and is to be opened in 2049. At the time, 2049 seemed an impossible date but, alas, it now seems around the corner.

And the beat goes on.