Emma (Campillio) Palmer
Class of 1967
Style and Vitality Enhance Body and Spirit
Each day, North Reading's energetic Emma Palmer surrounds herself with both the young and the young at heart.
For 40 years, a broad clientele of local men, women and children have turned to Emma Palmer for quality haircare services -- not to mention, her bright smile and spirited conversation!
A resident of North Reading since 1962 and a graduate of North Reading High School -- her husband Robert's alma mater, as well -- Palmer recently spoke with me, in between customers, explaining that she went on to study hairdressing after high school at the former Mary Fazio Beauty Academy in Lawrence. In addition, she later attended New England Hair Academy in Malden to learn the art of barbering.
Following a 6-year stint at an area barber shop outside of North Reading, Palmer joined the staff at The Center Cut, 134 Park Street. After 14 years there, she branched out to open her own shop on Haverhill Street, where she worked for the next 13 years until moving her business to its present locale in 2003.
Emma's Classic Cuts currently occupies space on the second floor of 178 Park Street, where Palmer enjoys greeting and interacting with her customers while cutting and styling -- even a number of third-generation customers!
It's a vibrant venue; the shop shares the second floor with popular pediatrician, Dr. Alex Asch, whose offices are located adjacent to the haircare shop.
Palmer said, "North Reading is a wonderful town to raise your children in. Lots of nice, caring people live in this town. I feel like many are extended family, having served their families for 40 years; I've watched their children grow up. It's been great."
With a big grin, she recounted two separate occasions when she ran into customers while traveling in Bermuda. Also, she laughingly related how one day fate found her seated as a fellow passenger with another of her customers on a cross-country flight to California!
In addition to hair styling, living a healthy lifestyle is another major interest of Palmer.
Following a request by Director of Elder Services Mary Prenney a number of years ago, Palmer has enthusiastically taken time out on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to engage seniors in stretching and exercise routines at the Edith A. O'Leary Senior Center.
That, I understand, is after finishing her own brisk morning walk, completing household chores, and before beginning her full afternoon-to-early-evening schedule at her shop.
Leading exercises for seniors is nothing new for Palmer. In fact, as far back as 1972, she mentioned, she taught classes at the Lawrence YMCA and then at the Danvers YMCA.
"Exercise should be part of your lifestyle if you want to stay healthy and have a good quality of life," she said.
Palmer has also resumed her study of yoga.
"I'm a firm believer in it. It has helped to keep my back strong and keep me on my feet all those hours at the shop," she said.
For added enjoyment and relaxation, she happily noted that she deeply cherishes time spent with family at her future retirement home in Tamworth, NH.
She and husband Robert, the parents of two grown sons, have seven grandchildren (six girls and one boy, ages 6-12), who love to play and explore the country acreage surrounding their home away from home.
Grandchildren are a top priority these days, said Palmer, who truly appreciates those so-called "Kodak moments," when they're all together, and the siblings and cousins can readily experience many simple, but important fun rituals of growing up -- such as roasting marshmallows; making S'mores; playing badminton; or forever sharing giggles while bunking upstairs, as the adults congregate downstairs.
Moments made memories for a lifetime, I'd say!
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