Glad I Listen to Our Barber

Five minutes from our home as part of Cataumet Crossing, where our son Max, now 15, works summers, sits Michael’s Barber Shop. A few years ago, Mike Flemming bought the business from Wayne Fredrick, a popular and very respected barber and stylist. Like Wayne before him, Mike is very personable and makes friends with you and your whole family. When I am there, Mike picks up the conversation where we left off last time, usually following the exploits of my sons, Max, and Josh, now 18. It is not just small talk: he is sincerely interested and you can feel it.

Maybe about a year ago, Mike asked me if I knew about Chris Herren, who grew up in Fall River and was on the Boston Celtics, but now is known for public speaking engagements at many high schools and colleges. He tells the students how he threw his career away due to his use of drugs and alcohol. Mike went on to say Chris Herren’s story is told in a book entitled Basketball Junkie, and in a documentary film entitled Unguarded. Mike said, “Every kid in the world should hear this story, particularly student athletes.” He did not mention how he and Chris became friends, but could not say enough good things about this guy.

So I paid attention whenever I heard or saw Chris Herren’s name in the news. I obtained a copy of Unguarded and heard portions of interviews and speeches at schools. His is a remarkable story about recovery, including how it literally saved his life and how his wife and kids stuck by him and how grateful he is. Two great joys in his life now are hearing from people he has inspired and helped by sharing his story, and watching his own kids smile and laugh while attending a Boston Celtics game.

Glad I Listen to Our Barber

Recently, I learned that Chris Herren was speaking in Hyannis on September 29, at the 40th Anniversary Celebration for Gosnold on Cape Cod, billed as “New England’s Leading Addiction Healthcare Provider.” Gosnold states: “Our mission is: excel in addiction and mental health treatment; to serve men, women, and families affected by those illnesses, and to promote lasting recovery.” I would expect most folks, if not all, on the Cape and Islands know of Gosnold on Cape Cod. However, at this celebration on September 29, I was so impressed to learn the 40-year history and very touched to learn of the dedication of so many Gosnold staff and volunteers.

The chairman of the board is Mary LeClair, former Barnstable County Treasurer. Mary has been involved with Gosnold for the last 20 years. Raymond V. Tamasi is president and CEO, and has been with Gosnold since 1987. They and many others did a masterful job on a marvelous evening of celebrating the past and the future of Gosnold on Cape Cod. From humble beginnings on the grounds of the county hospital in 1972, the story is one of true inspiration up to 2012, with Gosnold recognized with national awards by the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. Gosnold can always use more help from all of us. The personal stories of recovery are heartwarming.

So, Cape Cod LIFE had a table for eight at Gosnold’s 40th anniversary celebration. My wife, Judy, and I were very happy to have our sons Josh and Max with us. Also at our table were our own Susan Dewey, Editor and Associate Publisher of Cape Cod LIFE, and her husband, Steve Dewey, our Director of Sales. Guests of honor at our table were our barber Mike Flemming, accompanied by the ever-charming Caitlin Concannon.

Before the festivities, when Judy and the boys and I were introduced to Chris Herren, I told him Mike Flemming would be joining us. He said, “I know.” He took my hand and a deep breath, swallowed as if he had a lump in his throat, and said, “One day a few years ago, when I was in recovery at Gosnold’s Miller House, Mike Flemming was volunteering. He introduced himself to me and said, ‘Chris, what can I do to help you?’”

My best to you for the holidays!


Brian Shortsleeve, President and Publisher



Brian Shortsleeve

Brian Shortsleeve is the President and Publisher of Cape Cod Life Publications.

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