Since no one can get away from oneself, as twins there is a temptation to get away from one's reflection."When we are at odds with each other, we go through emotional difficulty because we are mirror projections of each other," Ed said. "When our relationship is good — and it is most of the time — life is wonderful. ... There is not one instance in 48 years that we didn't know we had each other to fall back upon, to draw from when needed. "
How identical are Erick and Ed? Contacting Ed for this interview, I had no idea with whom I had just made a date. They do lots of singing and dancing, as their customers are transformed by their artistry. Hearing one of them belt out a 1940s classic, they are indistinguishable. Their dancing is over the top — fast, dynamic, skilled. These men not only share their work lives, but also many interests outside of work in their adopted community.
These days, Ed reports there is a tantalizing air of possibility in both twins' lives. Ed and Erick each have serious partners in committed relationships; they are thinking of permanence. Their supportive mother and siblings are receptive to Ed and Erick's plans for same-sex marriages down the road, as Ed and Erick appear to thrive on the ebb and flow of their committed relationships: "The Hendricks twins are incapable of not being in love."
Ed's partner lives 2 1/2 hours away; Ed and David spend three day weekends together, alternating between their homes. Ed reports he has never spent so much time having fun — biking, hiking, kayaking, boating, tubing, go-carting and rock climbing on the weekends. Lots of handholding and extended family picnics, and playing with each partner's dog rounds out the time. While Ed dreams of waking up every day with his partner beside him, he comforts himself during the weekdays alone by anticipating the festive three days they will spend together. For the four days between reunions Ed stays connected by phone calls and texts. The communication is good.
Both extended families are welcoming and supportive to their son's partner. Ed's religious background included Catholicism with experimentation with Unitarianism and Methodist traditions. Ed's partner is from the Catskills, a blue-collar working-class community where everyone knows everyone else. In the summers, Orthodox Jews in full regalia return to Sullivan County and Ed is impressed by their dedication to their traditions. As Tompkins County expands with returning college students and faculty in the fall, Sullivan County quietly becomes a ghost town. Ed has fallen for the unique seasonal character of his partner's community, much as he loves Ithaca.
What about Ed's other dreams? Ed sings in his mother's church when he goes home, and he loves the varied music venues around Ithaca. He complimented the State Theatre's momentum: "They are slamming it with terrific acts these days." He's a regular at Concerts in the Parks, Oasis, the Rongo and Delilah's. When he is alone he composes music and paints, a reflection of his mother's encouragement to her children to indulge their artistic side.
Out and about in the community, Ed is huge booster for the Southside. Living for 17 years right near his new salon's location in the Clinton Plaza, Ed assesses the Southside's revitalization as inspirational: "Downtown, near other commerce, good parking and signage — creating our salon in the Southside was the right decision!" He hopes that the restoration of his salon space with his brother and colleagues will encourage other businesses to join the Clinton Plaza renaissance.
When Ed is home alone, he renovates his home and landscapes his lawn, unless he is engaged in a community service project. There is nothing he is unwilling to tackle. He simply has a high energy level and hunger about life. He wants to do it all.
"Everyone is gifted, but some of us have not opened our presents yet," Ed said — but he opens his presents as soon as he discovers them.
Haute House Hair Salon
609 Clinton Plaza
607 257 7911
After completing cosmetology school in 1984, Ed Hendricks came to visit a friend who studied music at Ithaca College. Ed immediately fell in love with the artsy, tolerant, vibrant feel of Ithaca, and that take on Ithaca remains unchanged almost 30 years later. Arriving in Ithaca, Ed hoped he would become good at his profession and thereby make people happy, as he helped his clients be the best they could be. He also wanted to have music and friends in his life, and to energetically support his community. Ed is a satisfied man today. Pounding the pavement for a job, Ed was snapped up immediately by Regis at Pyramid Mall after an on-the-spot demo. (He asked a stranger out shopping if she wanted a free haircut, and the rest is history.) Joined shortly after arrival by twin brother Erick, another cosmetologist, today you'll find Ed and Erick dressed in 1950s Frank Sinatra finery, dancing and singing in their Southside salon, Haute House.
Although polar opposites, Ed asserts that "twinship rocks." Their physical chemistry and psychological connectedness creates a unique sensitivity toward each other. "This indelible and unconditional bond means we will never be separated from our shared mortality," Ed said. "I can't conceive of a time we would not be geographically close. Even if we had a disagreement in an emergency, any distance would vanish and our unconditional love would be there."
And Ed would know that Erick needed him because of their psychic Twin Bat Signal; this inborn wavelength has no boundaries. If either man went through a "needy patch" they would always have each other. When one twin panics, the other twin faces that panic down with his brother. No matter what one experiences, the other twin "gets it."