Forty years after opening Marit’s Hair Salon on Cumberland Street in Bangor, Marit Cattelle is hanging up her scissors and retiring Wednesday. She’s looking forward to traveling, hiking and catching up on all the books she wants to read — but even as she pops champagne with clients and employees this week to celebrate a new beginning, she can’t help but feel sad.
“It feels like I’m leaving my friends. For me, I can’t wait to go to work every day. It’s a fabulous job,” said Cattelle. “But my shoulders are giving me a little trouble. I’m 76. It’s time. But I’m still sad about it.”
Cattelle was born and raised in Norway. She first came to the U.S. at age 22, to work as an au pair in Wisconsin. Once her time in the Midwest was over, she decided to stay in the U.S., and began working as a flight attendant for Overseas National Airways, a charter company that stopped frequently in Bangor. For the next 10 years, Cattelle traveled the world with the airline, though her home base at that time was New York City.
Eventually, she decided she wanted to buy a house and settle down, and chose Bangor, as she was familiar with the city, and because a Swedish coworker had married a man from Bangor. Not long after she’d moved to the Queen City, she met that man’s brother, Richard Cattelle.
“My husband came to surprise his brother at a party, and that’s where we met,” said Cattelle, who with her husband has three children, Craig, Brian and Marie. “The rest is history.”
Marit Cattelle was also trained as a hairstylist, and as she wound down her career as a flight attendant, she began cutting hair in Bangor. By 1981, she was ready to open her own business, and that year, she opened Marit’s Hair Salon on Cumberland Street. Over the ensuing four decades, she amassed hundreds of loyal clients — from businessmen looking for a debonair cut, to elegant women who came by every month for a trim, a touch-up and some conversation.
“Flying gave me a way to see the world without needing a lot of money,” said Cattelle. “But hair is even more valuable, because it gave me a connection with people I’d never be able to have otherwise. It’s very special.”
While Cattelle is retiring, Marit’s itself will not close. She has sold the business to two local hairdressers, Molly Guy and Megan Newman, who will continue to cut and style hair at 11 Cumberland St.
“I hope everybody keeps coming, because these girls are excellent hair stylists,” Cattelle said. “And I hope that I see everybody I always used to see at the shop. Just under different circumstances. Not in the chair, but as friends.”