Our oldest grandson came by our house the other day, and he had a different look. As he prepares to move from the college years into the real world, his first job, he got himself a haircut; a real honest-to-goodness haircut, one where you can even see his ears. He said he had been to the barber-shop. Let me correct that, he had been to some place I might call one of those girlie hair-cutting places. This generation of kids don’t know what a real barbershop is/was and the value it once offered to society especially small-town society. Nowadays they are called hair salons and guys with names like Pierre, etc., “style” their hair for them.
One of many things this generation of kids is missing is growing up in a small town in the late 50s’ and getting their hair cut at a real barbershop. Most every community of any size had a barbershop, or at least someone who cut hair somewhere. My last barber was ol’ Tiny (anything but) Huntwork, and he cut hair in the back of his grocery store in Blackhawk, Indiana.
In a small town barbershop you could get advice, not asked for but freely given and ball scores, always listened to the Cub games, as they never played home games at nights because they had no lights. If you saw the movie “Hoosiers” you might remember the scene where the decisions of the basketball coach Norman Dale were often up for review. From a large plate-glass window, in many shops, you had a full view of the town happenings. Often, there would be a congregation of people at the shop, whether they wanted a haircut or not.
Like many things today, the old barbershop is a thing of the past and not necessarily for the better. My grandson got himself a haircut, but not with the benefit of barbershop knowledge and wisdom. In those days, you always got more than your money’s worth when you went to get a haircut.
A few of you fortunate souls know what I am talking about having grown-up getting your hair cut at the local barber shop.
January 12, 2011