Just some thoughts:
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 a new 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 doesn’t know what a real barbershop is/was and the value it once offered to society, especially small-town society. Now they are called 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. One of my barbers was ol’ Tiny (anything but) Huntwork, and he cut hair in the back of his grocery store in Blackhawk, Indiana. By the way that would be the Blackhawk Chieftians if you were to do basketball battle on a Friday night.
In a small town barbershop you could get advice, not asked for but freely given, and ball scores. They always listened to the Cub games, as home games were never played at night 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 at the barber shop. 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.
When one of the local honeys walked or drove by, the word today would be ‘hottie’; you knew a comment was coming. At this particular shop where I used to go I can still remember the classic line someone would say when Sharon, in her ‘59 Chevy convertible, drove by; “How would you like to have a pup from that litter?” When the town rascal roared by on his Harley, handlebars ten feet above his head and cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of his T-shirt, ol’ Bob would say, “Guys, folks better grab their girls and lock their doors.” The attractiveness of the local and visiting team cheerleaders would always be up for Saturday-morning debate and discussion after the game the night before. One of the local retirees, who spent much of his day in the shop, would often say when there was a discussion about the virtues of one of the opposite sex, “Many a man has fallen in love with a dimple, only to make the mistake of marrying the girl.”
Like many things today, the old barbershop is a thing of the past and not necessarily for the better. My grandson got 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.
(Gene Autry said of one of his boyhood towns - Achille, Oklahoma)
January 12, 2011