It may have started when that first person rid me of my golden locks, but I don’t relish going to the barbershop for a haircut.
I was ten when we moved to Rochester, New York, and my brother and I started going to Frank’s Barber Shop, which was just at the end of our street. Frank was old, in my view, but probably only in his early 60’s, a heavy smoker, but a good barber. My mother would give us a dollar for the 75 cent haircut and remind us to make sure Frank kept the change. As time went on, we noticed Frank’s hands were beginning to shake and more and more he was pulling out our hair rather than cutting it, so we moved on to Norm.
Norm had a shop a few blocks down Clinton Avenue, next to the blacksmith’s shop, where we could stand in the doorway and watch horses being shod. Norm had been a barber in the service during World War II and said he was given two minutes per recruit to strip them of their pride. It was a treat to go in on Saturday when the operas were being broadcast on the radio, because Norm would join right in with the lead tenor, or whoever he decided needed his assistance. We stayed with Norm all through High School and summers home from college, through brush cuts and “the wave” and other such styles as were in vogue.
With moves from place to place, it was a struggle to find someone who could do a good job. Prices rose, and so did my expectations. Having moved to a suburb, I found a place in a shopping mall and went there until the owner was arrested for taking bets on the horses over the phone. He never let a haircut get in the way of taking a bet, but he did a good job of cutting my hair. His younger brother worked there, and had applied to the Sheriff’s office to become a Deputy; unfortunately, his brother’s arrest ended that quest - and sent me on a new one of my own.
Over the years, I’ve visited many shops, some of which earned return visits. However, my quest has finally ended here at Westminster Village with my own personal barber, my wife Shirley. And no appointment needed!