Gettin' My First Hair Cut
Remembrances of my childhood...
As a little boy I knew that I was destined for shorter hair than girls. My dad’s hair was shorter than moms or my sister Peg’s hair. Jim and Jack had short hair like my dad. This was how I could tell the difference between boys and girls. Well, girls did wear dresses too. So in the late 1940’s the only difference in boys and girls were the length of their hair and whether they wore britches or dresses. Oh yes, one more way… Girls couldn’t throw a baseball.
"you don’t want to look like a girl, do you?"
I remember mom & dad would stand me in a chair in the kitchen and then they would put mom’s apron around my neck. Then they would part my hair and talk to me as they proceeded to remove the ‘extra’ hair that grew while I slept with a comb and mom’s sewing scissors. Dad said, “you don’t want to look like a girl, do you?” and I assured him I didn’t as I watch the little tuffs of blonde hair fall off my head and onto mom’s apron and then to the floor. That wasn’t so bad after all, and mom’s lady friends at church on Sundays would say that I looked like a little man. I liked the attention, until they smiled while pinching my cheeks.
The whole building was his and had his name on it...
Dad had a pair of hand clippers that he later used, but sometimes they would pull my hair and that did hurt I remember. After that, my dad said he guessed I was ready for a big man’s haircut next time. So, one Saturday a few weeks later, my dad took me down town to the same building where he worked nights, the Colonial Hotel, right across from the big train station, on the Virginia side of town.
Wow! What a place. My dad worked for Ernest Dickey a local businessman and insurance agent. This whole building belonged to Mr Dickey and had his name on it, way up high where people could see it from the train station. Besides being a hotel, the building also housed the insurance agency and a barbershop with a barber pole that turned and everything. I was good friends with all the barbers and ‘Sky’ the shoeshine boy and Albert... he ran the elevator up and down between the floors for those who didn't want to walk the stairs.
Do you remember the old Barber Poles hanging on the buildings?
‘gettin’ your ears lowered’
All the businessmen who came to town would stop by the barbershop to get a haircut when they got off the train. It was a grand place with a white tiled floor and large fans overhead that turn soft and slow so as not to mess up your hair after your haircut. ‘Slim’s’ chair was by the window were you could look out at the people walking by while ‘gettin’ your ears lowered’. That’s what Slim called getting a haircut –‘getting’ your ears lowered’. He had a ‘booster seat’ he slid in the chair to raise me up a little and then he spread a big apron over me to keep the hair clippings off my clothes. His clippers were electric and sorta tickled as he held my head still with his left hand while guiding the clippers with his right hand. The little buzzing sound almost put me to sleep I recall each time I got ‘clipped’.
I bet I smelled like a little puppy dog
After the hair cut he would splash some smelly stuff on his hands and rubbed it into my hair while brushed the hair off my shoulders and neck with a large soft brush. I bet I smelled like a little puppy after his bath…
© 2010 SamSonS