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My Blog

Barbers

Good morning to all my readers and friends.  One gloomy day we have here in the Chicago land area.  Sitting here this morning I was trying to think on what subject to write about today.  Had some coffee...went to change clothes and brush my hair and that was it....hair!
Now I can imagine your thought at the moment....HAIR???  Is she really going to talk about hair?  And of course the answer is yes.  It wasn't necessarily my hair that I thought of speaking about.  It was actually my grandfather's hair that came to mind. 
When I was a young girl, I lived with my Grandparents and mom.  We lived in a quiet neighborhood which would have been considered the nicer part of town at that time.  We lived in Chicago in a simple 2 flat home.  I never considered it an apartment because no one but family had ever lived there.  The home belonged to my grandparents, who in turn had inherited the home from my grandfather Joe's parents.  Oh the changes that went on in that home!  The changing of families that continuously moved in and out.  Even the attic was an apartment and the basement as well.  Loads of memories, good and bad as is with most homes and families.  But for me, there was so much to remember from there. 
I remember that the one thing I always had the opportunity to do with my Grandfather was to go to the Barber Shop with him.  Now I know that today Barber Shops are a rarity.  Seems like the Salon's today are unisex...a  quick cut and go is the modern way, but back then, when I was young my Grandpa went to the Barber....now I didn't really know much better that there were anything else other than a Barber shop was in a house.  My grandfather's barber was just a walk half way down the street.  We would approach the house..if I recall correctly it was a funny color of blue with white trim and stairs that lead down off the side of the house.  When you reached that area, there was a spinning Barber Pole there and a door that lead inside.  I can remember going in and sitting down on these great big brown naugahide chairs.  He had a magazine rack with magazines and comic books for the customers to read.  I loved that he had something for kids.  I would find one I liked...not an easy task in a Barber shop for a girl, but he did have Little Dot which was one of my favorites.  I would get up on the chair and read as Grandpa would get into the BIG Barber chair.  I remember the white neck strips and the big white covering that the barber would use so that Grandpa wouldn't get hair all over him.  I never really understood Grandpa going to the Barber because he ad very little hair on his head.  In fact...the only hair he had was around the sides of his head, but I guess that hair still grew.  The barber had all kinds of things on the shelves behind him.  I especially loved the big glass jar with this bluish solution in it where he kept all the combs.  I remember after grandpa got his hair cut the man would also give him a shave.  He had this small wooden bowl and a brush.  I would watch him as him made the foam, slather it on Grandpas face.  He would then take this razor and run it back and forth along this long leather type strap and shave Grandpas face.  I have to admit I was a bit frightened at the site....I always wondered if he ever cut anyone by accident.  In the end, Grandpa was clean shaven, his hair was trimmed and I got to pick out a sucker of my choice out of this big glass jar the barber kept off to the side of the cash register.   We would then walk home and I had another experience of a day with Grandpa. 
My grandfather passed away when I was 12 and I hadn't thought about that experience for a long, long time.  When I got married, unbelievably....I married a barber...but he had an actual barber shop.  I suppose the only difference was that it was a building and not in someone's basement in their house.   Years went by and the location of the barber shop changed locations...I never really made any comparisons. 
Eventually, my husband decided he wanted to change careers...he went to school and became a Special Ed teacher and the barbering days became a side job.  He sold his business and went to work for someone part time.  I always had a reminder of his Barbering days, because we own an old marble  barber chair that I argued countless hours over not wanting that monstrosity in my home, but I suppose if I got to keep the things I kept, I couldn't complain.  
Years still went on and the Barber shop closed.  And in the blink of an eye...I was transported back in time...I now have a barber shop in MY basement that he uses for friends and family.  On the shelf are old time barber tools ad we even own the pole that turns.  The only thing missing are the Little Dot magazines and the suckers.  I guess if given enough time, everything repeats itself in one way or another.  I even recently got in the chair and let him cut my hair...but I don't think I will ever be ready for the shave...at least I pray not!  Memories....they are what keeps us going!

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