Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Rude Barbershop

The Wilma Barber Shop, Ah, So Rude
Reposted from May 2013




My father was fastidious about his boys getting a haircut every two weeks. Yes, every two weeks. We were allowed to choose which chop shop or I mean barber shop that we wanted to go to for our scalping. My dad's hang up on having short hair dated back to his childhood. His family was very, very, poor in the Great Depression farming and mining belts of Joplin, Missouri, so haircuts were scarce. Dad had long hair, at least what he considered long hair and was teased a lot growing up. Some of the older kids called him “Long Hair” and he never quite got over it. His directions to us were that out hair was never to touch out collars, and it must be cut even all over. When we go back from the trips to the barber, dad would call us in, look carefully at our hair, and would either give thumbs up or would say, "The barber did not get it even on the sides."


Several years a few months before he and my mother passed away, I told my dad that I was going to go down to Kellogg and get a haircut. I was wearing my hair fairly long in the back, as I still do, and the top and sides need a little shaping. I told the stylist that I wanted my hair tipped, and shaped.I was very happy with the results and my wife and I drove back to my parent’s home. (We were taking care of both of them at the times.) I walked in and all of a sudden I felt like I was 8 years old again. My dad, still an imposing figure at 94 years old looked me over with the same critical eye that I so well remember from my childhood, and then in a voice dripping with disgust, said, “I thought that you said that you were going to get a haircut.”

Oh well, some things never change. I thought that my wife was going to split a gut laughing at the little boy look on my face.


Wallace bad plenty of barber shops to choose from in those days. My dad preferred “Dick’s Barber Shop” on Bank Street. ( Here is a funny side note. When Dick moved to Coeur D Alene some years later, he changed the name of his shop from Dick’s to Richards. Hm, I  guess CDA is too classy for Dick’s. On Cedar Street, we had George’s Frank’s and Al’s-aka the Wilma Barber Shop. I chose the Wilma for my scalping.


Al Rude was the owner and barber in the Wilma Barber Shop. The Wilma was in the Wilma Building and was next door to the Wilma Theater. Al was an elderly man, at least it seemed to me that he was elderly, but I always liked him, and he seemed to like me. The only problem was that he knew my father, and since dad wanted to go to a different barber, Al would always ask me why my dad never came to him for his haircuts. Other than that, and the other than the fact that Al’s haircuts were a little sloppy, I loved going there. There was one added bonus, too. Al was the father of a beautiful Wallace High cheerleader named Linda Rude. Although I was only in grade school, I thought that Linda was the most beautiful girl in the world. Once in a long while, Linda would come into her dad’s shop, and seeing here made any haircut worthwhile.


Ah, memories, Growing up Wallace had so many great ones.

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