Time To Get Our Ears Lowered

By Keith Gibson

Growing up as a boy in McGill during the 1940s was a whole lot different than the present.  Simple things were the rule of the day.  There was no TV or R & R to stifle our young brains.  Everything was new and exciting.   Each new day as we were rudely awakened from our slumber by our parents, we looked forward to seeing and experiencing new stuff.  Maybe it was the belief that we all had that the dreaded school might be closed for some reason.  It never happened that way.  Even during the terrible winter of 49, with all the snow and cold, the schools never thought of closing.  Nothing, not even Nature, could stop the onslaught of school.

So, out the door , into the cold we headed for the local education camp.   The only thing lacking at our school was a large chain link fence.  Guess it wasn’t necessary out here in the middle of nowhere.

After school we felt better because we could now go sledding, have snow ball battles etc.  However there was always the day that something else stopped our fun.  That was the dreaded haircut day.

We were given the proper change for the barber and sent on our way with the warning that the haircut would be checked.  Most of us went down to Johnny the Barber’s place on main street.  It was a few steps down from the sidewalk.  There were two large barger chairs.  They were beautiful pieces of art, with the leather seats and chrome foot rest.  There was a special seat for the smaller kids.  It was placed across the side arms.  There was a roll of some kind of tissue paper behind the head rest.  Johnny was very professional . He would finish the haircut and then splash some red or green smelly stuff on our head.  Usually on paydays there was quite a crowd at the shop and so Fay Brunson or Mitch Zakula  would man the other barber chair.

I don’t remember the cost,, but it was around 25 to 50 cents.  There was another barber shop next to the McGill Club.  I remember Mitch and Fay being there in later years.  That space is now occupied by a new gift shop, called, Unique Treasures .  Next door is Staci’s Salon.  I don’t remember if that was a barber shop or not.  I do remember A. E. Preston the banker selling insurance there and I think a Mr. Francisco.  The gift shop is destined to become world famous as Brenda and Tina  sell my books there along with other McGill made gifts.

Getting a haircut back then was a chore but I look back on it now in a different light.  It was actually quite pleasant and I remember how manly we felt sitting there waiting our turn with the men.  We could hardly wait until we could get the barber to shave us.  We watched in awe as Johnny shaved someone with the hot lather from a special machine on the back shelf.  Then he wrapped a hot white towel around the man’s face.  It was quite a ritual.  I have never had that done.  I don’t know if it is done anymore.

Such pleasant memories are so special to us old fogies.  I suppose each generation has them,  I certainly hope so.  Oh, yes our parents did check out the haircut when we got back home.