Monday, April 11, 2011

The Barber Shop!

  After the day is over
     And the passers-by are rare
 The lights burn low in the barber-shop
      And the shades are drawn with care
 To hide the haughty barbers
       Cutting each other’s hair.
                       Morris Bishop

   Mr Lafontaine is a man I shall never forget. Every small town has a barbershop and mine was no exception. The shop was also a pool hall, and an ice cream store.
 Every so often when my Mother grew tired of us complaining about her hair cutting skills (a bowl on the head cut everything that hung below the bowl crooked or not) we would get to go to Mr. Lafontaine’s shop.
 My Mother would march us ten kids down the main street like a parade, all the villagers watching; there were never any protests as we knew after it was over Mr. Lafontaine always gave us a free ice cream cone.
 My six brothers always went first, the squirmy youngest to the oldest. He would pull out his electric clipper and shave every bit of their hair off, I always watched in horror, the hair falling to the floor. The blue and white floor tiles are still in my memories, covered with all that hair.
 Next it was the girls’ turn, youngest to oldest, my sister T always crying I knew she was thinking the same thoughts as I. I was the oldest and would always worry we were to get one of those brush cuts. I pictured all the kids at school using my head as a table for their bottle of cola as I had a very flat top on my head like a table, this vision would always be dancing in my head, maybe T seen it also.
 I could hear the boys in the back playing pool, the balls banging together, everyone laughing, the smell of tobacco, and the smoke billowing out the front door. I always thought they were laughing at us; my sisters and myself were the only girls I knew getting their hair cut at the barbershop. We were always the town amusement.
 It was now my turn, my sisters looked nice and I was not as nervous. I climbed up the front of the big red chair with the soft leather seat. I could see myself in the mirror. I was on the verge of tears. Mr Lafontaine wrapped the cloth around my neck it was draped over me, the box I was sitting on, and the big red chair. I sat staring at my long blonde hair wondering what was to happen, my legs were shaking, and my heart was racing.
 Mr Lafontaine being the nicest man I knew, and sensing my panic said, “Since you are the oldest I am giving you a special cut”. He pulled out his scissors and I watched him comb and cut the hair, bits at a time. I watch as it was falling on that blue and white tiled floor mixing with all that had fallen before.
  He called it a pixie cut and I loved it.
 My Mother paid him and we all lined up to pick our ice cream flavour. We then marched down the main street like a parade, passed the villagers, the ice cream running down our arms in the heat, and covering our faces, and I felt, if only for a little while, beautiful.

 The building still stands in the same spot. It has seen many uses over the years. I slow down every time I pass by and think of Mr. Lafontaine and how he always made us feel so special.



  1. Such a lovely childhood recollection Buttons.... of feeling beautiful and special. Sometimes the most lasting impressions are made up of the simplest of kindnesses aren't they. It's nice that you remember your Mr Lafontaine :)

  2. Hmmm....I don't have the same fond memories of the barber. Still have nightmares of Woody! Funny how my hairstyle now mimics what I dreaded back then. Maybe it would be different if I'd gone to Mr Lafontaine.

  3. My Sister and I were just talking the other day about our hair cuts that our Mom gave us! They were awful! I wonder who started that bowl over the head haircut style!

    Cindy Bee

  4. Your post reminded me of my mother's haircuts and the Toni perms she gave us while we sat on top of the washing machine. Let me just say, I'm glad those days are long gone.

    What great memories you have and a talent for retelling them. :)

  5. A wonderful memory and story!

    (And I really like the poem at the top:)

  6. Susan Memories of the simplest acts always seem to stay with you.

    Derrick Woody eh sounds kind of shady. Was he a real barber?

    BeeLady Yes it did not matter if when you moved it shifted and one side was an inch longer than the other. Oh good memories.

    Nancy I had forgotten about Toni perms oh the smell.Mine never took and that made my Mom crazy. LOL/

    Dawn Thank you.

  7. "I pictured all the kids at school using my head as a table for their bottle of cola"

    I'll have to check that image the next time I see you, never noticed that.

    Great blog.

  8. hurray for your sweet barber - making the kids feel special and individual, if he sensed they needed it. :)

  9. Not sure if Woody was a real barber or not. I was very young. I just remember a very dark basement and sheep shears. I think there was a plank on his chair to sit on. Not sure if he had a barber pole.

  10. NDF I will let you set your teacup on it if you like.

    Texwisgirl. Yea Mr Lafontaine.

    Derrick I heard something just this morning about you sitting on a horse so sheep shears make sense. No barber pole just a upside down horse shoe. Mmm think about that. B

  11. It all makes sense now. Unlucky for me.

  12. Loved the story, what a fine memory.:) Can you believe I have never been to a real barber shop for a hair cut..perhaps I will have to do so before they are all gone.

  13. I remmeber "1" time of going to a salon...because my cousin refused to comb her long hair, I got suckered into going with them for the day and she was to get her hair cut...OFF...well I ended up with the shortest hair but mine looked good, she never combed her much shorter I was never again sent to salon..:) My hair has always been somewhat long, straight as string ( my momma would say), but washed often and combed :) My Dh once a barber, now trims my hair:)

  14. Mr H You are lucky you know someone to cut your hair OR you must have very long hair now. I am pretty sure they don't give ice cream anymore so you may as well stay away.B

    Blessings Lucky you have DH, hair cuts are expensive I have tried cutting my own but My Hero laughs at the cut.Straight as a string here also.B

  15. My oh my, that brought back memories. Very nice word pictures and reflections of the experience. I also enjoy the quotes you put at the beginning of every post.

    I never had my hair cut at the barber shop, but I spent time there waiting for Dad to get his done. I often went with him on errands and loved it. All those years ago and I can still remember the barber's name, Mr. Dilly.

  16. What a beautiful memory! The good 'ol days for sure!!

    Blessings, Debbie

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  18. Buttons - this is just a lovely snippet (pardon the pun) from your childhood. I absolutely love it, and felt like I was right there with you nervously waiting for that haircut.

    Your photos are lovely too - so glad I visited!

  19. Leenie it would have been nice to go with your Dad. I love the name of your barber. Thanks about the quotes I spend lots of time choosing just the right one. I enjoy that part.B

    No Spring Chicken Thanks Debbie it was a good memory. B

    Bush Babe Thanks I am glad you visited also. I love your blog. B

    Farmchick Thank you.I remember the ice cream cone the most, weird eh. B

  20. My hometown had a little barbershop too and the barber always gave you your money's worth because he had a buzz cut that was his default cut.

  21. After getting a short 'do in Grade 8 I had someone call me Jeff (my older brother). Seriously humiliating at the time, but funny now.

  22. Mary that is funny. They must teach buzz cuts first. B

    Sara funny that things that seemed so bad when you were living them always turn out to be not bad and even funny when you grow older. We should all remember that in life. B


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