Springfield barber’s career calculated in 15-minute discussions

To attempt to photograph how significantly hair Don Maine swept up from beneath different chairs about 64 yrs of barbering in Springfield, I drove south from his two-chair store at Dayton Avenue and Jefferson Avenue to C&S Mulch, the place bulldozers drive alongside one another piles of brush for processing.

It was a squander of time.

Because as Maine instructed me prior to retiring yesterday, that is not how operate is measured by him or other folks in the vanishing breed of males whose shops show common barber poles.

They evaluate it by a life time of 15-moment discussions.

“I’m likely to skip it a great deal,” Maine explained to me.

“There’s great deal of men and women that I really feel like I know about as effectively I do my possess household. I have minimize some of these people at any time given that I have been on Clifton Avenue.”

He started there at the elder Ed Johnson’s store close to Hayward Center School in 1958, ideal after the price of a haircut rose from 75 cents to $1.

Due to the fact then, some of his consumers have grown into “four to five generations” of the exact same relatives, he reported.

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Get Deputy Sheriff Brian Melchi, whose forebears very first sat in Maine’s chair soon after staying pulled in a purple wagon.

Bill Brougher was a very little older – 25 – the day he wandered in to Maine’s Dayton Avenue store just after Brougher returned to Springfield to just take a career with Eagle Device, then the family members business.

“He did not have any of them gray hairs” back then, Maine recalled.

For his aspect, Brougher recalled expressing “something to Don about getting truly thick hair and that I didn’t have to stress about shedding it.”

He also remembers Maine’s reply: “Hmmm.”

“Don and I experienced a good deal of awesome conversations about the a long time,” Brougher said. “He will not put on you out about the names of the Reds gamers. They’re far more real discussions.”

Don Maine trims up Monthly bill Brougher’s hair in Maine’s barber shop for the last time. TOM STAFFORD/CONTRIBUTED

No 1 has had far more of those people with Maine than Ed Cromish, his buddy because the two of them fulfilled as little ones at Possum College.

“He applied to be my guinea pig,” said Maine, an accusation Cromish does not deny.

This goes again to 1957, when Maine was attending Andrews Barber College or university in Columbus soon after becoming advised by his mothers and fathers that his 5-foot-3 body may well be worn out by a lot of of the bodily taxing employment then offered in Springfield’s industrial financial state.

“He said he was going to be a barber and had an plan of cutting ducks and anything else,” reported Cromish, mentioning the “DA” model impolitely as opposed to a duck’s rear stop.

“I volunteered, and soon after that, it was ‘try this and try out that,’ ” Cromish explained. “I assume we started off some of these haircuts for other people.”

The youthful Ed Johnson, who experienced been doing the job at his dad’s shop for a 12 months when Maine arrived, stated “there’s not several that can do flat-tops as nicely as he does. I like flat tops, way too, but he’s possibly the ideal.”

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At 88 (five decades older than Maine), he regards him even more really as a close friend and portion of “quite a crew” of barbers in his father’s store at the time.

The two of them, along with Skip Slack, who died in Florida a several decades again, would engage in ball in the yard following to the store all through sluggish occasions, enjoying the freedoms of younger adult existence.

Early in his very own vocation Johnson had two operate-ins with the barbering law enforcement. Possessing cut hair a few several years in the Navy, Johnson would from time to time minimize hair in his dad’s store before currently being certified to spend for gas revenue to Columbus, wherever he, as well, went to Andrews Barber Faculty.

The very first citation for cutting without having a license was $5 and court docket charges. The second cost his father $175, which the youthful Johnson didn’t have. It also came with a warning that a third violation would slash the young man’s job shorter than a Marine’s hair on the initially day of boot camp.

The appropriate chastened Johnson straightened up, and he experienced an unblemished document when COVID-19 suspended his profession.

In the shuffle of occupations, Maine purchased the elder Johnson’s shop, wherever the more youthful Johnson labored until finally his father acquired a further just one on down Clifton Avenue. The younger Johnson eventually relocated to Leffel Lane and now Madison Avenue, in which he will work with his daughter and spouse.

Maine inevitably moved out to the previous ice cream shop on Dayton Avenue, drawn there by a area on “a primary drag” that experienced ample parking.

That set him in contact with 1 of his closing prospects, Ken Laurette, who many years in the past labored for John Lehman at Lehman’s sector, exactly where they made “a suggest lunch.”

For the reason that Lehman didn’t like Laurette’s extended hair and beard, “he told me any time I wanted to get it lower he’d give me $20 for it,” which brought him to Maine’s shop.

Some others stopped by the position to admire a sequence of cars Maine purchased and gussied up.

Amongst them ended up a ’31 Model A and ’40 Pontiac coupe ’55 and ’57 Chevies two Studebaker Larks and a blue ’69 Barracuda convertible he owned for “30-some many years.” He marketed one of them to a male from Indian Lake who stopped immediately after acquiring an eyeful of it in the lot that day.

And just as Maine offered his automobiles for financial gain, he acquired and bought lots at Indian Lake, beginning at a time “when you could decide on them factors up for very little or practically nothing,” he reported. Shopping for a garage and land at Turkey Foot, he added a modular house and sold that for a gain, acquired a further and repeated the very same system a number of moments.

“That’s built me come to feel better” than building his income only at the barber’s chair.

The acquiring, offering and a number of rentals have permitted him to operate three times a week in his store, splitting time with an additional barber, for the previous 20 years. They also provided him with a dwelling throughout the road from his barber store and his retirement put on Indian Lake.

He considers that not negative for a boy who grew up in Springfield’s Limecrest development, a single of the final regions of Springfield to get indoor plumbing.

In the ultimate many years of his job, Maine has picked up buyers of other independent barbers, who have been going the way of the previous barn and the outhouse. In a business dominated by franchised retailers that serve male and female buyers, the two-, three- or 4-chair impartial store is a rarity.

But the custom may possibly continue on at Maine’s shop under its new operator Christina Suttles, whose father operates C & S Mulch just down the street.

Suttles, who managed a chain hairstyling place, suggests she options in a couple of months to reopen Maine’s area as “a very little barber shop” featuring haircuts only.

Maybe like Maine, “I like the thought of getting my possess spot and currently being my possess manager for a although,” she reported.

And although other of Maine’s buyers will be relieved to hear of Suttle’s plans, Maine’s previous guinea pig, Cromish, needn’t worry about finding a new barber. He has a standing invitation to push up to a sure retirement tempo at Indian Lake for a take a look at and a absolutely free haircut any time he likes.

By this place in his daily life, it is approximately unachievable for Maine not to chat even though cutting hair.

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