The 60s Official Site Blog

Dedicated to the memory and history of the 60s from a personal and historical point of view.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Remember Charley Conrad's Barbershop

I read the other day in the Carrollton Leader newspaper where Ed's Clip Joint was closing its doors after decades of cutting hair here in Carrollton, Texas.  It was of the last typical barber shops here in Carollton.  It was your typical men only barber shop where you could get a haircut and great conversation from politics to the latest gossip all for $11.00.

After reading the article my mind wandered back to Circleville, Ohio to that small barber shop on South Pickaway Street just across the street where the Nazarene Church was once located.  I do remember the haircut was $1.50 or $1.75 for a flat top. Now I pay $20.00 including tip. As I look back to the 60s, it seems those little things back then really seemed so insignificant at the time but turned out to be a great memory today.

I had my first haircut at Charley's when I was probably 8 years old and continued to have him cut my
hair when I was an adult even after returning home from my tour in Vietnam. He also gave us  kids some double bubble chewing gum after cutting our hair.  I remember receiving that chewing gum even while in high school.

It seems like it was just yesterday when I would sit and wait for my turn and watch in awe as Charley cut the hair and chewed the fat with all the customers.  Many like me listened to every word while others' faces were embedded in the magazine they were reading.  Charley was a devout Christian so no foul language was ever heard from anybody even though the customers were all men.  Today not too many barber shops are men only establishments as they are disappearing quickly.

From a small boy to a teenager I could not wait for Charley Conrad to feel I was old enough to get that razor trim around the ears and back of the neck.  It seemed to me that was a sign you have finally grown up.  I don't think I ever received one of them at Charley's until right before I left for the Army.  I guess I was old enough to serve my country so I now get the razor cut.

I still can remember Charley Contrad's smiling face, as he gestured for you take the seat in the chair.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Looking Back at March 1967

March 1967, 46 years ago, can you imagine that much time has gone by but many events from that time seemed like the other day?  Circleville, Ohio, not a very large town but it was the entire world to me at the age of 18. I was still undecided what I wanted to do after graduating from high school the previous year. College, work or military service remained my choices as do today's young people. 

The evening news with Walter Cronkite was announcing that President Johnson was beginning the lottery draft as we were building up our involvement in Vietnam.  Additionally the Jimmy Hoffa story continues as he was sentenced to an eight year prison sentence as the Beatles song "Penny Lane" hit the #1 position.

I still remained convinced that I will find what I am suppose to do with my life. At that time I was working at Big Bear Supermarkets in Circleville.  I was the full time frozen food/produce guy, responsible for stocking, ordering, rotating stock and assisting customers.  I also doubled as a carry-out service as needed.  A great job with decent pay for 1967.  I was paid $2.25 an hour.  The minimum wage at that time was $1.25 which I was received at J.C. Penney's before I took this job.  I definitely was going to be a store manager one day as I started ruling out college as the war in Vietnam continued to escalate. For those of you who do not anything about Big Bear Stores,  Big Bear was a regional supermarket chain operating in Ohio and West Virginia. The company was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1934, and was headquartered there until its acquisition by Syracuse, New York-based Penn Traffic in 1989. For nearly 75 years, the chain was a Central Ohio institution. A few years later it went under as a result of poor management and competition.

I worked hard and was paid well but as more and more of acquaintances from my hometown felt the twang of the draft, I was convinced by my manager to try to join the Reserve but it was difficult as everybody else had the same idea and none of the units close to home had any open positions.

On March 25 The Turtles hit #1 with "Happy Together" as  I was getting more and more apprehensive and in September 1967 I enlisted in the United States Army.  I guess I found my destiny.

You can listen to the hits of March 1967 this month only on Soundtrack of the 60s with Neal Stevens to relive those times that was to me just the other day.

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