Behind the chair: Barbering and the Beatles
Part III of the series
Continued from Feb. 7 edition:
By Kris Leonhardt
“Everything has changed now. We had four barber schools in the state. At that time, you couldn’t get into barber schools, because there were so many taking up barbering,” said Jerry Schalow, recalling the earlier days behind the chair.
“Well, then the long hair style came, then everybody could cut hair. That is when a lot of barbers went out. The women started taking over then, with cosmetologists, beauticians, and hairstylists – so that kind of knocked the barbers out.
“(It happened) when the Beatles came into the United States.”
That’s not all that has changed since Schalow took up barbering. In 1950, he said that the family barber shop was getting $1.25 for a haircut. Today, he receives $9 for an adult cut and $8 for children and seniors.
Still a good deal, but Schalow isn’t doing it for the money. Today, he does it more for the social aspect. The community gathering aspect of the barber shop has long been engrained in the business and that hasn’t changed for Jerry.
“A barber and a bartender better be able to talk to people,” Schalow said. “Years ago, they used to come in barber shops just to sit around and talk.
Jerry says he maintains a comfortable schedule, but continues to see a spike around the holidays. After all of these years in the business he has made a science out of its history and progress.
“Hair is adornment and protection, and when it’s cold they are not going to get a haircut,” explained Schalow. “They are going to leave their hair until it warms up and then they are going to get a haircut.”
At 87, he still enjoys what he does and works long hours to maintain his lifestyle. Schalow still works a 5 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule, Monday through Thursday.
“My folks are both passed away and if they would have known that I was still barbering at my age; but, I like it. I don’t have to be busy all of the time. I don’t take appointments.
“I am going to keep going as long as the Lord gives me health. My children will be retired before me.”
While the Schalow family has enjoyed a long history in the barbering business, Jerry said that the legacy will end when he puts his clippers away for the last time.
“Russ had two sons and none of his are barbers,” he said. “ I have two sons and none of mine are barbers. My brother, Dick had four sons and none of his are barbers.
“It’s going to end with me.”
To see Part II, click here.
To see Part I, click here.