Bob Townsend, of Townsend's Barber Shop in Summersville, West Virginia, first cut my hair sometime around 1969. I was too little to fit into the chair, so Bob put a board across the chair arms for me to sit on. I remember that first professional haircut; the smell of the shop, the buzzing around my ears and the fear Bob was gonna clip my ears with his scissors made it memorable.
I was a regular at Townsends Barber Shop through my early 30s, sometimes driving 100 miles every couple of months for a trim. Brad Hughart, Bob's son-in-law and the shop co-owner began cutting my hair during my teen years. Brad was younger, and seemed more in tune with styles for young guys.
My 15-year-old self really dug the way he could cut some bangs.
Driving from Huntington, West Virginia to Summersville, West Virginia was too much of a chore in my mid-30s, even for a haircut that cost $5. So during that time I found a stylist closer to home. There's a big difference between a barber and a stylist.
The difference isn't so much skill as it is ego.
Last Saturday I made the trip back to Summersville, where my son Jaden experienced his first Townsend Barber Shop cut. For some reason I was overwhelmed with nostalgia, and took a picture to memorialize the event.
Jaden was a bit annoyed, but Brad understood.