Is 81 years a professional record?

I need to get a haircut today. That fact got me thinking about my favorite barber, Kenneth Wood. I used to get my hair cut by Mr. Wood every time I visited my mother and sister in Graham, NC. I haven’t been back there so often since Mom passed in 2003, but I was sure, when I looked him up a few minutes ago, that Mr. Wood would still be at it. Sure enough, he is.

Two stories — After 55 years, a thoroughly unusual day
and Small-town barber attracts attention — ran last month in the Burlington, NC Times-News (which commendably does not bury its archives behind a paywall), remarking on Mr. Wood’s 55 years in one location  the Graham Barber Shop, still tucked under one corner of the Graham Cinema Marquee. It also notes that Mr. Wood has been cutting hair for longer than most people will live: 81 years in all. (He started in 1927.) During that time he also cut my father’s hair, my uncle’s hair, and all five of my cousins’ hair. He only left the business (though the shop stayed open, waiting) while serving his country during WWII. He must now be one of that war’s oldest veterans as well.

I blogged about him here in January 2003. Good to know he’s still going strong.

I shot a little photo set of Graham and Mr. Wood’s shop in January 2003. To see it click here, or on the picture above.

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3 comments

  1. Phil Windley’s avatar

    I love it. When I’m back in Blackfoot I always stop into Clark’s barbershop to get my haircut. The original Mr. Clark is long since retired, but his son is still there and I can always count on a good, small town conversation when I go.

  2. Doug Y’s avatar

    Mr. Wood Cut my hair last Tuesday. He will be 99 on August 30th. He has cut my hair nearly my entire life.

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Well, Doug, I hope he cuts my hair the next time I’m down there. When my mother was alive (she lived nearby, on Pine Street), I’d come every few months, and always go to Mr. Wood. But since she died in ’03, I’ve come less often (though that’s a poor excuse… My sister still lives there, as do many cousins, mostly named Crissman).

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