I COULD HAVE BEEN WALKING into Floyd’s Barbershop in Mayberry on this first Saturday morning in April.
Same thing, according to the two customers at Main Street Barber, 106 First Street South, in Montgomery.
Barber Steve Pan agrees, as I note two Norman Rockwell paintings posted above a vintage cash register claimed from Franke’s Bakery down the street.
Main Street Barber is about as rural Minnesota, Norman Rockwell Americana, small-town barbershop as you’ll find right down to chairs backed against the wall, trophy fish, a stand alone stove, an aged bottle of thick-as-tar “Auxiliator for the hair,” walls of mirrors, and barber chairs that hearken to the early 1900s.
I wonder, as customer Bill Becker urges me to try out a barber chair, how many hands have rested upon the arms of the chair, how many stories have been swapped here, how much hair has fallen upon this floor.
Bill guesses thousands of hands and I expect he would be right.
On this Saturday, 61-year-old Bill briefly serenades us with a verse from Marshall Tucker’s “A New Life” album while Steve sculpts his hair into a flattop. Bill remembers aloud, too, where he was when President John F. Kennedy and George Wallace and John Lennon were shot. I’m uncertain how we got on that topic because I’ve been distracted by photographing the historic charm of this place.
Steve’s been barbering here since 1986, when he took over for Phil, who retired. “The opportunity was here…we’ll give it a shot back in the old hometown,” Steve recalls of his return to Montgomery from cutting hair in Hopkins. He’s the only barber in town now; the other two died.
Nearly 30 years later, the hometown boy come home is still cutting hair…
PLEASE RETRUN FOR MORE stories and photos from Montgomery. Also, check my March 4 – 8 archives for a series of previous posts from this southern Minnesota community.
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling