Dick Hunt's Blog

January 11, 2010

Break In!

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 6:12 pm

Break in!
by Dick Hunt, January 11th, 2010
On an isolated R.C.A.F. Station in 1942, I was phoned one day by the Station C.O. with a startling request. He said he had heard that I was able to cut hair.  I responded that  I was not  a barber. He said, “do you cut hair Corporal?” I had to say I sometimes cut hair for personel.  He said that there was a meeting of Air Force Brass coming to our station in two days and he had to have  a haircut.  I said I don’t  have any equipment.  He said there is a barbershop on station which is equipped.  I said, Sir, I don’t have the key. He said, “break down the door if necessary, you are going to cut my hair”.  I said, “yes  Sir, when?” I cut his hair.
I had in fact cut hair very frequently down the years.  My Mother, with her laborious old fashioned squeeze type clippers, scissors and comb used to cut  hair for all our family  and the employees too.  As I grew into my teens, I was taught to do the same,  as was my eldest brother.  When I studied agriculture in a Community College in the thirties, I cut hair for fellow students, many of whom were short of spending money in those cash short years. So without any professional training, I cut hair for the Wing Commander.  He didn’t give me a tip but he was satisfied I had improved his appearance.  All in the line of duty .
When I joined the R.C.A.F., I cut hair due to the stringency of budgets. Our  cash flow from the Government was $1.30 a day.    One of the recruits, a son of a wealthy father was very vain about his hair.  It was wavey (he used to have it permed).  When our contingent of recruits went off to Manning Depot he was advised by some of our number to have a  short hair cut before he was sent off to the barber.  He had a little trim in a civvy shop.   Shortly after, he was detailed for the trip to the barber shop, which employed at least  20 civilian barbers. I  timed them. They spent an average of three minutes on each recruit.  They loved to have a go at  George. He came away with a brush cut, a hang dog look and a hint of  tears.
After I was ordained and placed in charge of a rural parish, I had a visit one afternoon from two men from one of the Mission points, who had a problem to discuss and not much time to spare as they both had to have haircuts.  I offered to cut their hair while we had our discussion.  They were a little dubious as to my ability to have satisfied customers (gratis). The result  was happy. They saved the price of a haircut, we had our discussion and they went on their way satisfied and on time to keep to their schedule. Both those men have passed away but I am still in touch with their widows.  I still have my barber tools but keep them for the sentimental value that  they afford to me, not  for the free haircuts that led me to share my  talent.

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