I had a haircut today in the little one chair barbershop in Kenilworth. Jim the Barber has been my barber for years. I’d called the day before and Jim said his only open time was 3:15. That didn’t work for me so Jim said “C’mon in at 9:30. I’ll open up early.” So I did. And he did. Jim the Barber has been at it for pushing 50 years. He is an institution. In the neighborhood. The community. The North Shore. When I walk in the door and someone is sitting in the chair, Jim always introduces me “Scott Petersen, I’d like you to meet. . . . ” And when I’m in the chair and someone walks in, it’s the same. You meet new friends. And so it goes.
I had my last haircut today from Jim the Barber. He told me that he is retiring in a few weeks to help care for his wife. Jim said he loved the work but he found it necessary to make a change to help out. “Besides I’m 87 years old” he said – much to my surprise. Jim looked around his barbershop and pointed to the chair (“from 1902“) and the mirrors on the wall (“from about 1920 taken from a barbershop in Winnetka“). The décor is pure guy. It’s great. A monstrous poster of the 1983 Chicago Bears is on the wall. Many photos of family and kids. A collection of Little League stickers dating to 1959. A host of barber paraphernalia. Old bottles of hair tonic (does anyone buy that stuff anymore?). I just had my hair cut a few hours ago. For the last time by Jim the Barber. As I left, I gave Jim a few extra bucks. And my eyes were misty. I will miss Jim. Many will miss Jim. I may never get another haircut. In a year or so, I may look like Billy Gibbon of ZZ Top.