Jim the Barber

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.

4 thoughts on “Jim the Barber

  1. Don Fagerberg

    In case you are in great need, I used to cut hair in college and seminary. I recently bought a clipper at Walgreens for $10 and gave a haircut to our grandson, Colin. Karin had the nerve to ask when I gave the last haircut. It was over 30 years ago. I told her it was like riding a bike. The haircut came out great by the way. (As an aside, for many years, I used mirrors to give myself a “Flat top,” and never messed up.) So, if you ever need a replacement for Jim, and are willing to come to Florida when we are there, the cut will be on me.


    Don Fagerberg, Founder *Ministry Mentors* * enhances the professional effectiveness of active clergy, strengthens their personal and spiritual health, and affirms their gifts for ministry.* http://www.ministrymentors.org Phone: 847-729-1644

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    1. Just a thought – this very special man is cutting his income to be a super-supportive help for his wife – why not use your connections to throw a giant “Thanks, Jim” goodbye party for him? He has meant a lot to many people (as you state, he introduced everyone). A memory book for people to sign would be appropriate. But a monetary gift would probably help a lot!

  2. David Adams

    Cousin Scott, you will probably look the same as you did when you and Mike visited Oregon after college. Do you still have the rabbit fur hat?

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