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Mar 26, 2011

Haircuts at Hogan's Inn

Migawd!   Is it really 55 years ago since Bob McWaters and his father Dave, cut my hair in the barber shop that is now Hogan's Hunt Pub in King City?   The answer is yes, and it is 55 years since I last saw Bob McWaters, the barber, until this week, that is.   Bob now resides in the Maple Health Centre on Keele Street North in Maple, a few kilometres south of King City.   Hogan's is a fine, upscale dining room and pub, in what was Armstrong's Variety store in the mid-1950s.  The barber-shop was in the basement.   It had 2 barber chairs as I recall, a pool table, and a big old pop cooler with the tall bottles of Coca-Cola, 7up, Pepsi, and Orange Crush (my favourite), etc., standing in icy cold water, up to their pop-off tops.   There was also a white barber's towel attached to the cooler lid for drying off your bottle of pop.   There were also mens' magazines.   No, not that kind of magazine, but real mens' magazines about huntin', and fishin' and cars. The reunion with Bob came about as a result of a picture I had put into a blog, a few weeks ago, of a King Township farm pond.   I thought Bob's father, Dave had constructed this pretty pond but during my research discovered he had not.   But I was surprised to discover the McWaters family had lived there for a little while.   A chat with Bob's sister, Jane, who lives just outside King City, led to me enquire about her father Dave, and brothers Bob and Jack, who I had lost contact with long ago.   She told me where Bob was and suggested I drop in on him.   Bob suffered a bad accident a few years ago which left him with what appears to be damage to some fine motor skills.   He also speaks slowly and softly.   None of which kept him from reminding me that we played on the same baseball team, nor asking about numerous guys with whom we had gone to school and hung around with.   Bob only mentioned one girl by name and I was surprised to hear her name, because it was my wife's older sister.   He described her as "... a really nice girl".   Bob and his brother Jack were lifelong bachelors, but here was what I mused might be a decades-old infatuation re-surfacing for a moment.   We were both quite capable of discussing the here and now, but we both seemed content and comfortable to dwell in the past, on this occasion.   Next time, who knows?   We shook hands and agreed to see each other again.   I hoped, as I left, that it was as pleasant a visit for Bob as it was for me.   I mentioned the name McWaters to my friend Ken McQuarrie, the proprietor (for the last 50 years) of Clearview Motors, on Keele Street South, in King City, and he of course remembered the McWaters clan.   He told me also of another barber from that era.   Half a century ago, if Dave or Bob McWaters didn't cut your hair, then the next nearest barber was in Maple.   His name?   It was Mel "Clipper" White, from whom you were pretty much guaranteed to get a haircut that never looked the same twice.   Finally, I must mention Bob's brother Jack.   Several year ago, Jack retired to Elliott Lake in northern Ontario.   One day he drove into the backwoods and got involved in trailing a moose to take photographs.   He was with an acquaintance and they got lost in the woods.   The other fellow found his way out the following day but Jack wasn't found until the third day.   He had tragically passed away from hypothermia.   When I mentioned to another old King City friend, John Dew, who new the McWaters's well, that I thought I might write a blog about the McWaters's, he quickly suggested, as a title: "Still McWaters run deep".   In a strange way, it seemed entirely fitting, but rather as an epilogue, I think.   Please comment if you wish.
BtheB                                                                                          (Photos by BarrytheBirder)

5 comments:

A said...

very interesting description of barber. too bad about the men's magazines...

L J GARDENER said...

The McWaters kept a rack of Watsons potato chips on the wall to reward us little brats for not fidgiting and crying etc. Sometimes us "cool" guys would to the other side of town and have the mysterious Charlie ? with the slicked back hair,pencil thin mustache and wearing pinstipe pants give us the modern cut. However it was Del Patton who gave me my first beatles hair cut,essentially cutting my bangs straight across and turned me on to CFGM Country radio all for 50 cents.

BarrytheBirder said...

Thanks to L.J.Gardener for twigging my memory about other tonsorial tales of King City. BtheB

effie kadoglou said...

yes this is fun to go back in better times of our lives.we think that time is out of a fairy tale.those decades were pleasant,you see always is a dark age and a renaissance age.now unfortunately we have dark age.maybe you Americans are in better place than we Europians or even Balcans.i have one big question.how Americans voted for a dark colored president?i know he is not the one who rules the world and i suppose they put him as president not your voting.i don't vote anymore.this is dangerous talking.you can delete this message.

Mike Ormsby said...

I remember going to Charlie's (up on King Side Rd. close to Patton) to get my hair cut when I was a kid....maybe he was a bit too 'slick' because soon I was getting my hair cut over at Marty's, first over in Oak Ridges, then later in the shop below Armstrong's....now the Hunt Pub at Hogan's. I recall getting brush cuts....'buzz' cuts I guess would be a better description. Any way, thanks for bringing back some great memories....Nip Armstrong's was the place to go to get penny candy....especially when one went 'uptown' (like when you went to the old library on Springhill Rd...or up to the Red & White....or to the old Doris M. Patton school as those of us from the east end of town did for Grade 5 and 6....Nip's was a stop for sure....unless we took the 'short cut' over the rail tracks back of the old Chev Olds dealership. If I remember correctly, Nip was also active trying to save our maple trees along Keele that got cut down when it was widened (think there was even an article in the Canadian Audobon magazine).