Lawrence Anthony (L), who has been cutting hair for over 60 years, and fellow barber David Shirley (R), talk about their work. For more photos, click here.
Click here for the transcript.
Lawrence Anthony (LA): And I'm Lawrence Anthony, and we're in Drexel, North Carolina...
DS: ...in the back of the Drexel barber shop.
LA: When I was about 18-years-old my daddy wanted me to take my little brother down to the neighbors to get his hair cut and the neighbors said, I was drunk last night, Ain't no way that I can cut hair, You'll have to do it. I said, I've never cut a head of hair in my whole life, never touched clippers, he said, You go ahead and cut it. If you mess it up I'll straighten it out. I went ahead and cut my brother's hair and got through and he said, well, that's better than I could do. So he took his little hand clippers, a comb and scissors, and he said, Here, I'm going to sell you these tools for 50 cents. That's when I went into the barber business--for 50 cents.
DS: We have doctors and lawyers and judges and town drunks, and people that's got a million and probably owe a million and uh, I remember a gentleman would come in and we would ask what type of hair cut he wanted and he said, Well, cut one side burn above my ear and leave the other one below and leave my alfalfa sticking up. And we would say, We can't cut your hair like that. And he'd say, Why, that's the way you cut it last time.
If you like it tell them I cut it, if you don't like it tell them Lawrence cut it.
I've been in and around barber shops all of my life. There's a customer that I cut his grandfather's, his father's, his, his son's and his grandson's. I'm on the fifth generation and uh, they remind you that time has elapsed.
LA: 40 or 50 years ago, Drexel was a thriving little town but for the last 40 years with good management and careful planning, we now have nothing. (laughs) We've got the barber shop, and uh, ain't much going on in Drexel no more. It's kind of faded away. Try not to think about that too much--it might make you feel sad.
DS: When I think about retiring I think, Well, maybe just a little longer because I would hate to think of the time that I have to turn the key for the last time and walk off. As I get older, I think, I'm a rich man. Not dollar wise necessarily, I don't mean that, but in memories and friends, I've been thoroughly blessed.