Bradford Barber Shop
On July 1, 1939, Dewey Bradford received his Barber Certificate from Chattanooga Barber College. He received his instruction from Mr. W. T. Evans. Dewey had learned to cut hair by watching his brother, Gordon, and other self taught home barbers, practicing on family members and friends. He did not open a shop until he moved from Bessemer, Alabama, back to his birth place, Rising Fawn, in August, 1946. The only other barber shop in the Dade Valley at that time was run by Tommy Sims in Trenton.
He rented a building on Highway Eleven, which had been used, formerly, as the office for the engineers and workers of the State Highway Department when they reworked and improved Highway Eleven. This was owned by Herschel Dean and was just north of Dean’s Cafeteria and Garage in “downtown” Rising Fawn.
He installed showers, heating the water in a pipe-lined coal burning heater. He charged fifty cents for a hair cut, thirty five cents for shaves and twenty cents for showers. He furnished the soap and towels. He had a shoe shine stand and a shine boy who charged ten cents a shine. This was his son, Dion’s, first of many jobs.
Time made a few changes, in hair styles and costs. Thirty three years later he was charging a dollar for shaves and a dollar twenty five for hair cuts.
In 1959, he purchased a property on the east side of the highway south of the old shop and north of the post office. He constructed a two room block building.
One room was used for a beauty shop and was rented for many years by Elizabeth Guinn who retired when Dewey “closed shop” in 1979. Many of their regulars made a habit of coming back here for their hair cuts and permanents.
Dewey liked his work because it brought him close to his customers, hearing and caring about their family problems, health, school grades of their children, marriages, new babies and all the aspects of their lives. He still loves each family and it’s a joy to meet them anytime.
One practice Dewey started even before he opened the shop was to give a child’s first hair cut free of charge. Until this day he is often introduced as the man who “gave me my first hair cut”. He even saved a lock for the mother many times.
Many topics were discussed, discarded or dismissed each week in the “clip joint” as it was nicknamed. Among those he recalls besides the usual happenings in family life were politics, religions, sports, village, county and world affairs. The favorite, of course, was fishing. I am sure both rooms of the shop would not hold all the catches that were mentioned there. It was headquarters for news items (and gossip).
Dewey was always handy and willing to give shots, remove stitches, furnish bandaids for injuries, referee arguments and settle feuds among his customers.
He made a good garden each year in the spot behind the building. It became “our garden” to the neighbors near by with whom he shared the produce.
Another service Dewey has enjoyed for years is the one of going into the homes of shut-ins and ill people when they are unable to get to a barber shop. He purchased special equipment including a vacuum system which has never been used except for this purpose. He goes to nursing homes, hospitals and anywhere his services are needed. This is part of his personal service and is the only barbering he has done since he retired in 1979.
He still has the furnishings from the shop and, I suppose, many are thankful these cannot talk and reveal all the conversations, jokes, gossip and so on, that took place in Bradford’s Clip Joint.
Written by Margaret C. Bradford Rising Fawn, GA 30738