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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Recently-retired barber tells his story

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  • By his own estimation, Bud Lawrence has made approximately 50,000 heads a little lighter over the past 71 years, marking a lifetime of giving the right haircut and getting the talk around town.
    Lawrence, who turned 90 this month, put down the scissors and comb for good on Nov. 17, 2012, retiring to the Yreka home he has shared with his wife Margaret for the 66 years they have been married.
    In a recent interview, Lawrence said that he began his seven-decade career right out of high school, following in the vein of his father's 46 years as a barber in Montague and then Yreka. "I had wanted to be a cartoonist," he explained, "but I had to make a living and I enjoyed cutting hair."
    Over the course of his career, Lawrence cut hair through Yreka's logging boom days and even overseas during his four years in the Marine Corps. "I cut hair on every island and every crew ship I was on," he said.
    After so many years as a fixture in Miner Street's barbershop, age was not the factor urging him to retire, according to Lawrence. He explained that he had to take time off to help Margaret around the house after she had broken her wrist, and he wanted more time to build wooden toys in his shop. "I have plenty to do," he said.
    Even though he will no longer cut hair, Lawrence said that he will still stop in from time to time to check on the barbershop's patrons and employees. In a quote sanitized for the general public, he said, "My favorite part was the bullcrap. When I retired, that's when I ran out of bullcrap."
    With the housework, crafting wooden toys, keeping in contact with his three boys and visiting the shop, he was asked if he misses the job. In his own words, "I don't miss the cutting, but I miss the people."
    – David Smith can be reached at dsmithsiskiyou@gmail.com.

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