Barbershop helper

[Photo by father and narrative by my mother]

Jerry began mentioning a neighborhood boy who was at the barbershop a good bit. The barbers found that Billy was eager to do small chores and errands. Pretty soon, up popped the boy's image in my developing tray from the roll of barbershop film Jerry handed me to process. Billy Vander Maas, charming little entrepreneur, here sweeps the floor for Herman Ripmaster, the shop owner at the time. The boy schmoozed the customers as well, and everybody loved him.


Does anyone recognize the customer getting a haircut?

  • Alan 8y

    What a nostalgic photo, as are most of your archive. I'm still in love with this magnificent series.
  • John Stoll 8y

    I heard the story on this picture this morning on Michigan Public Radio., with Joey being interviewed. Great picture and story!
  • sparky05 8y

    Since many of these photos revolve around my father's friendship with the local barber, I feel I should add the disclaimer that Jerry was not responsible for many of the haircuts you will see on dad and his brothers. Grandpa VM served as the family's resident (lousy) barber. Jerry and the other men staffing the shop were much more skilled.

    When I was growing up, dad would take me to Chuck the barber, who had a shop at the corner of Eastern and Kalamazoo near my maternal grandmother's home. At some point, however, he decided to take me downtown to the barbershop he used to go to as a kid. I remember the day that we walked into the shop and he said "Hi Jerry" as if he'd been there every week for all those years. It took Jerry a bit to figure out who this guy was, but there was a lot of laughter and a good bit of reminiscing when he figured it out. And as I recall, I got a pretty good haircut that day as well.

    Dad would spend a lot of time in his life cleaning up other people's messes - he eventually became the custodian at my elementary school - so this was good training for him. Although I never did think of him as a schmoozer...

    As for the guy in the chair, I was thinking Jerry sans mustache, but since he probably took the photo I'm likely to be wrong. Nice barber chairs, by the way.
  • Wystan 8y

    I was another blond Dutch boy whose father ineptly assumed the barber's chore, with the result that schoolmates accused me of allowing him to place a bowl over my head and snip off whatever stuck out under it. It was a pleasure to hear about Sparky05's discovery of this photo, on Michigan Radio's "Morning Edition" today. Flickr has become famous in the neighborhood . . . .
  • Gail Dedrick 8y

    So who is it in the barber chair?
  • churl 8y

    I was so angry that I missed the Michigan Public Radio story. I heard the teaser while I was driving to work, and I thought to myself, "They're talking about Joey's photostream!!" But alas, work called.
  • Wystan 8y

    Churl, Michigan Radio announced that the story will run again on this evening's news program. I wouldn't be surprised if they run it again now and then, over the weekend.
  • sparky05 8y

    According to the woman who did the interviews, it'll also be available online, which is how I think I'm going to end up listening to it...
  • GuatemalanGirl 8y

    Hey Sparky05...could you provide the online link? I am a big fan of Joey and Chalet and their photos!! Thanks!
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    ArdsonJohn: I missed it. Glad you liked it. I've been worrying that I sounded snoozy.

    Marc: I don't know how hold those chairs are, but they're old. I'm trying to remember if those are the same ones that are still in the shop. 'Cause the ones there now are also very old.

    Wystan: So you heard it too. I'm still waiting for the radio station to post an audio clip on their website.

    Gail: No one knows. We're hoping some Grand Rapids person will identify him for us.

    Churl: Well check WUOM online tomorrow. Maybe the audiofile will be up by then.
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    WUOM has the story up now. Here's a link to the audio file. There's a weird spot where Marc's voice follows my voice without a transition. Our voices are similar, and I thought he was me the first time I listened.
  • Ross 8y

    Hey you guys, congratulations on the radio piece! I agree--confusing transition there.

    I'm hoping the guy in the chair is some notorious mobster. He's not looking too happy to be sharing the limelight with Billy...
  • profkaren 8y

    Joey, this was SO COOL! My husband ran downstairs to tell me there was a story about Flickr on the radio, and lo and behold it was YOU! You (and Chalet) rock!
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    Ross: He looks like a tough customer, doesn't he?

    Karen: My 15 seconds (literally) of fame. And good thing it was so short. I'm not the smoothest speaker.
  • sparky05 8y

    Oh, come on Joey. You sounded great...
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    Thanks, Marc. You too.
  • GuatemalanGirl 8y

    I love listening to this guys! I knew Flickr was great site and you two have proven it to me. This warms my heart!
  • Andrew McFarlane 8y

    Hey Joey, I blogged a small copy of this to Photo sharing and public history on Absolute Michigan.
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    Roadside: Thanks for your comment.

    Andrew: Thanks for letting me know.
  • Tripp Scott 6y


    Thanks again! Especially for the link, making it easy to listen to.

    You are right about the transition thing.
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Taken on April 10, 2007
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