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FACING MECCA FROM LOGAN: Muslims gather for Friday prayers in a new Pixel photoessay. / Photo by Sarah Ali

Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006


PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Shave and a haircut? Not for two bits these days, but still available in Wellsville

By Liz Lawyer

April 1, 2006 | WELLSVILLE -- Though beauty salons have become more common and most men shave in the comfort of their own bathrooms every morning, men once went to the barbershop every few days to have the neighborhood barber give them a shave and engage in some deep discussion.

A bit of this tradition has taken root in Wellsville, just off Main Street in a barbershop that opened recently. The traditional painted blue-and-red-striped barber's pole is out front and the centerpiece of the shop is the barber's chair, where Larry Pitcher, a 70-year-old resident of College Ward, plies his trade.

The scene in Pitcher's shop is much like what one would expect. A mirror and counter line the back wall and a magazine rack stands near the front desk. A radio plays music in the background as Pitcher combs out the hair of one of his customers. He stands back to view his handiwork and whisks the apron off his customer's lap.

"That was so enjoyable I didn't want it to end," the customer said.

Pitcher is a life-long Cache Valley native. He was born and raised on a dairy farm in Cornish and though he lived in Salt Lake City and Ogden for quite a while, he returned to the valley and now offers his hair-cutting skills to Cache Valley residents, as the sign in front of his shop assures customers.

SCISSOR WIZARD: Larry Pitcher's happy to be the barber of Wellsville. / Photo by Liz Lawer

The "Scissor Wizard" is in from 9 to 5:30, it says, Tuesday through Friday.

Pitcher headed to barber school in 1953 after graduating from high school. He said his cousin came out of the military and headed to school in Salt Lake City on the G.I. bill, and Pitcher went with him. After the six-month program he served a year-long apprenticeship in a Smithfield barbershop. The first shop he owned himself was in Lewiston.

After living in Ogden for 20 years he headed back to the valley of his birth. Fifty-three years after starting his career, Pitcher opened for business in Wellsville after his shop in Hyrum was demolished to make way for a library.

So the Scissor Wizard has settled into his sixth shop since beginning work as a barber. Pitcher said he likes being a barber.

"You get to find out where the good fishing spots are and some of the new jokes," he said, sitting on a bench in his shop where customers can wait their turn for a $7 haircut. "You hear lots of opinions about religion, politics and such."

Pitcher said business hasn't suffered much from the move. He said he has customers who come from all over the valley to have him cut their hair, and some of his customers have become good friends over the years. "All my customers are my friends, practically," he said.

He knows the barbershop is a dying breed.

"Men used to get their hair cut every two weeks, and shaved every few days, he said. "Now they cut their hair every six weeks or so." He still does a shave every now and then, but the barber business is not the way it used to be.

"Shaving used to be the mainstay of the barbershop," he said.

Though there have been some changes in barbering, the fact that his shop is now an oddity is beneficial to him. There aren't as many barbers nowadays, he said. They are less common than hair dressers. Beauty school and barber school used to be two different things and women never used to cut men's hair. Now the two are being combined.

Whereas his customers used to include both men and women, now they are mostly men, Pitcher said.

"Mainly because I do the men's hair while the women decide what they want," he said, chuckling.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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