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To Jim, my barber: my hair is standing on end upon the news

On Wednesday, Jim Hathcock, one of only three people I know who have cut my hair over the years, will hang up his scissors for the last time.

Jim is retiring after 57 years of cutting hair, 45 of those at Locust Barber Shop, formerly Jim’s Barber Shop.

Jim finished high school one week and enrolled at the Durham Institute of Barbering the next. He graduated after nine months of training, and began work the next day, his 19th birthday.

He first barbered at Providence Barbershop on Providence Road in Charlotte. The shop is no longer open. But while there, he cut the hair of local celebrities such as WBT’s Arthur Smith and Ty Boyd, WSOC’s Jim Patterson and Family Dollar owner Leon Levine.

He outlasted the long-haired hippie years when many younger barbers quit due to lack of demand.

He remembers his first customer was Cless Hatley, a brick mason who laid the brick for the barber shop building. It’s unclear who his last customer will be, but he will end his career much like its beginning. Retirement begins Thursday on his birthday, his 76th.

I remember going in at around 4 or 5 years old to get my hair cut. I would climb up in the chair on to the booster seat.

I carried my own towel. Even then I must have been scared of the germs that rest in a barber cape.

I remember asking for the “Luke Duke” cut, but I’m not sure if I asked for a “Mr. T style.”

I’m probably more likely to choose that one now than I was then.

My hair has been dreading this news for years.

Maybe that’s the reason it has been running away from me for years.

So, where does a guy turn when his barber retires?

Do I continue going to the same shop?

Do I find a barber elsewhere?

Do I just shave it and adopt a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin look?

I don’t know.

I’m left scratching my head.

B.J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.