Leo's Barber Shop
Leo Edward Martell owned and operated Leo's Barber Shop at 301 Watertown Street in Silver Lake "The Lake" section of Newton Massachusetts. It was a four chair shop that also was a social club on Saturdays (the shop's busiest day). Fathers would take their kids for a haircut and play on the two pin-ball machines or play cribbage with other patrons at several small tables around the shop. There also was a back room for the more serious gamblers and card players. It was not unusual for people to stay for a couple of hours and "kibitz" with my Dad and the other Barbers. My Dad had his "Master Barbers" License prominently displayed on the wall (He was quite proud of going to Barber College when most of his siblings weren't able to complete high school). In Petit de Grat, Nova Scotia where he was raised and the son of a fishing boat Captain, children were expected to work (at about 12 years old) with the family and schooling was secondary. He made it a practice of taking my brother and I to the shop on Sundays to clean it and get haircuts before going to church. A Barber's sons couldn't look shabby!
Later in life, Marty and I became barbers by his teaching and gave haircuts to some of the local children.. He, of course, didn't pay us. It was expected of us. Being of Canadian (French) descent in an area heavily populated by Italian families was an eye opening experience. There were plenty of "Good Fellas" who frequented the shop and I never worried about our safety. My Dad was well respected and we were treated with respect.
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