Ken Carpenter of Ken’s Barber Shop

Haircuts

People of Yorkville Interview with Ken Carpenter

Me: How long has Ken’s Barber Shop been in business?

KP: January 2014. Across the street was the original barber shop, and that went back before the depression. That was the Sanitary Barber Shop. My dad (that’s Lenny) started working there in 1968. He had been working at another barber shop across the street since 1964 when he moved to York.

Me: How long have you been a barber?

KP: I started training in 1984, and I got my license in 1986, so over 30 years. I’m old.

Me: You’re not old.

KP: I’ve been cutting hair for over thirty years.

A bit of conversation….my recorder makes people nervous at times….

Me: You’ve got good stories. Your dad has good stories.

KP: Those are just the ones I can tell in front of women and children.

Laughter….

Ken's BarberBarber chairs 2

Me: How many people a day can you cut hair?

KP: It’s been slow. It started out being really, really busy but it’s been slow for about a year. So that does vary. You’ll have some years that are busy and some that are not. You kind of start changing your opinion on what a good week is. You know. But. The best I’ve ever done is 25. The worst I’ve ever done is a zero. Anywhere in between. You can’t never tell. You have to save your money when it’s good.

Me: 25 in a week?

KP: No. A day. But that’s only happened one time. That was a good day. That was good money. And that day that was a zero, that’s only happened once. But nevertheless, yeah. People will think we’re more busy than we are because people tend to come all at once. When it’s slow, people aren’t here, so. I’d bring a book to read, but she talks to me all the time. (Looks sideways at Lorie, the other barber.)

Me: That’s what you get for letting a woman work here!

Me: You’ve worked for over thirty years in a barber shop, so tell me something funny.

KP: And clean.

Me: Yeah!

KP: Well, I need to think on it. There’s a lot of things that’s happened, but somebody might think I’m picking on somebody.

Thinking….

Me: Do you have a specialty?

KP: Yeah, some people may say it’s a flat top, haha! ….  Dad’s the one you need to tell the stories.

Me: Does he still come in here?

KP: Occasionally. (Customer chimes in, “When Ken goes to car shows.”) Yes, and when I get sick.

We then reminisce about Lenny stories. That’s the thing about the barber shop. We tend to chat about things not for the blog, but we are having the conversations that make up a community. Sharing about how people are doing, who got embarrassed about whatnot, the owner of the house that just sold right down the street, and such. No matter who you are, I encourage you to go visit Ken’s. It’s a visit you won’t soon forget.

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7 East Liberty Street, York, SC 29745

Frank’s Jewelers

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Silver pieces with exchangeable gems

Last week I had the distinct opportunity to speak with Walter of Frank’s Jewelers in York. Walter’s wife runs the anchor store in Clover, while the branch store in downtown York sits settled right on Congress Street since 2003.

Frank's 3
Silver rings with exchangeable stones

We did not engage in a formal interview, but instead spent a good hour talking casually about all sorts of things. I asked lots of questions for myself, personally needing to update and exchange a few pieces of jewelry myself, and we toured the shop at length, me admiring lots of gorgeous pieces. Having lived in York six years now, I am ashamed to say this was the first time I had been in Frank’s Jewelers, having wrongly assumed that it was a high end store out of my economical grasp.

 

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Men’s gifts
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Prayer Bracelets from Nepal

In truth, the shop is perfect for our small downtown, offering a wide variety of intricate, simple, and exquisite jeweled items that are in fact, often affordable. I will most certainly become a quick regular and look forward to visiting Walter often in the future.

His store encompasses:

jewelry repair, watch repair, appraisals, engraving, special orders, interest-free layaway, gift certificates, precious metal recycling, trade in/ trade up, jewelry care

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Joe Hardin – Downtown Music Lessons and More

Joe Hardin - Downtown Music

Biggest change in York?

When the Bi-Los came in, that was the biggest change, because my whole life, everything was about downtown York. You bought everything, your produce, your groceries, everything was downtown York. I grew up shopping at the drug stores. Everything downtown York. Then when the Bi-Los came in, the supermarkets – super centers, then everything started moving away from downtown York. Now everything’s on the outside of town. Downtown. Nobody comes there much anymore.

Struggle?

The biggest thing is the traffic, getting people back in to downtown York. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what we try to do. We try to bring people back to York. Because I’d like to see it like it was when I grew up. Like a little small town where every shop is filled with a necessity or something fun.

Happiest moment?

Walking out at night and standing on the street and looking down both ways and pretending I’m in Mayberry. Every night I do that and it’s just fun. The happiest part of my day is when I start to close up and I go to check the door and I walk out and look up and down and it’s just a small town and you see people, summertime, older folks walking up and down the street doing their exercises late at night, not worried about anybody attacking them or anything like that.

 

Visit Joe at the shop or online at https://downtownmusiclessons.com

The Church with Bluegrass

When we moved to York, we searched for a church on the internet. Certain needs dictated the types of churches we’d consider attending, with one main issue being the time of service. We found Allison Creek.

Now, Allison Creek sits up high on this hill that’s been there for centuries. Roads have formed and neighbors have popped up in homes and communities around the hill, and for the past 165 years, Allison Creek Church has watched and welcomed from a top its perch. It’s a pretty church and a common marker for those describing the area. You know, the big white clapboard church on that hill that y’all can see from…..

We had obviously seen Allison Creek from the road driving by, so when the search parameters matched the church, we tried it. What we found was a wonderful church home.

After we’d attended for a few weeks, someone invited us to the bluegrass concert that Allison Creek hosts twice monthly. It’s open to the whole community, it’s free, and there are hamburgers and hotdogs and baked goods for sale. Well, we went. And then we went again. And then the boys couldn’t wait to go back again, and again. My youngest asked for a banjo. My oldest asked for a dobro. Then a guitar. Then a violin. The bluegrass there is always quality and the community welcomes my whole family into their folds. Never in a million years would I think that by finding a church on the internet, we’d gain the support of a whole community of people AND bluegrass musicians. (Of course, church is largely about community, but I was mainly aiming for a 10am service and some coffee afterwards.)

It’s been three years of bluegrass concerts and two years of banjo lessons and one year now of violin lessons and I am blown away at God’s creativity. My boys soak up the music and the attention from the old guys and the opportunities to jam with some of the best musicians around. And these people gladly and patiently offer attention and tips to the next generation of bluegrass players. And all the time, God knew we would land here.

I think back to years ago, when my banjo player was at most two years old. My sister plays banjo and she pulled him up on her lap and sat him there with just the two of them and her instrument and I still remember how he stopped fidgeting. He gently reached down and plucked those strings, mesmerized. She grabbed her phone and snapped a picture of his chubby little fingers. It was one of those small quiet moments that ends up staying with you. A pause in a day that can cause pause years later.

I think to the year I’ve spent teaching my older son violin and how much joy it’s brought us both. It’s a unique kind of happy to play music with your child. He’s a natural, catching on quickly and teaching himself new notes before we even practice them.

Yep, God knew we’d go where the music played. God knew because He put the bluegrass here and he planted the music in my boys. And I am so very, very grateful.

Norman Rockwell Study – Four Lessons

Recently we had the pleasure of seeing some Norman Rockwell artwork up close.  A travelling exhibit featured a few of his most famous pieces, and also offered insight into his process.  Though I think of Mr. Rockwell as having captured life in action, his pieces were actually planned.  Early in his career, he used models that would stand in poses for hours as he sketched.  But with the increasing popularity of photography within the art world, Rockwell switched.  He would use everyday people, kids next door, neighbors down the street, and get them to pose.  A professional photographer would take pictures and print them.  And Rockwell would have his inspiration.  First he staged, next he photographed, then he sketched, and finally, Norman Rockwell painted.

With this full process in mind, the boys and I took off in search of what we consider local, southern, Americana.

We found it at our favorite monthly bluegrass night.

What has transpired is a month’s worth of art projects in our study of Norman Rockwell’s process.

Step One (Week One):  Photography – Take pictures that provide personal inspiration and represent Americana in your local community.  I have a few samples below, but I have not shown several different angles.  When taking the photographs, make sure to include the entire scene from various angles.  Also take close ups of the scene in parts.  In the photograph below, I also would need separate close ups of each player.  These close ups help provide detail we may not easily catch.  When moving into the sketching stage, the variety in your photographs helps with inspiration and observation of detail.

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These three gentlemen practice in the back Sunday school rooms while the featured band plays the stage in another part of the building.  Bluegrass is an integral part of culture where we live.

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This is the house band performing to the late night crowd at the end of a bluegrass night.

We have other photographs we are also using as our inspiration.  

Step Two (Week Two):  Sit down and sketch a scene using photographs as both basic structure for the piece and for inspiration.  In this phase, we can remove unwanted items and add elements we deem necessary.  As an example, for the three players, I can leave out the background posters, toys, and clutter and simplify any curtains, decor, etc.  Maybe have them standing on wooden floors instead of linoleum tile.  For the crowd picture, I would remove air conditioning units on the back wall and increase the size of the stage to feature the performers.  But no matter how I might alter my sketches, I still have the photographs as my guide.

As an example of an earlier practice round, here are some of my canning jars filled with seeds.  

cans

And here is my sketch.  

Sketch of cans

Step Three (Weeks Three and Four):  Finally, Rockwell converted his sketch to paint and canvas.  So as a final phase in the activity, I would do the same.  Personally, because we do not have a lot of experience with paints, this final step of Rockwell’s process is purely fun and educational.  

This activity is a lengthy process.  It can easily be divided into sections or used in small parts for photography, simple sketching, elements in art, and as lessons in various mediums. The main point is to have fun, be creative, and learn about one of America’s favorite artists.

Why We Need Art

When we are young, we feel talented at many things. Ask a four year old to draw a self portrait and that four year old is expecting that piece of art to hold the front and center spot on the refrigerator. Ask an extroverted little girl prancing through the grocery store to dance for you in those rockin’ cowgirl boots and she just might do you a twirl and a jig. Ask a boy to sing you a tune and he’ll belt out something. At the top of his lungs.

Kids get the arts.

And then those same kids grow up into you and me.

And we don’t feel so talented anymore.

But here’s the thing. Each of us needs a voice. Needs the therapy creativity allows us. The arts are of utmost necessity if this world is to not only survive, but develop and move forward. Because while academics and errands and all the things of our ordinary days moves us on in a marching fashion, it is often the arts that truly wake us up. That song on the radio that suddenly captivates. The one that makes us spontaneously cry. The vibrant color in nature triggering new ideas on long walks. Seeing the ordinary in a brighter light, a different perspective, a kinder nature. Making our lives not just trudge along, but dance and twirl and sing out loud. Creativity and the arts help us breathe with purpose beyond ourselves.

Point is, we need creativity. Kids need creativity. And communities need the art coming out of our creativity. So this section is devoted to creating. And to sharing. And having fun with it all.

 

Norman Rockwell

Ahh, Norman Rockwell.  We love his artwork here.  Americana at its best, in some ways.  I have one of his most famous pieces, in print, hanging on a wall in my old bedroom back home.  The one of the girl looking in the mirror, fashion magazine on her lap, dressed in a simple white gown.  It is timeless.  Vulnerable.  Sweet.  Tinged in sadness.  Classic.  True then and true still. http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/52/5270/RTPZG00Z/posters/norman-rockwell-girl-at-the-mirror-march-6-1954.jpg In a magazine article in Smithsonian Magazine dated October 2013, it stated that Norman Rockwell preferred to paint boys, claiming he understood their world better than he understood girls.  But I have found many pieces that capture both genders beautifully.  Norman Rockwell seemed to understand human nature quite well as a whole. http://uploads1.wikiart.org/images/norman-rockwell/doctor.jpg http://www.frugal-cafe.com/public_html/frugal-blog/frugal-cafe-blogzone/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/norman-rockwell-scout-is-helpful-boys-life-1941.jpg We also don’t always immediately recall is his images of current social justice, politics, religious tolerance, and other difficult subject matters from his time.  The Ruby Bridges painting is, interestingly, another girl piece that captures a moment with indescribable clarity in its simplicity. http://media.nola.com/nolavie/photo/picrockwelljpg-f9c6a83bc0f9ff93.jpg or, http://professionsforpeace.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/norman-rockwell-do-unto-others-650.jpg which places conflicting religions standing side by side. I think though we tend to remember his covers for The Saturday Evening Post, the real reason he sticks with us and speaks to us, is his provocative images, which are set right down in the middle of our familiar world. We had the privilege of seeing a Norman Rockwell exhibit recently at the Columbia Museum of Art.  The up close view of his works, his process, his perspective spurred many discussions.  So much so, we have decided to take a couple of weeks to explore his art process and his subject matter in certain provocative pieces.  Please feel free to jump over to the activity section of The Arts category to see how we are furthering our study of this classic American artist. See also:  Norman Rockwell Study – Four Lessons