Support Ken

Click here to support Ken Steinhoff through your Amazon purchases.

Purchases made at Amazon.com from that link put 6% of the total transaction price in Dad's pocket at no additional cost to you. You're going to shop online anyway, right? Do it through Amazon.com to support this web site.

Or, if you'd rather just send him a random amount of money, you can do that too...







Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Barber Ed Unger Retired in 1983

Cape Girardeau Barber Ed Unger

The Southeast Missourian’s Out of the Past column on December 13, 2008 carried this note:

25 Years Ago: Feb. 13, 1983

After a million or more snips, Ed Unger is putting away his hair clippers and razor and retiring from the barber profession; Unger began barbering in 1935 on Main Street; he has been associated with several shops virtually all over Cape Girardeau.

Ed Unger knew my head well

Back in the days when I still had hair to cut, Ed Unger was most likely the guy who did it.

I don’t know who this kid is, but I was probably about that age or younger when Ed gave me my first trim.

The best part was that he didn’t mind if I read comic books while he was working away.

A Machine for Contemplation

Wright Morris, in his book, God’s Country and My People, described the barber chair this way:

A machine for contemplation, a throne for reflection, a couch for taking in or giving out information, capable of elevation, bodily suspension, facial and tonsorial transformation, the Iron Age went on to more imposing constructions, but none of them so well scaled to the nature of man.

Seated on a cushioned board placed across the chair arms, I first appraised the world from a point of elevation, observed my new head emerge from my old one, experienced the baptism of green tonic, held my breath in the cloud of fragrant talcum, and as I descended, heard the voice of authority pronounce the code word, “Next.”

Cape Girardeau Barber Ed UngerI have my own throne

When my brother Mark said that a buddy’s dad was selling three barber chairs from his shop, I told him to snatch one up for me. It took a U-Haul trailer to get it from Missouri to Florida and three friends to help get it into the house, but it’s been ensconced in my living room for over 35 years. It’s getting a little tired, but grandson Malcolm still likes to be pumped up and down in it.

Don’t discuss politics

My hair was a bit shaggy when I started working at The Athens (OH) Messenger in 1968, so I hopped into a barber chair to be made more presentable. At some point in the conversation, I mentioned my new job.

I was stretched out in the chair while he shaved under my neck with a straight razor when he asked, “Do you know ‘Joe Smith’, who’s running for whatever?”

“Yeah, I shot him last week. There’s a guy who’s a couple bricks short of a load.”

His next two sentences were, “He’s my uncle, ” and “Oops.”

I didn’t bleed much

I didn’t bleed much, but my conversation in a barber shop is now limited

  • “Mornin.'”
  • “The usual.”
  • “Thanks.”

9 comments to Barber Ed Unger Retired in 1983

  • Steve Slinkard

    Thanks for the picture of Ed. He was my next door neighbor when our family lived on Rodney Vista Blvd. Ed always looked sharp, his car well manitained, and his yard was always well manicured. He smoked cigars as I recall. I thought of him as a nice man. His son was named David and was a few years olded than me. Does anyone know where his son is today?

    Rodney Vista was a great place for a kid to grow-up. Many days of playing baseball at the park, riding bikes, and tons of kids always around to do something new. Alvin Bess, Bob Ward, David Pind, the entire East family, and many more. Good times. Halloween was great. Lots of doors to knock on and generous parents with mounds of candy to give out.

  • Thanks for the comment, Steve.

    It’s funny. No telling how many times I was in Ed’s chair, but I didn’t recognize him in the picture until I saw his name on the license on the wall. I just assumed that it was a random shot in a barber shop.

    As soon as I saw his name, though, all kinds of memories came flooding back.

    You’re right. He WAS always neat as a pin.

    I can’t think of your old neighborhood without Ronnie Dost popping into my head. He and I went through 12 years of school together. When he died shortly after we graduated, his was the first obituary of a contemporary that I had ever written. That was a hard one to bang out.

  • I don’t remember Mr. Unger, I had my haircut at the Campus Barber Shop on Broadway across from the Esquire Theater. My David Unger his son was in my Gym class for at least two years in High School. I remember David him as a pretty big guy and mean dodge ball player. Nice work dude…

  • Jerrette Davis Hobson

    The photo of the little boy and Mr Unger brought back many warm memmories. Both of my boys had their hair cut there many times. After we moved to St Louis we would often wait until we came home for their hair cut.
    The sweetest memory was the day we came back to Cape on business and had droped by Mr Unger,s shop ,which was infront of the Baptist church.My son was about four and had never had another barber.Mr Unger said it would be about thirity min. Since we had an appointment Ed said to just leave Stefan and pick him up in about an hour. Can,t think of many barbers who would do that ,then or now.Keep up the good work,I love it.And my Mom would be very proud of you.

  • Thanks for the compliment. Your mother, Ruby Davis, my old debate coach, was a very special teacher.

    I’ll have some pictures to post of her when I get around to doing stuff on the debate team.

    In my stack of old stuff I still have some of her critiques of my speeches. She definitely didn’t pull any punches.

    She hated my Swampeast Missouri “nasal twang.” And she’d write, “There’s no ‘R’ in ‘wash.'”

    Despite that, she cut this freshman a lot of slack and gave me a lot of opportunities. And, for the record, I can’t say the word “wash” to this day without thinking of her.

  • Preston "Pep" Foster

    Mr. Ed Unger was one of the adult leaders of Boy Scout Troop 10 from the mid 1950’s beyond my graduation from CHS in 1964. His character, as reflected in neatness and precision, displayed the heart of the man. His life was built on the Scout Law and the Scout Oath. Whenever anybody says “Boy Scout” I see the face of Ed Unger.

  • Dad, the chair hasn’t been in our house for over 35 years. I’m only 34 and I remember when the chair came into the house. Best guess: early 1980s.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  • Dave Unger

    Ken

    I just found this article. Thanks for putting it on line. I have other photos of my dad’s shop if you want them. You might also let other know I am still alive and kicking, just not too high, in Cape Girardeau.

    Dave

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>