Saturday, November 08, 2008

MISC: My Man Merv

Catching up with some of my regularly-read blogs, I happened onto this one by Earl Pomerantz on the subject of haircuts. Regardless of your interest in the particular subject matter, it's worth reading. In fact, almost all of Pomerantz's stuff is worth reading. Like Ken Levine, Pomerantz is an old comedy writing pro (including an episode of the Cosby Show and more than a few anecdotes about why it wasn't more). He's also a transplanted Canuck from down the road in Toronto. But I digress.

In Earl's recollection of barber shops, his barber's name was Tony. Always Tony. No matter which of the barbers in the eight-seat shop he ended up getting cleaned up by, the barber's name was Tony. Most likely, from the dialog, Italian Tony. And I'm sure he's telling us straight, at least as far as a comedy writer can write a straight line.

Me? My man was Merv.

Merv's Barber Shop sat at the corner of Airport and Derry Roads in Malton. I lived there for a minute or two, before moving up the road and over a bit to Bramalea. Where I've spent the last four decades plus. But even after moving to Bramalea, my dad would still take Wayne, Rick and me back to Malton for our semi-regular haircuts.

Two things to know about Merv. He looked like Wayne Newton of the later years, especially the hair. And he was also a real estate agent. You can fill in the rest.

About thirty years ago, just about the time I was getting old enough NOT to be taken somewhere for a haircut by my parents, there was a big fire in Malton. The corner of Airport and Derry Roads was razed to the ground, a gigantic cinder. And that was the end of My Man Merv ... as a barber. He became Merv the Millionaire Real Estate tycoon full-time. I've never had a regular barber since. And certainly not a hair stylist ... as both my friend Patrick and his boy A.J. proudly boast of having.

But the end of Merv's Barber Shop did NOT stop my regular pilgrimages to the site!

From out of the fire that consumed Merv's Barber Shop, rose in it's place, an automobile repair shop. My Dad, so used to going to the corner for years and years, starting taking his cars in for repair there when he needed something beyond his own not-inconsiderable mechanical skills. Victor's Auto Repair became the family car repair place.

For whatever reason, the corner of Airport and Derry Roads has had a magnetic pull on the Mugfords. It's always been a place where dependable, affordable services could be found.

But it all started with My Man Merv.

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