ORLAND — Kim Norton has kept men in the northeastern Indiana breadth active for the accomplished 50 years.
Norton, who went to academy to be a beautician and spent a year and a bisected apprenticing beneath now-retired Jim Wire, opened his barbershop in city Orland on Oct. 1, 1970.
“It’s not adamantine work. You’re not out in the weather, and you accomplish acceptable money,” said Norton aftermost Friday as he cut Brady Henderson’s hair. “It’s been good. Been a acceptable activity — abundant people.”
Norton gave Henderson his aboriginal haircut. Now a adolescent adult, Henderson accurately allotment and seems adequate in Norton’s chair.
“All my cousins get their beard cut here,” said Henderson.
Around 500 approved barter appear to Norton, some of them from abounding afar away, for a beautician and a haircut. Norton says it’s apparently not the hairstyle that draws them to Orland.
“I got a guy that drives up every time from Fort Wayne,” said Norton. “I anticipate he brand the atmosphere. I anticipate he brand actuality about guys and cutting the breeze.”
They allocution about fishing and sports, not account like one ability expect, said Norton.
The baby barbershop has been acquisition memories for bristles decades. The walls dribble with memorabilia, some of it local, some all-embracing — aggregate from a buck arch to a blush cowboy hat, and aggregate in between.
It started with a application accustomed to Norton 30 years ago by L.D. Thrush from the Civilian Conservation Corps.
“I ashore it up there,” said Norton, pointing to a bank that is now covered in patches.
After the CCC application was hung, addition brought addition patch. And again there were more.
“I don’t aggregate patches,” Norton said with amusement. “The alone affair I aggregate is Orland memorabilia.”
But the barbershop bank collects patches, and so abundant more.
Among the items able to Norton are a large, red Pokagon Pop cooler, authorization plates and wildlife mounts. There is a accolade to adept Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who during his arguable career fabricated macho inmates abrasion pink; a brace of blush shorts blind on the bank bears Arpaio’s signature.
An boilerplate crew
As Norton accomplished with a quick trim of Henderson’s eyebrows, Richard “Smitty” Smith absolved in the barbershop door.
“Flat top?” Norton asked.
Smith nodded in the acknowledging as he sat bottomward in the armchair and Norton draped him with a cape.
“I started advancing actuality about 40 years ago,” said Smith. In those days, his beard was long, feathered on the abandon and beggared in the middle.
“He told me, ‘If you appetite a acceptable haircut, you ability go about else,’” Smith recalls. Nevertheless, Smith let Norton appearance his 1980s coiffure. Smith said he admired the results.
Norton doesn’t do adorned work, abandoning one time active an ad in The Herald Republican that said: “Just an boilerplate haircut. If you appetite a acceptable haircut, you ability go about else.”
If you are afraid about accepting your beard done afterwards the adventitious of interruption, Norton may additionally not be your man.
Saving the day
Beside Norton’s beautician armchair hangs his cogitating chicken firefighter’s anorak and hat. His radio is consistently on and he is consistently accessible to go to a blast scene, medical emergency or fire.
The alarm occasionally comes mid-customer.
“Sometimes the guy who is abutting in band finishes them up,” said Norton. Sometimes the chump aloof waits in the chair, or allotment afterwards Norton finishes his run.
“I’m usually alone gone a bisected hour, 40 minutes,” he said.
Norton is the arch of Orland Blaze Administration through the end of the year. He has responded to about 9,000 calls as a advance firefighter and emergency medical technician. He was active in authoritative the Orland administration one of the aboriginal avant-garde activity abutment blaze accomplishment units in northeastern Indiana and helped authorize the Steuben County Emergency Medical Service Reserve.
Norton accustomed the Martin A. Werner Firefighter of the Year Award from the American Legion Administration of Indiana in 1997, the Parkview Hospital Samaritan of the Year in 2004 and the State of Indiana EMS Commission Advanced/Basic EMT of the Year in 2007.
He acclaimed 50 years with the administration in June and 50 years of alliance to his Prairie Heights sweetheart, Mary, on Aug. 2.
“It feels like it’s been two lifetimes ago,” said Norton, who abutting the administration at 20 years old.
Kim and Mary accept two daughters, Heather Davies, a assistant at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, and Brooke Norton, a paramedic at Parkview LaGrange Hospital, and four grandchildren.
Kim is cerebration about demography it a little easier, aggravating some woodworking and visiting his grandchildren in St. Louis added often. But he will abide one of two bodies consistently on alarm in Orland.
He ability alike advertise the barbershop — to the appropriate person. But until then, he’s activity to accumulate alms an boilerplate crew and an amazing acquaintance at Kim’s Beautician Shop in the little boondocks of Orland.
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