My Grandfather Will Pay You

If only this line worked now. Unfortunately it doesn’t but it once did. I mainly used it at the Hotel Eutaw Barbershop owned by Mr. Harry Metts. Grandfather owned the Hotel Eutaw and after Mr. Metts cut my hair, I would tell him what my mother had told me to say, “my grandfather will pay you,” and no doubt Grandfather did. Besides, it was only forty-five cents. Not a fortune. I was still a kid and Mr. Metts, who had a two chair barbershop had to put a board across the arms of the barber chair so that my head would stick above the back of the chair.

He turned his razor on and gave me a close crop except for the front which he left a bit longer. That got special treatment with “butch wax” which made my hair stand up in front by about an inch. The height of fashion in that era. I remember hearing something in the barbershop which shocked me. Several men said they did not vote the straight Democratic ticket but voted for the best man. Even at age eight I knew there was something wrong with that statement. Southerners voted Democratic and Democratic only. How could a person think of splitting their ticket?

Mr. Metts also subscribed to a racy publication the Police Gazette. I used to see it in his Hotel Eutaw Barbershop although I never picked it up. That would be bad I just knew. In later years I have flipped through the Police Gazette. It is a publication mainly devoted to stories of attractive young women who have been kidnapped for nefarious purposes. So you can see why a barbershop would have one. It was the only type of porno available. Since I was still a young lad, I hadn’t hit puberty and didn’t think much about girls, not that I thought much about them after I hit puberty but that is another story.

Hotel Eutaw in Orangeburg, SC. This photo was taken by the SC Historical Register in 1986 when the building was declared of historical significance. Harry Mett’s Hotel Eutaw barbershop was the last shop on the left of the photograph. My cousin, Nonie, later opened her travel agency, Travel Incorporated, in the storefront which has the tacky sign saying “Loans.” If you are familiar with Orangeburg, SC, this photo shows the main facade of the Eutaw which faced Russell Street, the main street in Orangeburg.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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