Part 6: My Friend The Hairdresser

Apart from a few septic tanks and cesspools, the sanitary and hygienic conditions in the village were catastrophic. There was no sewerage system, and no sewage treatment plants. Most of the village’s sewage ran down the streets and gutters into the creek.

There we children built dams, dammed up the water and bathed in it. When the shepherd passed through the village in the evening coming from the pasture with his sheep, hundreds of sheep together with their herding dogs rushed into the brook and greedily drank the water. But the animals did not only drink. From this point of view, we should have been sick all the time.

On the first floor of this house, where on a June night my sister saw the so-called light of day, a master hairdresser owned a very well-equipped men’s and women’s salon. At his side, a journeyman, and an apprentice. The master was a tall, slender man with chestnut hair and fiery dark eyes. He played the guitar and sang like Caruso. Although he had a leg torn off by a shell in the First World War in Flanders or before Verdun for emperor and Fatherland, he was full of the courage to live. What exactly had happened, he never talked about. He never lost his sense of humor. Despite his wooden leg, he was extremely popular with women, much to the annoyance of his wife. The master loved children more than anything but had none of his own.

When there were no customers to serve in the morning, he occupied himself with me and my playmate, who also lived in the house. He taught us the clock and taught us songs, of course with a bunch of jokes. I still remember a verse to a tune that I was supposed to sing to my father under the Christmas tree because he kept smoking a little stubby pipe. The little song went like this:

On Christmas Eve,

on Christmas Eve,

my fatherโ€™s pipe is the hit.

When he has no tobacco,

when he has no tobacco,

he’s smoking horseshit.

Of course, my parents knew exactly the source of the mischief after I sang the verse.

When my playmate and I would get into fights with other kids and fight in the square in front of the house, the expert would lean against the store door, leaning on his wooden leg, watching for fairness, and cheering us on with loud shouts. He was like a big boy, and we liked him very much. ๐“ฃ๐“ธ ๐“‘๐“ฎ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“พ๐“ฎ๐“ญ

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