Dubose keeps memories alive through old photograph

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 11, 2013

Bertrum Dubose, left, and Joe Stinson shake hands following Stinson’s presentation of an old newspaper photograph to Dubose.

A picture is worth a thousand words for most people but, for Bertrum Dubose, a picture is worth a thousand memories.

Dubose and his wife, Maxine, have lived in Brundidge for nearly 55 years. For almost every one of those years, he was a “regular” at Stinson’s Barbershop on South Main Street. But there was nothing unusual about that. Most Brundidge men and boys were “regulars” at Stinson’s Barbershop.

As a young man, Earl Stinson walked across the street from the shop where he was barbering in downtown Brundidge and opened his own shop. The year was 1947.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Stinson owned and operated Stinson’s barbershop until his death in 2009. He had cut the hair of almost every man in and around Brundidge and Stinson liked to say that he had shined the heads of all the rest.

Dubose laughingly said that if the barber across the street had not had shaky hands, he might have taken a chair over there.

“I didn’t want to get my ear cut off so I went across the street to Stinson’s Barbershop and never went anywhere else,” Dubose said. “I thought the world of Earl. He was one of the best men I have ever known. He never got in too big a hurry. He always took the time to talk and listen. He was my barber and a good friend.”

Dubose was back in “his chair” Thursday afternoon but with a twinge of sadness that his longtime friend and barber was no longer there.

“I’ve sat in this chair hundreds of times,” he said and added laughing that somebody wore out the footrest. “It might have been me.”

Dubose had been invited to the barbershop for a special reason. Earl Stinson’s children, Joe, Jimmie Jackson and Ann Webb, wanted to pay back a kindness that Dubose


had shown to them.

The siblings are carrying on the barbering tradition their dad started in the long, narrow building in downtown Brundidge in 1947. They made much needed renovations to the building but, in doing so, wanted to preserve the memories of Stinson’s Barbershop. To visually hold on to the memories, they showcased the tools of their dad’s trade and framed old photographs and newspaper clippings.

“One day, Bert came in the shop with something to show me,” Joe Stinson said. “Bert had a 2002 Messenger newspaper that had a picture of him sitting in ‘his’ chair and Daddy was cutting his hair. I didn’t have that picture and told Bert that I’d love to have it. He thought about it for a while and decided that he wanted to keep it.”

Dubose did want to keep the photograph that held a thousand memories of the times he spent at Stinson’s Barbershop with his barber and the friends who shared the “news” with him as they waited for their turn in the chair.

And, by the way the old newspaper photograph had come to him, Dubose thought it must have been meant for him to have it.

“Wallace Mobley gave the newspaper picture to me,” Dubose said. “He was unwrapping some cups that had been wrapped in newspaper to keep them from breaking. When he unwrapped one cup, he saw mine and Earl’s picture in the paper and thought I would want it.”

Dubose did want the newspaper photograph but he also wanted to show it to his friend’s son “up at the barbershop.”

“Joe wanted to hang the picture in the barbershop. He said so and I could tell that he did,” Dubose said. “But I told him that I thought I wanted to keep it.”

The newspaper photograph was “pretty wrinkled up” but the Duboses smoothed it out and weighted it down.

In a few days’ time, most of the wrinkles were barely visible.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought that I should give the picture to Joe to put in the barbershop for everybody to see,” Dubose said.

“Earl was Joe’s daddy and it was right that he should have it.”

Stinson and his sisters were appreciative of Dubose’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

They framed the photograph and hung it in a prominent place in the shop. But, in time, knowing how much the photograph meant to Dubose, they wanted him to have it back. On Thursday, they invited him to come sit in his chair for the special presentation.

Dubose said the old newspaper photograph does mean a lot to him and he thanked “Joe and the girls” for it.

But, it was being there again, sharing memories of the days when Stinson’s Barbershop was the hub of the downtown community that meant just as much to him.

“There were times when you could hardly get in the barbershop door,” Dubose said.

“Then, when you got in, you had to sit and wait but nobody minded. We sat around and talked about the rain or no rain and things like that.

“Those were good times.”

In the good ol’ days, Stinson’s Barbershop would be open until long after dark, especially on Saturday nights when men were getting spruced up for Sunday church.

A lot of men would come to the barbershop after they got out of the “picture show,” and Earl Stinson didn’t mind staying open. He got to hear, first hand, all about the show that was playing down the street and made the price of a haircut at the same time.

“Those were the good ol’ days,” Joe Stinson said.

The good ol’ days are gone but Stinson and his sisters are keeping the memory of those days alive with photographs, newspaper clippings, mementoes and, most of all, stories that are shared among friends while waiting to get a cut at a steady clip.