Maysville barber cuts hair and shares stories for about 55 years

John “Dugan” Adkins, 78, has been cutting hair in Maysville for over 50 years.
by Bryan Painter Published: August 5, 2012

“We didn't eat a plate lunch, that'd cost you 70 to 80 cents,” he said.

Today, some broomcorn hangs in one corner of his barbershop.

“It taught me what making a living meant,” he said.

After getting out of the U.S. Air Force, where his service included the Korean War, Adkins returned for a few months to the broomcorn field. But while working with supplies in the war he'd injured his right arm and couldn't do a lot of strenuous work with it. A friend talked him into going to barber school.

Along the same wall, but in the opposite corner of the broomcorn, is an old photo taken in the barbershop that has served as Adkins second home for about 55 years.

“Using a magnifying glass we looked at the calendar on the wall in the photo,” Adkins said. “It said ‘1904.'

“And the building is older than that.”

When he started, Adkins was the youngest of four barbers and “I was very green.”

“It didn't take me long to realize those older barbers were sending all the hard shaves my way,” he said.

Back then, he'd get about 75 cents for a cut and shave. That suited him just fine so he stayed through the rest of the '50s and right along into the 21st century.

The senses run rampant at the Trend Barber Shop still today.

There's an aroma of shaving cream, the light rattle of an old window cooling unit, the taste of chocolate chip cookies baked by a customer's wife, the sight of tufts of gray hair on the tile floor and the feel of a firm handshake.

The desire to continue

Adkins and wife, Martha, have three children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

He likes to laugh anyway, but really gets to chuckling when he hears the word “retire.”

“I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't come up here and work a little bit,” he said.

About that time, a car pulls to the curb out front.

The man opens the outer red screen door and then the wood white door and heads for the third chair from the window.


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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