Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Leonie Crosby, the Barber
Raymond, slightly perplexed, said, "No, why do you ask?" Miss Katherine, giggled a little then said, "Well, let me tell you about a friend of mine who stayed at my Mama's hotel in Yemassee. You know my Mama had the hotel, but she also had some people who boarded there, too. That’s what Leonie did, that was this boy’s name that had the barber shop, Leonie Crosby. And he used that kind of razors." (She is referring to some antique straight edge razors that she had. She used to shave her Daddy and brother using these straight edge razors) "I used to let Leonie pluck and shape my eyebrows. He was good at doing that kind of stuff. One day I was in the little office room at the hotel and Leonie stopped by and had his barber stuff with him and I asked him if he had time to shape my eyebrows. He said he sure did, so, I tilted my head back so he could see what he was doing and he started shaping them. About that time my daddy walked by and saw him standing right there over me and he said 'What are you doing to my daughter?' Leonie said that I wanted my eyebrows shaped. My Daddy said that if I wanted that done, I could do it myself.' You stop that right now and get out of here!' And so...he got his stuff and left. My daddy was upset. I think he thought something else was going on. But, from then on, I would go down to Leonie's barber shop and get in the chair and he would do anything like that I needed for him to do. I think one time he gave me a facial. He was a mess. Leonie, was a good friend to me. He was like a big brother. Leonie made good money as a barber. You know, he even had a shower there in his barber shop. He said that some guys who worked in jobs that you get really dirty, they would come by and shower and sometimes he would shave them, too, before they would go home to their wife and family. Now wasn’t that nice.
Well, like I said, Leonie made good money at the barber shop. One morning he had a lot of money. He had $90 and he put that money in his back pocket. And so, he was dressed and ready for work. But, before he left the hotel to go to work, he had to go to the bathroom. So he went up to the bathroom and took care of nature’s call. As he was getting up from the john, and pulling up his pants, that $90 fell into the toilet and he flushed it. Now, I don’t think he saw the money fall into the john. Anyway, when he got to his barber shop and was going to put the money in the cash box, the money was missing. Well, he thought back and tried to remember what could have happened to that money. You know $90 was a lot of money back then. It’s a lot today, but back then it was really a lot of money. And so, he hurries back to his room and looks around, and he remembered that he put that money in his back pocket when he left his room then he went to the bathroom. So he figured that the money fell out of his pocket and into the toilet. So, he called my Daddy and asked him if he could take the lid off the septic tank so he could look for his money. My Daddy said, yes, he could remove the lid. So, Daddy removed the lid to the septic tank and gave Leonie a rake. Leonie raked and raked and raked. And you know, finally he found that roll of money. It was still rolled up as he had it and it was soaking wet and it was quite messy as well. I guess you could imagine the mess it was in. So, he washed the money in some clean water, and spread it out on a clean board that my Daddy got for him. It took several days for that money to dry out. That money was a mess. And so, after the money had dried out, some of the ink had washed off. Leonie took the money down to the bank and told Mr. Loren Terry what had happened to the money. Mr. Terry was president of the bank and he gave Leonie some clean money for the dirty money. Mr. Terry said that he would have to send the money to Washington to get them to replace the money. And so, that is what he did. From that time on, Leonie never did carry his money in his back pocket. He always put it in his front pockets.
You know, he was engaged to marry one of my girl friends that I grew up with and went to school with. And she lived not very far from me. There was a man boarding with my mother at the hotel, and he had a very beautiful diamond ring, it was more than a carat. It was a gorgeous diamond ring. He needed some extra money. This man, he was working at the sawmill, said that he didn’t need to keep this diamond and he ask Leonie if he would like to buy it. He said, yes I would. I would like to buy that for my girl that I’m engaged to marry. You know he bought that ring. I don’t know what he paid for it, but he paid that man and got the ring and gave it to his girlfriend. And, oh, she was so proud of it. And she would come over, she lived about 10 or 15 miles I guess from Yemassee, every now and then when she could get a chance. She would come over and see me. She would stay with me until he would get off work, then he would come and visit with her, then later on he would take her home. There was a girl teaching on an island near Charleston. And she met and fell in love with Leonie and she decided that she was going to get him. She was not gonna let him marry this girl that he was engaged to. This girl that he was engaged to was Thelma Litchfield. Now, this girl on the island off from Charleston, was a school teacher at a school on the island. There were boats running back and forth from that island to Charleston . The end of the school week she would get on the boat ,and come over, then get on the bus, the greyhound bus, and come to Yemassee. And so, she told my mother she would like to have a room and spend the weekend there. What she wanted was to get her hands on Leonie. And you know she kept working at it until she got him. I'm not sure what she did to get him, but I can imagine. He didn’t marry Thelma, he married her. And you know, I could have kicked him, I could have beat him for doing that. I don’t think he was much in love with her. I think that she just had, well, I don’t know what to get him. And ,she didn’t get that diamond ring. She didn’t know about that diamond. I know she would have told him to get that diamond from Thelma. But, she didn’t know about it and I was glad she didn’t find out. I asked Miss Katherine, did Thelma keep the diamond? Oh, yes ,Thelma had the diamond, but she was so broken-hearted when she found out that he was having dates with this girl. when she come over from Charleston. Every weekend, every Friday she’d come up on that greyhound bus and get that room from my Mama in the hotel. Well, Leonie didn’t have a lot of time. Just only the evening when he closed his shop. I'll tell you and he didn’t stay open very long. And Leonie use to tell me(giggle, giggle) , oh, did I ever tell you about the nudist island, where people came from up north or from any where that they liked to run around in the nude. No, you haven't told me that story. Every body would take off every stitch of their clothes. You've heard of those island haven’t you. Yes, but where where was the island? It was out from Beaufort not far from Paris Island. But any time anybody wanted to go over there for a visit the only way they could visit was to take their clothes off. And so, Very few people did that. Some men once in awhile . The only time they had to put clothes on at all was when they went to eat at a this place there. The women would wear a bra and some panties, and they had to do that when they were serving dinner. They had a place there, on the nudist island, that they served meals. Of course , when you went over there to live a nudist life. You had to pay money, they gave you a place to sleep. And so, Leonie use to tell me about the men that would go over there and spend a couple of weeks at a time, cause they get off work and come on their vacation. Leonie used to tell me about how many men he would get during the week come up from the train from the nudist island. They hadn’t had a shave and needed a hair cut. And he said they were a sight, when they had grown all that beard and their hair had grown so long. The first time he had seen them in his shop, he didn’t realize where they had come from. He soon found out they had been over there on that nudist island. He said he didn’t know what was going to happen when one came in and he had to cut his hair and shave him. And did you know... and how they did it, I’ll never know (tsk, tsk, tsk). Somebody went over there and got pictures of them in the nude and made a little catalogue. And I had one of the catalogues.
No you didn’t.
Yes, I got one . I had it in a little shoe box in the hall up in the hotel and that show box was made out of, I can’t remember the material , and you could buy that from shoe store people and put your shoes in it, that’s the way you would care for your shoes.
(Check later to see what happened to the nudist catalogue)