After 64 years of perfecting the art of hairstyling, local barber Buddy Hastings has recently put his hair clippers away for good. But before permanently closing the door to Hasting Barber Shop in Ider, Alabama, one last customer occupied Hastings’ barber chair.
Oric Wynn’s first haircut was Hastings’ last one to do.
Hastings’ first snip of Oric Wynn’s baby-fine hair marked the fifth generation of Wynn family haircuts to be done by Buddy Hastings.
Oric’s great-great-granddad, the late Thomas Wynn, started the tradition long ago when Hastings first started his barber career. His son, Wayne, followed in his father’s footsteps when he brought his son, Thomas, to Hasting Barber Shop. Thomas continued the tradition with his son, Corey, and Corey’s son, Oric, was the fifth generation to uphold the family tradition.
Hastings said his career began in Chattanooga and ended more than six decades later in a small, self-built barber shop just past Ider High School on Alabama Highway 117.
“I’ve been cutting hair for 64 years,” Hastings said. “I went to Nashville to barber school, I lived in Chattanooga and I cut hair up there. Then I moved to Alabama and I cut hair in Ider, Alabama for 50 years.”
Hastings said he knew from the time he was a young boy that he wanted to be a barber when he grew up.
“That’s what I wanted to do when I was a kid growing up,” he said. “I think I was 19 years old when I went to Nashville to barber school. I had an uncle, on my mother’s side, on Brindlee Mountain who was a barber. I used to go and stay with him a week at a time and I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up.’ And that’s what I did; I went and made a barber.”
Hasting said although he is retired and the barber shop doors are closed, he is still willing to cut hair in extenuating circumstances.
“I do cut sick people’s hair,” he said. “I’ll go to their home and cut their hair if they are sick, and I go to funeral homes and cut hair. If one of my customers dies, and [the family] calls me, I’ll go cut their hair.”
Hastings said he misses being in the shop but that he is looking forward to enjoying his retirement.
“I just plan on sitting in the house,” he said. “I get a lot of calls from people but I’ve quit [cutting hair.] But If I get a call from someone who’s sick, I’ll go cut their hair. I just don’t run the shop. I miss it like crazy, but I’ll be 84 my birthday, and I’m old enough to get out from working.”
Hastings said he set out to be a barber like he said he would when he was a young boy, and now when he looks back on his journey, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I really enjoy life and I enjoy people calling and coming to see me,” he said. “I had a lot of friends in that line of work. It’s a wonderful life; I’ve had a wonderful life. If I could go back and change my life, I can’t think of nothing I’d do different.”