By Jessica Salmond, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, met Bonnie and Clyde when he was 5 and caught a fly ball hit by Babe Ruth.
Any of Jack Cisco’s customers who have sat in his barber chair probably are familiar with his stories, from farming in Arkansas to living in Enid.
“He’s a colorful character to me,” said Graham McIntyre, one of Cisco’s longest customers.
At 86, Cisco is one of the oldest barbers in Garfield County. He began working for Beetch’s Town and Country Barber and Beauty Shop in 1954, and then bought the store and the equipment in 1957.
He’s been at the same location, 1010 Hite, ever since.
“I have no desire to quit,” Cisco said. “I feel happy here.”
After he took over the old shop, he was voted president of Garfield County Barber’s Association.
He did not want to the position at first, he said, but after he accepted the role, Cisco visited all the barbershops in the county and got them to enter a gentleman’s agreement to stay closed on Mondays. Slowly, counties in Oklahoma and other states began to follow Garfield County’s lead, Cisco said. Starting the tradition of barbershops being closed on Mondays is something Cisco said he is proud of.
“I call it my holiday,” Cisco said.
The barbershop is the only original store in the Van Buren Square shopping center. When he first started, he got a lot of business from Vance Air Force Base, he said.
Cisco always wanted to own a barbershop growing up. He said he remembered his first-grade teacher tried to tell him not to be a barber and to be a teacher instead. But, he went to barber school anyway.
“I have no idea, I just did,” he said. “At least I got to do something I like.”
Most of his customers get haircuts, but Cisco shampoos occasionally. He stopped offering shaves in 1976, as most other barbers did, because of the AIDS epidemic.
McIntyre, who has gone to the shop for almost 60 years, said Cisco knows exactly what haircut he wants. He has kept going back because Cisco always does a good job, and he likes to hear the barber’s stories about farming in Arkansas. McIntyre said he’s never seen Cisco in a negative mood unless someone’s talking politics.
“We give each other heck about things,” McIntyre said.
Cisco was raised in Cisco, Ark. He was the last Cisco to leave the town, he said. He began barbering in Arkansas, but the hair would enter his skin and cause an infection. His doctor told him he needed a drier climate, and his wife wanted to move to Enid because she grew up in Homestead, Cisco said.