ENID, Okla. — A local salon celebrated 20 years of service with plenty of music, laughs and soul food.

Mary “Miss Pinky” Porter and her son, Johnnie Ray, started PJ’s Family Affair Hair Salon 20 years ago to continue serving the community.

“I’ve been serving this community for a while,” Miss Pinky said. “I just thought by being here, I could serve the people who could not get out.”

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming white house at the corner of 6th and East Wabash — inside is full of music, laughter and fellowship as Johnnie Ray and Larry Peterson cut hair and swap stories.

Johnnie Ray took over the salon when he finished barber and styling school, but Miss Pinky still cuts, too.

Some thing have changed over 20 years of cutting hair, Johnnie Ray said, but some things have stayed the same.

“Kids have changed,” he said. “Hair styles of changed. Kids have gotten more creative and artistic with their styles, but there hasn’t been a major difference. Just recycling styles to different personalities.” 

The time when a client is in the chair is a chance to offer support and mentorship, Johnnie Ray said, and they want to start a mentorship program to make sure today’s youth keep good values in their lives.

“We want to raise these kids up right, to keep those good qualities in the youth,” he said. 

During 20 years of cutting hair, Johnnie Ray said he has seen people grow up.

“We’ve been here so long you can cut a kid from when he is 1 year old and up, and see him evolve into a man and they bring their kid to get their hair cut at 1 year old,” he said. “When I think of something special to me, that sticks out. It’s almost like I’m raising a kid up to that man stage.” 

Johnnie Ray said he is proud of his business’ success.

“I love being here in the community, to have a business thriving in my community,” he said. “It’s something that’s inspired me to stay here and keeps me here.” 

Although she started the salon, Miss Pinky does more than hair — she is active in her church, First Missionary Baptist, has worked at the Booker T. Washington Community center for 13 years, and spent more than 20 years with Enid Public Schools.

“I worked in the cafeteria, and then retired and became a bus monitor,” she said.

The students don’t misbehave when she is on the bus, she said.

“Oh no, not even the high school kids,” she said. “Don’t mess with Miss Pinky.” 

Miss Pinky has plenty of experience with children. She raised her six kids on her own, and has 36 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

“I love children,” she said. “I love what I do.” 

On Saturday, Peterson and the Porter’s family and friends hosted a surprise party to celebrate the salon’s success. 

The music, bounce house and distinct scent of home-cooked barbecue brought a sizable group of people to help celebrate.

Miss Pinky said the community used to have parties like this all the time.

“A lot of times, they forget us over here,” she said. “They don’t know we have things going on over here. We call it ‘The Ville.’” 

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Asher is education reporter for the News & Eagle. She can be reached at sasher@enidnews.com.

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