After passing several barber shops in Germantown we decided to pop in one and check it out. Often salons and barber shops are filled with locals and repeat clients. We hoped the people inside would give us information more important than facts and figures, but real incite from the heart of the community. We were right.
David Ross owns his own barber shop on Wyneva Street in Germantown. He spends a good deal of time giving haircuts and chatting with customers. He’s felt the recent economic hardships in the country when it comes to the volume of business that comes through his door. “I’m seeing more do-it-yourself haircuts,” he says. But haircuts being what they are, a necessity in life, he does see a lot of his customers return. “They come in for fix-ups.”
Ross has an easygoing personality and talks freely about his extensive Germantown knowledge. Turns out this barber shop owner is quite a history buff. He used to work for the Happy Hallow Recreation Center. Although no longer on staff at the center, he still occasionally helps out there. Through his connections to the center, Ross became aware of the neighborhood’s historic treasures. He sees potential value in having so much history in the area, but he also sees that potential underutilized. “The historical value of Germantown should be more exploited,” he says.
As he continues to discuss the positives and negatives of the area, Ross soon mentions the issue of race. In his opinion, Germantown has some segregation problems. “There needs to be more interaction between races. It’s important for the kids,” he says.
He goes on to explain: “They see other races, girls like you, on TV, maybe on Nickelodeon. But in real life there’s very little interaction.”
This gets us thinking. What is it like to be a kid growing up in Germantown? We look into the neighborhood and see diversity. But what does it look like from the inside, to those who actually live there?
The trick with telling the stories in Germantown, we realize, is seeing these stories through the eyes of the residents who live out those stories every day.
Meggan Kole and Lena Kravets, Germantown 12