In 1955, Del Corona became a licensed Barber. In 1964 he became the owner of an iconic Barber Shop that, even today, still bears his name. Located in Ventura California’s west side, an area colloquially known as “the Avenue”, Del, now 82, continues to provide excellent haircuts to many local residents as well as others who drive hours for a half- hour of his time. I grew up here, I grew up with Del.
In 1973, my Mother dragged me kicking and screaming into Del’s Barber shop. I didn’t want my hair cut and not by Del, especially. We had just moved here and I wanted my hair cut by the other guy in the other city who I was used too. But here I was. Del was soft spoken but firm, I wasn’t leaving there without a haircut and that was that. I grew to admire Del. He never pulled a punch regarding advice or an opinion and you had to respect his impeccably groomed hair.
Del cut my hair from 1973 to 1991. That’s 18 years. During that time, one time, I got impatient and let another Barber cut it. It was bad. I was then forced to schlep my way back into Del’s where I then confessed to him my horrible sin. Del looked at me, I imagine annoyed and disappointed, but still graciously fixed the mess on my head and sent me on my way. When my son was about 8 months old, it was Del who gave him his first haircut. With the exception of a stint in Army basic training, no one touched my “Do” until I moved to another state in 1991.
I’ve missed Del and have never built a relationship with another Barber that lasted longer than 3-4 years as they seem to be quite a transient lot.
I stopped by Del’s on a recent trip to Ventura and found that he was still there, in the same place cutting hair at 82. He looked great, still taller than me, his black hair now gray but still perfectly groomed. Del stared at me for a moment and then called me by name and asked about my Mother. It had been 26 years since I had last walked through his door. Del graced me with a photo and we parted ways as he had customers lining up. I was jealous, I wondered if they knew how lucky they were…