The Schlafly siblings, from left: Geoff, Kimball, Joe, Sally, Peter and Ted.
I couldn’t resist when Joe Schlafly, in red shirt above, contacted me to see if I had any interest in reading an article about growing up on Pershing Place. What arrived in my inbox was a charming remembrance that I’m eager to share with you.
For those new to the neighborhood, long-time CWEnders Joe and his wife Annie are well known for all the wonderful things they have done and continue to do for the City of St. Louis. Joe, who recently retired from Stifel, serves on the Board of Arch Grants, and Annie is the founder of the St. Louis International Mentoring Program, as well as a huge supporter of St. Louis Public Library. Read on:
Making Ends Meet
by Joe Schlafly
With 5 sons and a daughter, my father had his hands full on many fronts. While my mother nimbly covered most of the care and comforting duties, when it came to haircuts for the 5 boys, my father accepted the challenge.
Haircuts are not cheap. Even in the 60’s, maintaining short hair for 5 sons was an expensive proposition. Ever the executive, my father hatched an ingenious plan to reduce, if not eliminate, this looming liability.
Our family lived on Pershing Place between Euclid and Kingshighway in the Central West End of the City of St. Louis. Our garage backed up to an alley which ran east to west on the south side of the street and merged into the Straub’s parking lot. Straub’s is located on Maryland Plaza directly across from the Chase-Park Plaza hotel.
In post WWII America, short hair and crewcuts for boys was the fashion and barbershops flourished. On the ground floor of the Chase-Park Plaza, at the heart of a bustling residential and shopping neighborhood, augmented by hotel guests and visitors, a barbershop consisting of more than 10 barbers and other professionals delivered countless haircuts and manicures every day. One of those barbers, Tink, cut my father’s hair and in the course of their discussions, it became apparent that Tink had a parking problem.
Given the residential nature of the neighborhood and the wide variety of commercial activities, parking was at a premium. 8 hours a day at the Chase lot was prohibitively expensive and so Tink faced a real dilemma. Smoothly seizing the moment, my father had just the answer.
Tink could park every day in our garage on Pershing and walk the short distance to the Chase and his barbershop. In return, Tink would provide haircut services to all 5 Schlafly boys as needed and for as long as he parked in our garage. This combination parking/tonsorial Agreement met the needs of everyone.
In the early days of the Agreement, I remember entering the barbershop for a haircut and looking around for Tink. Every time he saw me, and I assume it was the same for my brothers, Tink’s face would darken with disappointment at the thought of cutting my hair for which there would be no cash exchange nor tip. Nonetheless, he would hurriedly cut my hair and send me on my way.
Much later, I asked my father who got the better part of the Agreement with Tink. He smiled knowingly, and I could hear him thinking that he had given up a vacant parking spot in our garage for the cost of more than 50 haircuts per year. I realized then that this was a great example of how a large family can make ends meet.