LYNN — In Sam’s Barber Shop, the jokes and insults fly freely and hair, cut with more and more frequency from aged heads, drifts to the floor.
Paul Boghosian cuts hair and holds court in his shop from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and on Sunday, Sept 1, the 79-year-old marks 60 years spent snipping and combing.
“I really enjoy it. I’ve done it for so long. Physically, I can’t cut kids’ hair anymore. But old guys will sit all day and talk,” said Boghosian.
Sam’s has two well-used barber chairs but Boghosian only needs one: Fellow barber Paul Cardile cut hair for 25 years in Sam’s but no longer works in the shop. Occasionally he drops in to cut Boghosian’s hair.
More frequent visitors to Sam’s include Ray Brown, a Maine native who moved to Lynn in 1937 and who said Boghosian’s father, Sam, cut his hair in 1942. He stops into Sam’s on a regular basis to get a trim and partake of banter that veers between the unabashed and profane.
Sports is Boghosian’s favorite topic and Sam’s mixed and matched wall decor includes a Fenway Park poster and a boar’s head mounted on the wall that a customer gave Paul Boghosian 45 years ago.
“His wife didn’t want it anymore,” Boghosian said.
Ten dollars buys you a haircut in Sam’s and Boghosian cuts about eight heads a day – sometimes more, sometimes a few less. A 1958 English High School graduate, he considered himself a dim prospect for college and opted instead for barber school in Boston.
When a spot opened up behind a chair, the son started cutting hair next to his father.
Lynn native Nick Sherwood has been coming to Sam’s since 1985, more for the good-natured ribbing than the grooming.
“The haircuts are lousy. I come for the arguments,” he said. But he also admits Sam’s is a family affair, adding: “He knew my uncle and my mother.”
Getting a haircut is almost an afterthought for Sam’s regular Ed Turmenne who stops in the shop every two or three weeks.
“Sometimes I just go by and talk,” he said.
Retirement might just be a word finding its way into Boghosian’s vocabulary. He’s going to give the scissors another year and see once his 80th birthday rolls around next July if he wants to still make the drive down from his Georgetown home and cut hair.