Monday, April 25, 2011

Joseph Albert Rivet: what does a barber do in his spare time?

I grew up believing Joseph Albert Rivet, my godfather,  knew how to fix everything and do anything.  As a young man he learned the craft of a barber and worked in his father's shop on Vliet Street  in Cohoes.   He could figure things out and was a great carpenter.  Before he moved out to California in
1959, he remodeled the living room, the kitchen and my bedroom.  He installed the overhead light switch for my bedroom about 30 inches from the floor so I could easily reach the switch when I was five years old.  In our basement , he had a carpentry shop with table saws and a coal pot belly stove. Instead of using coal, Uncle Al and I fed it wood scraps.  In the damp basement, the fire kept us warm while he worked and I played in a sandbox he built to one side of the shop. Other times, I just stared through the Eisenglass windows of the little door on the stove to watch the flames flickering inside the pot belly stove while his saw hummed away.
 Every other day we bagged and carried the wood shavings to Dominic the butcher three doors down the street.  Dom threw the shavings over his wooden floor in the butcher shop.  Uncle Al taught me to always wet the broom before I swept up the basement floor or we would both suffer the consequences - dirt and dust in the air and in our mouths!

In the 1940s, after WWII and in the 1950s, Uncle Al worked for himself and Miller Electric on Congress Street in Troy. NY.  He installed and fixed refrigerators, boilers, electrical motors.  He also ran his own business repairing almost anything mechanical.

Everything Uncle Al did or made turned out perfectly.....and cutting the hair of kids was just another thing he did right.

and later there's always a few extra touches

and then relaxing after a job well done

1 comment:

  1. I love this post Mary Beth. Thanks for keeping Dad's memories alive!