Herald Staff Writer
A lot has happened in the 100 years since Frank Mekina was born, and a lot has changed.
Within his lifetime, there have World War I and World War II, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, the Empire State Building and Mount Rushmore, FDR and JFK, Truman and Johnson, Nixon and Clinton. There’s been Vietnam and Iraq, the USS Cole and the World Trade Center, Apollo I and the space shuttle Challenger.
On the other hand, there was also the end of Prohibition and the beginning of Women’s Suffrage, “Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” artificial hearts and heart transplants, television in black and white and in color and 3D, music in high-fidelity and stereo and quadraphonic, Neil Armstrong on the moon and Sojourner on Mars.
But one thing began in 1952 and continues still, as Mekina approaches his 100th birthday: his barbers. Frank Mekina got his first haircut from Tony Geniatakis in 1952, and stayed a regular customer until 1980 when Geniatakis’ son, Ken Genis, began his career in his father’s shop, and Genis has been cutting Mekina’s hair ever since.
Genis says Mekina likes his hair cut in high and tight style, short on top and very close on the sides.
“It’s kind of an old-fashioned style,” Genis said, “and they don’t teach that anymore. They still taught it when I was in barber college, but I think we were like the last ones to learn that cut. The new guys don’t do it.”
Genis said Mekina still drives, but his daughter brought him in for what Genis called his cleanup haircut in preparation for his 100th birthday party.