Piedmont customers hope their long time barber recovers quickly - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Piedmont customers hope their long time barber recovers quickly after attack

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People in Piedmont hope a crowbar attack won't force a beloved 87-year-old barber into retirement.  Curtis Pope got out of the hospital Monday, and customers hope he can get back to work soon.

Piedmont Police arrested 24-year-old Heather Baldwin for assault.  Chief Steven Tidwell said she attacked Pope in his barber shop Friday afternoon.

"We saw the ambulance and the police cars and we were concerned," said John Strickland.  He owns Strickland's Hardware, three doors down from Curtis Pope's City Barber Shop.

"We thought it was health issues--he has had health issues, and especially for a man his age-- but it turned out to be worse," Strickland said.

Friends said Pope loaned Baldwin money in the past, but would not do so any more.

"He's a person that tries to help people.  That's what happened when he was attacked.  He was trying to help somebody," Rhonda Ledbetter said.

"He cuts my nephew's hair, he's cut several generations of kids hair. and my dad as well.  and when my dad was very sick in the nursing home, he came over and cut my dad's hair.  Would not accept any pay for it," she said said.

Ledbetter said Pope is more than just a barber, but also a friend to everyone in Piedmont.

"He doesn't just do good deeds, it comes from the heart," she said.

Strickland said he got his hair cut just four days before the attack, as he has for decades.  Pope first cut Strickland's hair around 1976.  The barber sometimes keeps his shop open late to provide a haircut if the hardware store closed late and its owner needed a haircut. 

The barber shop opened in 1958, 10 years after Pope first started cutting hair.  Strickland said Pope is a main street mainstay.

"Every old town seems to have people who've been there forever, and that's Curtis.  Besides giving you a good hair cut, a lot of times he gives you a ballpoint pen that says Happy Birthday on it," he said.

Rarely is it someone's actual birthday.

Pope has always been popular and catered to customers like James Sanford, who said Pope first cut his hair when he was knee-high.

"I can remember the time when we had flat tops and he'd get down and he'd get eye level with it and look at it and make sure it was just right and trim it and make sure it was good and flat," Sanford said.

However, there is a city-wide joke says he won't customize too much.

"Everyone in town says you get the Curtis Pope hairdo when you go in.  You can tell him how you want it cut when you go in, but he has a certain style and everyone knows that's the Curtis Pope haircut," Rhonda Ledbetter said.

Police said their investigation is ongoing.

The swirling barber pole keeps on going, and everyone hopes Curtis Pope does too.

"We don't want to see him retire.  He wouldn't retire.  He wouldn't know what to do," Sanford said.

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