Frank Salemno turned 90 this weekend.
The Chestnut Hill barber celebrated as you might expect: tending to his regulars at the same Germantown Avenue shop he’s been cutting hair for more than 70 years.
Just another day at the office — except Saturday, his barber shop was decked out in a huge birthday sign and balloons.
Few things became clearer faster after my husband and I moved here than Frank’s being a neighborhood institution.
Several days a week, and definitely on Saturdays, regulars — including my husband — line up at the top of the hill to get their short-and-tights.
They don’t just come for the bargain of a $12 cut. They come for Frank, a sweetheart of a guy and a natural born storyteller.
Among the former Marine’s favorites: buying the shop for $40 in 1940 and cutting generations of hair.
An added bonus: He’s been known to whisper, “Hot Dog!” under his breath when he’s especially proud of a cut. (Priceless.)
And if you happen to live in this Philly neighborhood, he’s got plenty of history to share. Turns out, we’re living in Mrs. Giacomelli’s old house. And the run-down brick/stucco outdoor fireplace we were thinking of tearing down? Mr. Giacomelli, Frank said, built it.
Now we’re thinking we’ll probably repair it. Because just like Frank, it’s important to appreciate what’s been around for a while.
Happy Birthday Frank.
For more on Frank Salemno watch the video below by Chestnut Hill reporter Brian Rudnick.