FARGO — 1958 was a notable year for a number of reasons.
Sputnik 1, the world's first human-made satellite, was launched into Earth orbit. The microchip was invented. And, oh yes, Sam Mann began cutting hair.
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Now, 63 years later, Mann's hair-cutting days have come to an end.
On Thursday, June 3, his final day as a barber, Mann chatted about those early days as he gave a last haircut to a longtime customer at South Plaza Barbers on South University Drive in Fargo, which on Thursday became the last of many barbershops he has worked in.
Mann related how he started out in the Mandan, N.D., area in 1958 and worked as a barber there for three years before moving to Fargo in 1961, where he has been cutting hair ever since.
Pompadours were the big thing in the 1950s, he said, adding that the style was soon eclipsed by shorter cuts.
"A lot of crewcuts, heinies, and then they went long," Mann said of hairstyles, adding that the shag haircuts of the 1970s were probably the most unusual style he has seen over the years.
Greg Brown, who's been going to Mann for haircuts for about 20 years, was settling into the barber chair Thursday when he heard about Mann's retirement.
"I didn't know it was your last day," he said as Mann prepped him for a cut.
"Same here, I didn't know until a few days ago," Mann replied.
"I've been dreading when Sam's going to retire. I don't know who I'm going to go to next," Brown said. "I just like the way he cuts my hair, what's remaining of it, anyway."
"You should maybe grow it out and I'll give you a perm," joked Mann, who's cut the hair of many area notables over the years, including that of the late North Dakota Gov. William Guy and several local mayors.
Now 86, Mann said he expects to enjoy retirement, though he's not sure how golfing will go after he injured an arm in a fall last winter.
Mann said he would encourage others to take up the hair-cutting trade, but acknowledged that the number of barbers today is much smaller than when he started out.
"It's the best profession you can get into. I enjoy every day of it," Mann said.
And what will he miss most about being a barber?
"I'll miss all these loyal customers, that's the main thing," Mann said.