Jack the Barber

By 1981 Jack Luiselli, known to all in the Charlestown neighborhood as “Jack the Barber”, had become an integral part of the community.  Though a barber by trade, Jack would spend many years coaching the Charlestown Town Team, a football squad consisting mainly of local athletes.

Over the years Jack’s endearing personality began to emerge. Along with his barbering and coaching, he had earned a position of high esteem in the neighborhood.  Jack’s home may not have been in Charlestown, but there is no doubt that it was where his heart resided.

Before he retired I had accumulated some forty years of haircuts at the three different shops on Bunker Hill Street from which he plied his trade, but more importantly, I had made a friend.

A trip to his shop was not just for a haircut, for along with the trim came conversation that covered many different topics, but Jack’s expertise did not stop there, not by a long shot.  His unique understanding of people was unparalleled.  Saturday afternoon at his shop was a gathering time for many of his former player and old friends, most of whom would take their own sons to Jack for their first haircut.

In May of 1981 the following piece appeared in the Charlestown Patriot.

The Barber

Charlie McGonagle

He was twenty one – and full of fun – when first he used the clippers,

While working for – his father-in-law – a master of the snippers.

Then, with Jerry gone – his shop was born – and Jack became “The Barber”

Cutting hair – on a swivel chair – in a town near Boston Harbor.

For several years – he used the shears – and thought of other things,

Like uniforms – and touchdown bombs – and dreams that football brings.

Within his shop – he had a crop – of kids he knew were tough.

With a careful scheme, he built a dream – bought helmets on the cuff.

With little more – than kids in store – he brought the Town Team back

To meet the test – to beat the best – with a powerful attack.

He hired bands – he filled the stands – he did the people proud.

With winning ball – most every fall – he satisfied the crowd.

Then the noise- from all his boys – began to settle down.

They’d grown to men – they married, then – some moved from CharLESStown.

Now some were gray – but on Saturday – a visit they’d extend

To hoist a beer – to bend an ear – for an hour with their friend.

And a funny thing – many bring – a son to sit with Jack.

And then they’d say – as they did yesterday – “Take some off the back.”

And the little boy – is filled with joy – as The Barber spins his tales

Of daddy’s feats – in football cleats – the stories never fail.

Then the curtain drops – in the Barber’s shop – and the father goes away,

With his happy son – the visit’s done – he hears his young boy say,

“I’m just a lad – but someday, dad – when I’m as old as you,

I’ll know a guy – my son and I – can visit like we do.”

Jack “The Barber” Luiselli, sadly, passed away a few years ago, but he will forever live in the hearts of those who had the good fortune to have known him.

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