Palestine native Saundra Vasquez was born and raised in her father Billy Joe Warren’s barbershop.

She recalls her days as a young shoe-shine girl and being able to locate any place in town from the spot where her father snipped hair and swapped stories with the locals.

“My dad came here from Canton in 1949 and bought (Warren’s Barber Shop) in 1976,” Vasquez said. “He gave the shop to me in 1997, having cut hair for 53 years before he passed away.”

Recently celebrating her 25th year as a barber, Vasquez said that barbering has always been a family affair.

“My dad always said that if he couldn’t get good help, he would raise it,” Vasquez said, “and that’s exactly what he did.

“He sent my mother to barber school and all my sisters are barbers,” she added, “and I have a niece that will finish school soon.”

Vasquez and her family has cut four generations of hair in the downtown Palestine barber shop, which includes the (barber) bar, barber chairs and cash register from the original Wren’s Barbershop that opened in 1903.

“I have watched a lot of my customers grow up,” she said. “And now, after having worked here so long, I have been able to see their children and grandchildren grow up to.

“We have gone through a lot together — marriages, divorces, births and death,” Vasquez added. “It is like having another family.”

Vasquez says that the best part of being a barber is that she gets the chance to see the best in people.

“Most of the people that come in here are always in a good mood,” she said. “I get to hear about their trips taken and their special family moments.

“If you don’t truly enjoy it, you won’t stay at it,” Vasquez continued. “It is so much fun.”

When not behind the barber chair, Vasquez enjoys taking weekend trips and vacations with her family and caring for the animals an her small Elkhart farm. She has two children, a 14-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

Warren’s Barber Shop is located at 307 W. Oak St. in downtown Palestine.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com