104. Around the Corner: Crown Beauty Parlor

This is the Crown Beauty Parlor & Barber Shop at 417 West Maple. Doris and George Miller were a husband and wife barber/beautician team. Doris did Bess’s hair and George cut Harry’s. And like a lot of barbers and beauticians, the Millers got to know all their clients pretty well, including their presidential ones. Folks coming in here would have known each other. Doris did the hair of Bess’s sisters-in-law, too. Margaret Truman would come in sometimes if she happened to be in town visiting her parents. Doris described it as, “Oh, this little shop, you know, is very homey and everybody was passing around their favorite recipes and discussions of that sort, you know.” She said Mrs. Truman always had a book to read and “she always inquired about our family and of course our children.” There’s a good story about Harry Truman and one of the Miller’s daughters. The girl, JoAnn, was going to Palmer Jr. High, right across the street there, and JoAnn came home one afternoon from school – this would probably have been in 1961 – and tells her mother that she can get extra credit for finding out about a constitutional amendment that was going to be passed. And she wants to call up the former president because she figures that if anybody around here knew about something like that, it’d probably be him. Doris had the Trumans’ phone number, because hairdressers sometimes need to call their clients in case something comes up concerning an appointments or something. But, still, she was a little hestiant just to call up the president at home. JoAnn says, though, that there’s no way to find out. Remember, there’s no internet, and for current events, you’ve got the paper and the radio, and maybe TV, but there’s a lot of information that simply isn’t available like it would be now. So Doris let JoAnn call the Trumans and Bess answered the phone. Bess tells Harry that it’s JoAnn and she wanted to know about an amendment. And he said, “Tell JoAnn to call me in the morning at the library. I’ll call Sam Rayburn [the Speaker of the House] and I’ll find out.” So she did. And she was the only one that got the extra credit. Doris said, “He would have done that for any child that was interested, you know. This was his way.” When Harry Truman was as a child, he went to Sunday School at the Presbyterian Church just across the way. Walk on over to the church and take a look.