Ballweerer

The daily shaving, whether electric or wet, is understandable for men today.
In Bulkes it was different. In Bulkes a man "ballweere" himself, that is, shaved. One did not go to the barber shop like today to have his hair cut or perhaps be shaved.
The Ballweerer came to his customer in his home.
With his own "Ballweermesser" (knife), one "ballweerte" himself only in exceptional cases. In the summer, when my father, who was a farmer, worked all week on the Sallasch, he "ballweerte" himself there. Once or twice a week the "Ballweerer" visited his customers. Weekday and day times were permanently arranged. Only the doctor, the pastor, and the teacher "ballweern" themselves daily. For the farmers he already came early around six or first thing later in the evening, when they came home from field work. Once a month on the "Ballweerer" day he also cuts customers' hair.
His work tools were a soap bowl made of porcelain with the lather brush in it, and the different Ballweermesser (knives) for the varying beard strengths of his customers wrapped up in a leather or linen case. In addition he brought the whetstone and leather strap with which he gave the knife the last cut. He brings all this in a wide leather bag with a brass handle and snap fastener to his customers. Occasionally he also has an apprentice with him.
The apprentice then gets the lather while he selects the right knife for the customer's beard growth. Before he begins with the Ballweeren, he sharpens the knife on the whetstone and then on the strap. Like a living village newspaper he tells all the news of the world and the village to his customers. He was the local paper and the world paper at the same time. The soap foam abballweerten (shaved up) with the beard hair in it he places in a flat tin can he also brought with his Ballweermesser (knife). This had a folding lid without a fastener. In the end he wiped the remaining foam off the customer's face with a cloth, rubbed the cheeks with alum stone, and quickly went on his way to the next customer. So he could keep his arranged dates during the warm time of the year he grasped the handgrips of the handlebar with both hands while standing behind the Bizikel (bicycle), placed his right foot on the spike of the extended rear wheel hub, pushed off with his left foot, and swung himself over the rear wheel into the saddle which squashed the feathers under the sudden weight. During the trip the tin can swung in his hand so that the folding lid opened and the foam with the beard hair flew in the street dust or also on the trunk of the next mulberry tree. In the winter when everything was covered in snow and it was cold, he came on foot.
Often I liked to watch the Ballweerer as a child when he grasped the nose of my father and grandfather with the thumb and index finger of his left hand, pulled it up and with the always sharp Ballweermesser (knife) wegballweerte (shaved away) the foam with the beard hairs downwards by the upper lip. Frequently father and son each had his own Ballweerer.
The Ballweerer was paid by the farmers with natural produce like wheat and Kukrutz (corn). He received cash from the customers who he "ballweerte" daily. As a second occupation the Ballweerer was as a rule a musician. His apprentice he trained to be a Ballweerer and naturally a musician as well. During the harvest time he was also active with the farmers as a day laborer. According to the list in the Bulkes homeland book, of a total populaton of 2,860 in the year 1945 there were 17 Ballweerer in Bulkes. There were no barber shops. The women wore "Gretchenfrisur" (chaplet hairstyle). The long hair was braided in two braids and laid counter-clockwise on the head. Few women who already had a modern hairstyle had to ride the train to Neusatz to the ladies' hair salon.
(Heinrich Hoffmann, Translation: Bradley Schwebler)