Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by Gabrielle Martin
It all started, as stories around these parts so often do, from a Pinboard post: on August 18, Isabella Gratta announced that her grandfather Tony "the Barber" Marchione, a 50-year staple at Hingham's Station 29 Barber Shop, would be retiring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
She wrote, "This is not the way he wanted to end his career, and more importantly, this is not how he wanted to say goodbye to his customers, who have become life-long friends. I know that many of you in this group know him, or know people who do, so I am reaching out seeking help with a little project to thank him for all he has done over these 50 years."
Isabella thought it would be a nice to compile messages from her grandfather's customers over the years; she asked for "stories, memories, well-wishes, and anything else you can think of." The post has over 300 likes and upwards of 70 comments relaying fond messages for Tony the Barber.
Now that he's heard from you, it's time that you hear from him: here's Tony the Barber, in his own words, reflecting on his time at Station 29. We wanted to recognize Mr. Marchione's impact on the Hingham community in the wake of his retirement by featuring him as one of our Humans of Hingham.
Hingham, if you haven't already, meet Tony!
Hi, Mr. Marchione! Thank you so much for agreeing to our interview. First, why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself? About your background, your family, your career, your passions and hobbies, etc.
I was born in 1936 in a small town in Southern Italy called Gioisa Ionica. I started as an apprentice barber when I was 18 years old. When I was 21, I owned and ran my own barber shop there. In 1970, I moved to the United States with my wife and our three children. I have two sons, one daughter, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
I have worked at Station 29 Barber Shop from March 1970 until this past March 2020. I live in Hull but because I have worked in Hingham for the past 50 years, I consider Hingham my home as well.
I enjoy spending time outside working in my garden.
What do you love most about Hingham?
I love the people and the community.
What does it feel like to be retiring after 50 years at Station 29?
I am sad to be retiring in this way because I did not get a chance to say goodbye and thank you to all of my customers in-person. I wish I could have given them all one last haircut.
How did the pandemic influence your decision to retire?
Because of COVID-19 and not knowing what will happen in the future, I decided it was time to retire. I want everyone healthy and safe. A barber shop is a social place. It is always full of people talking, enjoying each others’ company, reading newspapers and magazines, waiting their turns for a haircut. None of that would be possible anymore.
Can you describe your time (50 years) at Station 29?
I am honored to have been part of the Hingham community for the past 50 years. I have met and gotten to know so many people and their families. I consider all my customers my friends. I have given haircuts to generations of the same families and have enjoyed watching families grow! I will miss everyone very much.
What’s something your career as a barber has taught you?
I have always been a hard worker and am grateful to have worked in a profession that I loved. There was never a day that I did not want to go to work. I looked forward to seeing my customers.
If you had a different career, what would it be?
I can’t imagine myself doing anything else but being a barber!
Favorite vacation spot?
I love the seasons in New England but I sometimes like to visit South Florida in the winter.
What’s one thing people may not know about you?
I love to cook. I love to bake bread and traditional Italian cookies.