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PEPPERELL — It’s 4 p.m. and Milton Tzitzenikos is walking across Main Street to his car. His barbershop is closed for the day.

Mel the Barber, the name he is better known as, remembers when 4 p.m. was marked by milk-filled cows being herded from Lowell Street where they had been grazing. A lot has changed in and around the Tarbell Block in the last century.

“There used to be no cars; I had a hitching rail right out front,” he said.

“People used to take teams of horses into town to go shopping.”

Mel has been cutting hair on Main Street for 60 years and four generations of customers. Mel opened his shop when he was 20 years old, a young World War II veteran returning to his hometown of Dracut. Mel had been drafted two years earlier.

“I walked across Europe through France, Belgium and into Germany,” he said. “We were at the tail end of the bulge.”

Mel says after returning home, he was issued a summer uniform and was bound for the Pacific just before the bomb was dropped on Japan.

“You don’t remember all the dates when you are younger, you just experience them,” he said.

He had served in the European Theater for what is now a very revered time period, especially around Memorial Day: 18 months. When Victory over Japan Day came, he choose to go to barber school in Boston on the G.I. Bill.

“It was just a career I chose to pursue,” Mel said. Before he went into the armed services, Mel was a welder in a shipyard. Upon his return, with many other men in uniform, things were slow. Mel keeps a map of Europe in his shop, along with old photos of the Tarbell Block and a few figureheads from eras bygone such as Bobby and John F. Kennedy and John Wayne. He keeps a second map also, this one of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, which, like World War II, also offers a look into his story.

Shortly after opening his shop, Mel bought land in Tabusintac, New Brunswick, on Miramichi Bay, almost 600 miles away from Massachusetts. Tabusintac is right on the Atlantic and has a population of just over 800 people. Mel takes trips up there to go camping and fly-fish for salmon.

“I plan to go this summer, but it’s always spur-of-the-moment,” he says. Salmon are in season there year-round, but ice on the pond and brutal cold make it near impossible during the winter. Apart from the bay teeming with salmon, the spot has another catch.

“It’s just across the bay from Wishart Point, where Ted Williams used to go to fish,” Mel said.

The Red Sox legend pent some summers camping and fly fishing when he wasn’t sending baseballs over fences. So much, in fact, that he was inducted into both the Baseball Hall of Fame and International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame. Mel is a Red Sox fan.

Apart from fishing, Mel also has a greenhouse behind his house in Dracut where he spends time gardening. He enjoys giving flowers to friends and family.

His father George also graces his shop walls. George’s picture is below one of President Kennedy, and beside it is a letter he received from Harry Truman for his service in World War I. Mel has four children named Linda, Lisa, Sandy and Milton, as well as several grandchildren. Milton cuts hair with his dad.

Mel says public relations is a big part of hair cutting and his four generations of customers prove he has a knack for it.

“Word of mouth and my Main Street location help, but Pepperell is a great town for families,” he said.

Mel enjoys giving people of all ages haircuts, but tends to cut older patrons. After sitting them in the chair, he strikes up conversation, usually about weather, which sometimes takes precedence over the haircut.

“It depends on the person,” he says, “some like to talk a lot.”

Mel says if he didn’t get into cutting hair, he might be in real estate.

“It used to be people came here to retire, they were moving out of cities,” Mel said. He noted the town has done a wonderful job, and that out across from his shop and along the river is beautiful and he likes his zoning.

Mel remembers Railroad Square fires from the last several decades which took out many historic sites, yet his shop remains untouched. He fondly remembers stories as well.

“There was a woman named Rosie who raised heffers, and sold 12 of them to a cattle dealer for $15,000,” he said.

The bank was open on Thursday evenings for business owners, and when she brought the money for deposit she was told it was counterfeit.

“The woman was around 60 years old, but she nearly climbed the bars at the teller window,” he said. Mel tells that there were treasury men running around Pepperell, but it was another cattle dealer who recognized the swindler’s truck in Orange. It was stuck in the mud, bogged down by 12 cows.

“She got the cows back, but she was disappointed about the money,” he said. Still, Mel says people are still interesting and enjoys talking to them.

When Mel first got to Pepperell, there were about 2,500 people here, with gravel roads and horses. Now there are about 12,000, along with pavement and automobiles. Mel says changes are bound to happen, and that the deterioration of the mill and other historic areas has been the most visible.

For his longtime customers, the price of haircuts may be the most visible change. Mel’s first set price for a haircut was 35 cents and for a shave, 15 cents.

Since Feb. 9, 2010, a haircut at Mel’s shop is $10, shaves are $5 for a beard, $3 for a moustache. All three go for a specially-priced $16. Mel the Barber is open for business from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding Wednesdays. The Coke sign out front has been there since 1954 and you can still sell jewelry, gold and other valuables for cash, which he collects and trades.

Between living in Dracut, cutting hair in Pepperell and fishing in Tabusintac, Mel says, “I get to do everything I want to.”

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