CFB Halifax barber hangs up her clippers

Christine Goodridge retired on Sept. 22 after working 38 years as a barber for the military. Pictured here in the barbershop in FMF Cape Scott, Goodridge stands beside a bulletin board full of currency from all around the world, brought to her by sailors over the years. Photo by Joanie Veitch, Trident Newspaper

Christine Goodridge retired on Sept. 22 after working 38 years as a barber for the military. Pictured here in the barbershop in FMF Cape Scott, Goodridge stands beside a bulletin board full of currency from all around the world, brought to her by sailors over the years. Photo by Joanie Veitch, Trident Newspaper

Joanie Veitch
Trident Newspaper
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After 38 years doing military haircuts at CFB Halifax, Christine Goodridge is packing up her clippers. On Sept. 22, she retired from her position as barber at CFB Halifax.

She got her start as a military barber in late summer 1983. To put how long ago that was into context, Return of the Jedi was the big blockbuster summer movie that year, and Madonna had just released her debut album.

“Thirty-eight years is a long time,” Goodridge says. “I still love cutting hair but I’m tired. You know when it’s time, and it’s time for me.” 

Goodridge grew up in Mill Cove, NS, near Hubbards. She got her start in the hair-cutting business shortly after finishing her training at the Atlantic Barbering and Hairstyling Academy; she was the youngest registered barber in North America at just 16 years of age.

Working first at the iconic Golden Clipper – back when it was still on Spring Garden Road – and then at a hair salon on Dalhousie University campus, Goodridge decided she preferred barbering to hairstyling when a friend recommended her for the military barber job.

“The barber up at Stad was having trouble with his barbers, drinking on the job, not showing up, that sort of thing. A friend I’d gone to school with suggested he give me a try.  He did, and it worked out.”

Although Goodridge says she was “petrified” when she first started out, she fell in love with the job immediately, especially the pace of work.

“I loved the speed. The time would just fly by, especially on the days when we’d get an entire ship’s company. That’s what it was like then, they might bring in 100 men and say they’d be back in a couple of hours to get them.”

 So how fast can she do a regulation military haircut?

 “If you’re in a rush, I can do a full haircut in three minutes,” Goodridge says.

 When she first began cutting hair on the navy base, she worked in a traditional-style barbershop on Stadacona’s A block, outfitted with a classic red Belmont barber chair — the same chair that now sits in the Submarine Trainer that trains personnel on the Victoria-class submarines.

After that shop closed, she moved to HMC Halifax Dockyard, to a shop near the former fire hall, before her final move to FMF Cape Scott in 2004, on the second floor, down the hall from the cafeteria.

Over the years, Goodridge has cut the hair of thousands of sailors, many of them repeat customers who she first met as newly joined recruits, some going on deployment for the first time.

“I remember when the Gulf War started in 1991, I was really busy as they’d had orders to go. I had two young French guys going out, they’d never even been on a ship before and here they were going off to war. I could feel their fear,” she says. “I’ve often said, I’m the world’s cheapest therapist.”

Although she knows it’s the right time to leave, it won’t be easy.

“In the past, if someone would get posted it was never a big deal because they’re navy guys and they would always end up back here at some point, so we’d just say ‘See ya!’,” she says.

The barbershop at FMF Cape Scott will remain open, with Amanda and Letitia “taking the baton,” Goodridge says.

Goodridge will continue with her “second job” of property management, and spending time with her four cats.

“I’m going to miss it here. It has been a joy; it’s been my life.”

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Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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