The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The crew of Egg Drop Soup poses with director Yang (bottom, center).
SMU student film highlights the Chinese-American experience
Lexi Hodson, Contributor • May 16, 2024
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Willy wins hearts, cuts hair

 Willy wins hearts, cuts hair
Willy wins hearts, cuts hair

Willy wins hearts, cuts hair

For most, 4 a.m. means lying under the sheets, fast asleep whileyour subconscious rockets you into dreamland. For Willy Morris, itis the start of the day, every day, no alarm clock included.

“Today I got up at 3:45 a.m, got me and my bride somecoffee, then she cooked me sausage and eggs,” said Willy, ashe is known across campus.

It is now 6:45 a.m. on a Wednesday. Morris trades back and forthbetween a switchblade and a nail clipper, cleaning and shorteninghis nails for work as he describes life on campus 30 years ago.

Born the third child of six in Seymore, Texas, Morris’rural farm root persona has kept more than three generations ofcustomers in his barber chair.

“The best part [of my job] is the people,” saidWilly.

At one glance, Willy embodies the Texas cowboy stereotype: along-sleeve button up tan shirt tucked into toffee brown pantscomplete with leather boots. But talking with him canned thestereotypes of a local barber, i.e. naïve to the world beyondthe red and white pole. Raised on a 200 acre farm, Morris’west Texan twang brings forth a tone full of direct honesty from alife of experience. He has lived and worked all over the southwestand halfway across the Atlantic Ocean in Germany, and not cuttinghair.

In Las Vegas he was hired to lay dry-wall in various buildings.New Mexico and other areas of the Southwest provided Morris withsimilar opportunities to travel and work. Not only is Willy theall-around handyman, but U.S. traveler too. At times during theyear, Morris and his wife drive to national landmarks around thecountry.

“We have driven through the Blue Ridge mountains to WestVirginia and back,” he said. On his next trip, Morris plansto drive through South and North Dakota. It is not just curiositythat compels the Morris’ to travel, but family too. He hasfamily up and down the East Coast, from Delaware and Maryland toAtlanta.

Not only does Willy travel in his spare time, but he welds too.Morris’ hand-crafted metal paraphernalia delivers anauthentic feel from his childhood roots in west Texas. Around thebarbershop, he has miscellaneous metal items that serve functionssuch as a paper towel holder, a salt and pepper shaker, napkinholder and lone star wall hooks. His work has even grabbed theattention of certain clients, who have asked him to customize hiscreations. One of Morris’ most impressive welding skills canbe seen, if you ask, in a picture of a “smoker” —a large rotisserie/grill, about 7×8 feet, that he welded togetherin his backyard.

Morris did not enter barber school until he was 28 years old.After attending school in Wichita Falls, he moved to the UniversityBarbershop in 1967, where Culwell and Sons stands today betweenMcFarlin and Asbury.

In 1973, “Willy’s Hair Saloon” moved on-campusto Umphrey-Lee [next to where the cafeteria is today], where hebought out his partner and began working solo. Morris stillmaintains regulars whose hair he cut 30 years ago in Umphrey-Lee.Former parking officer R.C. Martinez has been Morris’ clientfrom day one at SMU.

“As soon as I started going to him, I found out we hadgrown up in the same part of Texas,” said Martinez, “Webecame instant friends.”

As the university becomes larger in population and continues toexpand, it has not yet severed Morris’ strong client/friendrelationship or the activity of his business. Willy continues toopen shop Tuesday through Saturday at 6:30 a.m. When asked if hehas plans to retire in the near future, Willy heartily replied,”I am too young to retire.”

His regular clients include SMU alumni, former and currentemployees and professors and students. Although the majority of hisclients are male, he has been known to cut women’s hairoccasionally.

“I won’t do anything fancy, just cut straight acrossthe bottom,” Morris explained.

You can find Willy on the east side of the Hughes-Trigg StudentCenter, to the left of the ATM. He shaves, shampoos, trims and cutshair Tuesday through Saturday at 6:30 a.m., closing at 4:30 p.m. onweekdays and noon on Saturdays. For an appointment call (214)368-0921.

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