President Clinton sat once in Ron Ferrara's barber chair
It was a freeze-frame moment for a lifetime for Ron Ferrara.
The leader of the free world leaned forward, wrapping the Vandergrift resident in a warm hug, on the South Lawn of the White House in the summer of 1993.
“Well, what do you think of the hair cut?” President Bill Clinton asked his former classmate at Georgetown University, smiling at Ferrara and his wife, Mary.
The Clintons were hosting the 25th reunion of Georgetown University's Class of 1968. Ferrara had been the class barber at St. Vincent Prep in Latrobe, where he had considered entering the priesthood, and took those skills with him to earn extra money at college.
A young Clinton was one of his customers. “He was a graduate of the School of Foreign Service, where I had most of my classes,” recalls Ferrara, who majored in Italian and French.
“My response to my wife was, ‘See, he does remember.' If I remember correctly I charged $2. Nobody tipped in those days.”
Ferrara is not surprised that his classmate became president. “Bill Clinton is the smartest person I have ever known,” he says. He invited Ron and Mary Ferrara to his first inauguration in 1993. “I was proud to attend,” he says.
“Other than the occasional Christmas card we have since lost touch,” says Ron Ferrara.
The freeze-frame moment probably never would have happened had Ferrara's number, so to speak, not come up at St. Vincent
“When I arrived at St. Vincent as a freshman they lined us all up and told us to count to 10,” he recalls. “Every 10th person became the barber for the previous nine. Upperclassman taught us how to do it. When my grandfather Ferrara found out, he bought me a full barbers' kit so I could cut his hair and my brother's and my cousins.”
Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.