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 Rosalind Russell once said, “Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.”   Since 1936, Gleason’s first beauty shop has flourished and provided service to many women and children by providing the best conversation, daily laughs, the latest news, and a terrific cut, color, and style.  Novella’s, as it was named in the early days, is now named Jozelle’s.  These two sisters have been responsible for almost eighty years of service to the community of Gleason.

                Moving from Camden, Tennessee, to Gleason in the early 1930’s, Tharpe and T. G. Burns and their family opened a Variety Store in a building under the old hotel.  Novella and Jozelle, who was only thirteen at the time, opened a beauty shop in the back of that store.  The store and shop then were located at the corner in the Lasater building where the Bank of Gleason’s ATM and drive thru are currently located.  After the Variety Store was sold to Melvin Swindle, Novella’s was forced to move behind the City Drug Store for a brief time.  The present location is on Front (currently State Championship Drive) and Center Streets.  In 1940, the Bank of Gleason merged with Farmers and Citizens Bank and moved to the corner of Main Street.  Novella’s shop moved once again to the Bank of Gleason’s former building.  It remained as Novella’s until she and her daughter Dorotha moved to Perry, Florida, in 1953.  The shop then became Jozelle’s and has remained at this location since 1953.  Jozelle started working while in high school and after sixty-three years of service, she retired in 1998 with  thousands of hours devoted to customers, hundreds of combs, teezing tools , infinite gallons of shampoo and other hair products, and conversations too many to count to her credit.

                Many women had the pleasure of working at one of Gleason’s favorite gathering places.  Joyce Horn Wray started work at Jozelle’s when she finished cosmetology school at McGorman and Dye in Nashville.  She came home in 1946 and started work there alongside Jozelle until she retired in 1998.  Mary Brawner Jorge came to work in 1959 and worked until 1991 when she retired to care for her husband who then died in 1993.  Mary then suddenly passed away in 1998 at her home with a probable brain aneurism. Mary Margarett Martin Beasley started in 1959 after working at Nadine’s Beauty Shop in McKenzie, Tennessee.  She is the only one still working today.  She has already worked for fifty-six years and is still going strong three days a week.  Janie Dellinger worked full time for awhile and now only works when she has an appointment as she is working full time at Gleason School.  Brenda Oliver, Pat Lowry, and Pauline Parks also were a part of the legacy of this stable and dedicated downtown business.

                Laughs were as plentiful at this shop as hairspray and hairdryers.  Funny things happen when four friends work together daily on numerous patrons in very close quarters.  Even a few tempers would flair on occasion, but at the end of the day, these four forever friends would walk out those doors together smiling having put in long days of standing and styling.  A story has even been told of a community church using enormous amounts of cut hair to fill the manger scene at Christmas instead of traditional hay.  How about that for recycling!!!  We have all heard of a full-service salon, and word has it that the ladies at Jozelle’s had a customer go into labor while having her hair fixed.  Imagine the mass confusion of eight to ten women giving advice to the expectant mother on delivery.  Thank goodness, she made it safely to the hospital to deliver a beautiful, healthy girl.  Stories are often shared about ladies getting other patrons glasses off the counter and wearing them as their own until the next appointment when they would switch back.

Children all enjoyed playing in the vault left by the Bank of Gleason.  One day Mike Hamilton, Jozelle’s older son, was in the vault reading and the door locked accidentally.  Everyone panicked as nobody knew if there was enough air in there or not.  People came from all over town offering help to get him out.  Finally, some men came with heavy duty power tools and tried to saw through that heavy metal door; somehow the hard power jarred the lock loose.  Imagine the relief when Mike walked out that vault door!!

Jozelle’s has always been a wonderful place to work as well as visit while getting your hair done and sharing the daily news.  Even though the shop is much quieter with less traffic today, Mary Margarett still has many old friends who drop in to reminisce and share their stories of days gone by.  It will always be a place full of fun and fellowship for so many.  If you are in Gleason, please stop in and share your favorite story at this favorite meeting place or better yet, call and tell these amazing women how special they are and how much they have meant to you over the years.  Rosalind Russell penned it right and must have known these wonderful women.  They have shared their expertise and joy with the people of this town and have left  a beautiful legacy of love (Story by Kay Hudson & Joyce Wray).

 

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