A 'permanent' place no more

Jennie Connor, an executive who spends her time working with the public, was almost poetic as she talked. Dignified Dottie Rudisill, a retired teacher, had tears in her eyes. Bubbly 90-plus pastor’s widow Joan Andrews said she lived too long. Society matron Vera Arndt rushed in to keep her appointment. Lucille Pitts, who holds the record as the longest-serving county employee, had already been there to get “one last permanent,” as she described the hair curling ritual.
It was a pre-weekend morning at Eva’s Beauty Salon in downtown Newton, and a steady parade of Southern ladies were coming in to get beautified for Sunday and their busy lifestyles. It was the last time they would gather at the nondescript store-front on West A Street. After nearly seven decades Eva’s is going out of business.
No more would women from Newton, Conover, Claremont, Catawba, and Maiden come to the Court Square to have their hair styled—and also to visit, gossip, and share friendships forged over the more than 65 years that the salon has been in business. Ninety-two-year-old Eva Sigmon Whitener and her “little” sister, Pinkie Sigmon Eckard, who is 87, decided to lock the door for the final time.
The Saturday closing marks what one customer this week called a historic event, because the the shop Whitener has owned for so long has become one of downtown Newton’s oldest businesses

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.