Faces in the Crowd: Linda Baughan

April 13, 2018

By Aaron Michell

Over the last fifty years, a lot has changed in the Marion area.
One thing, however, hasn’t: If you need a haircut, you can still call Linda.
The youngest of the four Williams sisters born to Vern and Bernadine, Linda grew up playing with her mother’s hair at the family farm near the crossroads of 18 Mile and 5th Avenue, just southeast of Marion.
While she now resides on the other end of town – her home and beauty salon are located just west of Marion on 20 Mile Road – she still keeps busy by helping others look their best.
A 1964 Marion graduate, Linda married Lonnie Baughan in 1980, and that’s when her two kids, Jeff Hill, and Dawn (Hill) Eisenga inherited 3 more siblings: Todd and Tim Baughan, and Tami (Baughan) Keen.
These days, when she’s not cutting hair, you can find Linda – or Nonnie B, as her grandkids know her – enjoying the company of her children and grandchildren and watching her family grow. You can find her listening to music, or watching TV with her 15 year-old feline companion, Buffy.
You might also find her at her church, The Community of Christ, or perhaps working on one of her quilts – she makes Cancer Quilts for Hope (by Nonnie B.) with all proceeds going to help fight cancer.
She stays busy. She stays young. And she genuinely enjoys the company and conversation of others.
Because that’s a big part of what a hairstylist does. And after 50 years, that still hasn’t changed: If you want to find a good conversation and a haircut, just find Linda.
We were fortunate enough to have that conversation at her home recently where we talked about a little bit of everything – from things like hair, and sewing, and tractors, to topics like family, faith, and her hometown of Marion.
What we found is that Linda is much more than just another face in the crowd.

Linda Baughan enjoys working on Cancer Quilts for Hope, with all proceeds going to help fight cancer.

Linda Baughan enjoys working on Cancer Quilts for Hope, with all proceeds going to help fight cancer.

Marion Press: Where did you grow up? What were things like then?
Linda: The folks built a home 2 ½ miles east and 2 miles south of Marion. My dad farmed with his father somewhat, and when they built that house they already had my two oldest sisters, Donna and Patty. And then Verna and I were born in the home that they built there [at the corner of 18 Mile and 5th Ave.] I was born in ’46, so they built their brand new big barn that year, in ’46. We just grew up there with farming: the cows, milking – I didn’t do a lot of that stuff because I was the youngest one, but I got to play on the wooden spools that used to go from end to end in the barn that you’d run cable on. That was fun.
We always had horses, at least one. The older girls graduated when I was 6 and then 9. And then Verna left to go to California after she graduated.
So, I just kind of entertained myself. We were good at that. We didn’t come and go like a lot of people did. Our Sundays were our Sunday drives to go to different family members’ homes. We would just do simple things – like kids don’t do now. We’d play outside and have tea parties on the front porch; things like that.

MP: What was high school like back in the early ‘60s?
Linda: I was in junior high when Verna left. I ended up being in band and I started with the clarinet, and I played bass clarinet after that. I was able to be a majorette – twirling the baton – and I also was a cheerleader for five years.
I graduated in ’64. Decided to go to cosmetology school in Brighton, where my oldest sister Donna lived. I went to school there until November, and that’s when I got married and moved to Roseville. Soon after that we moved back here, and I finished my cosmetology in Cadillac at the cosmetology school up there.
So, we just lived in the Marion area. Then Jeff was born, and then almost four years later Dawn was born. And those were my two kids from my first marriage.

Linda with all of her grandchildren, who she loves to spend time with.

Linda with all of her grandchildren, who she loves to spend time with.

MP: And when did you start cutting hair?
Linda: I started
working in ’65 for Joanie Kitson. I worked for Joanie for almost three years. We lived in town up above what now is the pizza place. Later we built a house out east of town across from where my folks lived. I had a beauty shop there for 12 years.
In May of 1980, Lonnie and I got married. And I then inherited Todd, and Tim, and Tami as my new family.
After Lonnie and I got married, I worked downtown Marion for Linda Bigford for two years. And then I was like, ‘Oh, I want my own shop again…’ because I had owned my own shop for 12 years prior to that. So, Lonnie built on the room for my shop and I’ve been here for 38 years.

MP: So, you’ve been here for 38 years, and then you had a shop for 12 years before that. Have you had a lot of the same customers over the last 50 years?
Linda: Oh yes. I got my people the three years that I worked for Joanie, and then they followed me to my house on 5th Avenue. And then, bless their hearts, they followed me here. And now of course, I’ve lost many, many people, but then I get new people too.

MP: What was it that got you interested in styling hair?
Linda: I just grew up really, really liking to do hair. I always messed with my mom’s hair. I was home alone with her a lot after my sisters graduated. I just really liked to do that, I guess. I can’t say that I’ve ever been sorry that I’ve done it. I still really like it. I love to visit with people. I honestly can’t imagine not working anymore; I can’t imagine just giving it up and it being quiet. I love the people and I’ve reached out to Pleasant Ridge, south of town here – I’ll cut some of the folks’ hair, and that’s been a real experience, it really has. I just have a lot of friends, I guess. I really like people; I enjoy them. I enjoy the old people as well as I do the young people.

MP: And that’s a big part of the job, right? The conversation?
Linda: We laugh a lot. There’s always something to talk about and to laugh about. And you’re always meeting somebody new. There’s always someone new who happens to come. I like it.

Linda and Lonnie on their wedding day.

Linda and Lonnie on their wedding day.

MP: You grew up in Marion in the ‘50s and ‘60s. What was Marion like then?
Linda: I remember that we could go to town on Friday or Saturday nights. On Saturday nights the folks would get groceries – there was angle parking, and everyone would come to town on Saturday nights to get groceries. Well, the kids, we all got to go to the theater. And we grew up doing that, every weekend. The folks would get their groceries and visit with everybody and we’d go to the theater.
It cost 25 cents to get in and popcorn and pop was a dime. And I remember at Christmas time, my favorite thing about the theater was as you’d walk in the entry and there was a hallway that you’d walk into – and at Christmas time they always had bubble lights on the Christmas tree. And that was my favorite part – the bubble lights on the Christmas tree!
We used to have concerts at the [Marion] bowl. Harold Kelly was my band teacher and we did a lot of things. He had us going to marching contests and solo and ensemble. In the summer we’d have concerts at the bowl. We would get together for – what was then called – the 7th of August. Old Fashioned Days. And we always marched in the parade for Memorial Day; we always came to the cemetery [west of town] afterwards and played. We went to the Cherry Festival in Traverse City and marched in that.
He just did a good job of getting us out there, you know.
I remember, when I was elementary age, we’d all get together at the park on Labor Day weekend. The churches would have church stands – they’d be all lined up and they’d cook and have food. And the men would bring their tractors and they had tractor pulls. And their tractors were pulling strictly the cement slabs. And it was an all-day thing.

MP: And you still go to the same church, The Community of Christ?
Linda: I was baptized in the church when I was 17 and my mom and dad were baptized the same day. Patty played the organ – my Grandma (Pearl) Austin played the piano when I was growing up and then Patty started playing, and then Sandy Merrifield started playing – and they both still play to this day.
I took piano lessons growing up because Grandma Austin gave piano lessons to many people – I know Janet Flemming took lessons from her and there were several people who did. I took lessons for years but I didn’t keep playing like Sandy and Patty did.

MP: Do you still keep in touch with some of your classmates?
Linda: We get together and we have class reunions now. I think we’ll have one this year. They’ve started what we call “class coffee.” Every second Monday, down at the Flashback, whoever can come, comes. Sometimes we’ll get about ten people there. We were the class of ’64: Ron Lloyd, Kathleen Kelso, Mary and John Martin, Phillip Symonds.

MP: Tell us about some of your hobbies.
Linda: I do like to play the piano. I love music; I truly love music. I love to sew – I’ve sewed from the time my mom taught us how to sew square block quilts, just crazy quilts. And then I took home economics, and I was in 4-H. And then I crocheted a lot growing up.
When Lonnie and I got married I started quilting again. And when he passed away, Deb Wood really got me going to classes and learning to really piece quilts. I love to do that.
Another hobby that I do – it involves quilts, but it’s for a special reason. My son, Jeff, he’s had leukemia for 16 years. And he does wonderful, thank goodness. He does very well, and you wouldn’t know it if you saw him. He has a good attitude and a lot of faith.
But I decided I would start making baby blankets. I can’t tell you how many I’ve made and how many I’ve sold. But on the tag, it says all proceeds go to the cancer fund.
They’re called Quilts by Nonnie B – that’s because my grandchildren called me Nonnie when they were little. That was my sewing name.
I go to Rockford every spring and I walk with Jeff, Michelle and the boys, and they started a stand in Rockford at the relay for life. I walk with them every year and I make a quilt to donate for their silent auction. One lady has bought every single quilt that I’ve made! I love doing that. That was my way of helping and now it just helps all those who need it.

MP: How did you and Lonnie enjoy spending your time?
Linda: Well, when we got married, of course we went to tractor pulls – as many as we could. And he liked to ride snowmobiles. We’d go up north with his brother, Jim Baughan, and a bunch of people from Marion: Pifer’s, and Swiler’s, and Niver’s, and the Swank’s; Harry Swank.
And we always did the holidays with the different families; gatherings for different things. Lonnie worked pipeline, so he decided to have his own construction company. He had a dump-truck, a backhoe, a loader, a dozer; he got into driveways, basements, septic systems. And this is kind of a joke, but we had L & L trucking – and people would ask are you the first L? Or the second L?

MP: So are you the first L?
Linda: Well, I always said it was me! But he loved his tractors. He was all about flying the American flag. He was very patriotic. I like the American stuff and a lot of my quilts have been American oriented.

MP: Over the years, has anyone given you advice that’s made a difference in your life? Have you had mentors or role models who have helped get you to where you are today?
Linda: I used to babysit when I was 12 years old for Marilyn Russell. The kids were all really little – Sandy [Merrifield] was the oldest; she and Peggy and Brenda – Brenda was just a baby. And Marilyn was such a wonderful mom. She studied her faith a lot. I think that Marilyn really was a person – and I didn’t know it then – but she was someone who really influenced my life a lot.
My Grandma Austin was very strong in faith and she influenced my life a lot too. Their kindness; the love that they showed people. They liked people.
My dad was – you really had to behave around him – but when he started farming he started farming with his dad. And I know a lot of what my dad did, he did to help his dad. And he had to work really hard for what he got. And you’d always think he was a rough, tough guy, and yet when something sad would happen he was the softest-hearted guy ever.
And I can remember him, when you’d lose a friend or a family member, and he just showed his kindness. My folks were kind people, you know.
I loved school. I liked most of my teachers. I just remember Marilyn and the impression she made, when I was 12 years old – you take in a lot at that age, you know.
The town was good, people were kind, businesses were good. I think Marion was a good town to raise my children in.

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