By Stacy Milbouer
Fiddlehead Contributing Editor
Old legacies die hard, but sometimes, especially in these times, they pass quietly.
Such is the case with The Framery, which has been in business on Main Street in Nashua for 50 years and always owned by now 90-year-old Herb Mosher – who has never changed his hairstyle from the day he opened.
“It’s a Beatles thing,” he said. “I started cutting my hair this way when they became popular.”
Just a week before the virus lock down, Mosher had no plans of closing, even though business had slowed over the years due to big box stores offering framing. But he had a loyal following, a short turn-around and faithful customers who kept the little shop going all these decades. However, he was worried. “I don’t know if they close things down if I’ll be able to pay the rent.”
And because he and his late wife of 49 years never had children, there was no heir apparent if it did close. And it did.
“Maybe Uncle Sam will get it,” he said at the time.
This wasn’t Mosher’s first career. He was an engineer at Sprague Electric in Nashua, but then management asked him to move to either Texas or Denmark – his choice.
“I didn’t want to go,” he said. So, he decided to stay in wife’s hometown of Nashua.
Mosher, who was brought up on the ocean in Newport, R.I., had always “piddled around” making paintings, often with nautical or pastoral scenes; as a young man he had worked on yachts. Eventually, he took to framing his work, which led to his opening his business.
Since then, he’s framed paintings and posters, diplomas and family photographs, and definitely the odd item or two. The oddest? Mosher pointed to a shadow box on the wall with the word “shark” spelled out in shark teeth. The teeth were collected by this late wife while she was in Florida. That’s where the two met, while he was working on a yacht and she was a waitress in a nearby restaurant.
With the exception of missing his customers, Mosher, who has worked constantly since he was a teenager, isn’t sure what he’s going to do next. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who will stop working.
He worries about the one employee who most recently worked for him but was happy to know she was getting unemployment compensation.
After a liquidation sale, the store is empty now – barely a trace of the business that was an icon on Main Street. Even the tall grandfather clock that stood sentry at the corner of The Framery for all those years is gone. Mosher said he planned to give it to a former employee who worked at the shop years ago.
And while he doesn’t know what’s next for him, he does know he’s going to maintain his iconic mop.
“Everybody is cutting their own hair now,” he said. “But I’ve always done my own and I always will.”