When I went to the beauty salon the hair stylist put me under the hair dryer, and it reminded me of my mother. I was a little girl during the 1950’s.
My mother was a determined hair washer. She didn’t finish the procedure until my hair squeaked. She used some type of white shampoo that came in a round container. It had a distinctive odor because I can almost remember the smell.
I liked it when my mom gently brushed out my wet hair, and used the old silver hand- held dryer to dry it. I liked the soft hum of the dryer, and the feeling of the warm comforting air. I remember that the coils inside the hair dryer gradually lit up when you turned it on.
I don’t think she was terrific at cutting my bangs. In all my old pictures, they are pretty short and a little uneven. I remember sitting in a chair while she attempted this tricky procedure.
Every day, when I was little, we’d go into the bathroom, and she would style my hair. We’d both look into the mirror. I vaguely remember our reflections. She always wore a “house dress”—an easy slip-on dress. If I was going to school, I had on a dress, or a skirt and blouse. I remember her being so much taller than me. (When I grew up, I towered over her.)
We both must have enjoyed this, or why would I remember it? She was gentle, but firm. My mother was like that in everything she did. She was a born leader, but didn’t garner our respect by being harsh. To this day, I’m not sure how she did it.
The hairstyles varied between a pony tail, two pigtails and sometimes two braids. My mother worked carefully to get my thick wavy hair into those rubber bands. She didn’t pull and tug. My thick hair didn’t fit into braids too easily. No matter how hard she tried, a stray piece of hair would escape. By the end of the day, it was a disaster. ( She only did this particular style when I begged.)
When she was done with styling my hair, we’d go onto the kitchen. She would take a ribbon, sometimes two, and smooth it with steam from the tea kettle. She’d carefully put it in my hair, and firmly tie it around my hair style for the day. Then, off I’d go to school,
It’s funny what we remember about our childhoods. I guess it’s good to know those people, so important to us, can be conjured up by the sound of a hair dryer in a beauty salon.
What are your memories of your childhood that you’d like to share? It doesn’t have to be about hair!
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