Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Letter A; and a Story: The Image In The Mirror

For the challenge today, it was the letter A and an image of something starting with it.

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The Image in The Mirror

29th in the Tuesday Story Series

My parents had grown up during the Great Depression and the motto of those times stretched far into my childhood in the 1950's. Many people of the Depression era embraced that saying: "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without." I think probably many people today are putting those same words to use.

Mom and Dad applied that principle to just about everything. I don't remember seeing a repairman come around to our house very often, my father could make parts of things fit altogether different appliances, something I just took for granted. Another area where the costs were kept down were in haircuts.

Mom trimmed my sisters' and my hair - very short bangs and the length ended between the ears and the shoulder, sort of a Buster Brown look. I don't think any of us went to a professional until we were in our teens. When I was young, it didn't bother me, but as I became older I was tired of the same old style. I wanted a "real" haircut, and I began to ask my parents for one. Of course they promptly told me that it cost money and it would have been money unnecessarily spent.

Then when I was about ten or eleven, I'm not sure exactly, I suddenly found out I was going to the Beauty Parlor! One of our neighbors, a couple of houses down from us, had a "Beauty Parlor" in her home and many of the women on our street were her clients, including my Mom. I cannot remember the occasion for this sudden exciting event, perhaps I was having a picture made or it was for a school event, I don't know. But I do remember how excited I was!

I felt so grown up when I climbed into the chair and had my hair washed by someone entirely outside of my family. She combed out my hair and starting trimming it, all the time talking with me as if I were important person. My mother sat in the chair smiling, and the other ladies there smiled with her. The stylist put rollers in my hair, and told me that it was time to sit under the hair dryer. Leading me to a chair and pulling down the large silver dome, she flipped a switch and I could feel warm air swirling around my ears. My, this was exciting! I caught my mother's eye and started talking to her. "Mom! I have curlers in my hair - does that mean I will have naturally curly hair??"

My mother looked startled and put her finger to her lips. I didn't understand, but she quickly came over and told me I was shouting. Of course, with the dryer noise I didn't realize how loud I was speaking! And she leaned over and said "No, your hair won't stay curly."

Well, that was disappointing.

After a few minutes, though, I focused on the finale to come - when my hair was dry and styled. After fidgeting around under the dryer for a while, the time finally arrived, and I was back in the stylist's chair. One by one, the rollers came out, and then she began combing. My back was to the mirror and I began imagining how beautiful I would look. It seemed like forever before she finished and said "There! You look so pretty!"  And she swung my chair around to face the mirror.

I blinked.

I stared.

I didn't know what to say. Then, I burst into tears!

To this day, I cannot remember exactly why I was so shocked. I'm sure it looked just like any little girl's haircut, but all I could think of was it wasn't me! The poor stylist was upset and my mother was embarrassed, but I couldn't stop crying. I eventually calmed down and we left. I don't think my mother ever really understood what happened, and I certainly couldn't explain it to her. I was very disappointed and my mother was exasperated. After that, it was long while before I went to a "Beauty Parlor" again!


  1. I had a similar experience when my mother decided I needed a permanent. Hideous!

  2. Hahahahaha,, I remember that beauty shop. Was her name Mrs. Brinkly? In Riverland Terrace? I was so jealous that you got to go! I had to make do with home perms, ugh, the day before school pictures, so now the memory is documented forever! I never realized how traumatic it was for you, bummer, I'm sorry! You have always, in my eyes, been the beautiful, older, (by older I mean wiser) more sophisticated sister. I love you!!!

  3. Lovely tag, Rebecca. I hope to do one later on for the challenge. I did enjoy your story. Our family had the same philosophy and I haven't out lived it. I am still conscious of every penny. My grandmother treated me and my sister to a permanent when I was around 10. It also was an occasion similar to yours, except I didn't cry. But our curls were so tight and just wouldn't comb out. We were kind of glad when all that perm grew out.

  4. Cute tag and love the story.
    my first trip was a perm, never had one again !!!


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