Monday, March 3, 2008

The Year of the Hair--1960!

I was looking at my photos today, and came across this picture of me from the 5th grade--probably taken in late September, or early October of 1960. This is the kind of memory that is pretty funny now, but extremely traumatic then!

In the spring of that same year (4th grade) my dad said that I could get my hair done in a real beauty salon. My mom and I decided that we should try a moderately curly perm...I was so excited to have bouncy curls, that I was counting the days until I could get it done. My dad said that we would even go to Lethbridge to have it done. Lethbridge! Can you imagine that? My dad was willing to drive 30 miles so that I could get my hair done! I was so excited! Of course, what I didn't realize, was that my father's idea of a professional beauty salon was the local beauty school for aspiring young hair-dressers (as they were called back then). The other reason my dad was so anxious to take me to the Lethbridge Beauty School, was that the cost was five dollars. Five dollars to cut, perm and style my hair...and with prices like that, the beauty school was assured of a consistent clientele. The day arrived--it was a Saturday morning in April and we made sure that we were there when they first opened. From 10 until 3 I was in the chair--while some young girl struggled to put the perm curlers in and saturate it with solution. Five hours later I was finally finished! My hair was so thick with curls she could barely get a comb through it to style it. The perm smell was so strong that it made me want to hold my nose. The hair-dresser told me not to wash my hair for a couple of days, so the perm would NOT lose its curl. (There was absolutely no chance of that happening...EVER) After the two days had passed, I was excited to wash and style my hair. I kept envisioning the lovely curls and how Louise (my BFF) would be so jealous. I remember washing my hair and then drying it. To my horror--where there should have been curls, there was only frizz...lots and lots of frizz. So much frizz, in fact, that my head looked like I had a hair helmet on. The tears flowed and I was so mad at my dad, that I told him that I would never, ever, go to a beauty school again! He responded that we couldn't blame the school, after all, they were just learning--but think of the money we saved! Sadly, I soon realized that the only way I could make my hair look "normal" was to wet it down and put some Dippity Doo on it to keep it in place!

Now, perhaps, you can understand why I told you it was in late September or early October of that same year when I got my 5th grade picture taken...some 7 months later...7 long months of hair washing, dippity dooing and praying for the perm to relax and "just go away." However, when the school pictures were announced, I was devastated. Yes, the hair had relaxed a little, but it still required a wetting down and dippity doo! I remember crying as I wet my hair that morning, knowing that this year I would not have anyone telling me that my school picture looked like a movie star...(My friend, Patty Jensen had taken a "movie star" picture the previous year, and me and all of my friends wanted our picture to look like hers--Come to think of it, she was the reason I wanted a perm--she had soft curls and looked fabulous!). Needless to say, the 5th grade would not be my year to dazzle--only to look frazzled! (I suppose I don't need to tell you that Louise was never jealous of my beauty school curls.)


  1. I think you are beautiful--even with your frizzy curls. Of course this begs the question...when you had such a traumatic experience with perms, why on earth would you take little 11 year old me to get a perm? And then bring me back every 3 months for more. A cruel joke perhaps?

  2. Wasn't there a Romona Book by Beverly Cleary where Ramona's big sister gets a perm at the local Beauty College and it turns out less than fabulous? I must agree with Erin, though, you still look darling!

  3. Dipitty Doo! I love it! What a great story. And I love that your Dad said "Think of the money we saved." So Grandpa Hallstrom.