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  • May 26th, 2009 | 3:03 AM
Tuesday Memory Challenge - hair


I think I can safely say that my mom was obsessed with my hair while I was growing up. Every time she took a picture of me I would have to turn around so she could get a picture of my hair.

It started when I was very young.


And kept up as I got older.

And through the skating years.

And even when it was fake hair. See the bald head in the bottom right part of this picture? That was the head I kept this hairpiece on. I used to have to put my real hair up in a bun underneath and then pin this hairpiece on before competitions,. I had a bunch of scarves that I tied around the top so you couldn't see where they joined. And my mother used to spend actual money to take that fake hair to the beauty shop and get the curls redone! Why did I have to wear the fake hair? I think because that's what my skating pro used to do and we just fell into place.

And high school mascot time too.

But the picture taking is only part of the hair memories. When I in kindergarten she cut off my long hair up into a short pixie cut. I looked like a little boy. We were doing a play where we wore these paper Dutch hats and everyone teased me and told me to keep my hat on all the time.

As my hair grew out, at last, I  begged my mom to set it with pin curls like she and my grandmother did almost every night. She did, finally, for picture taking day at school.

School picture day was a really big deal to my mom so she was not at all happy the year I forgot to give her form that told her when it was and I got my school picture taken the way I looked on a regular day.

I had lots of headbands. Those soft fabric ones and the hard plastic ones. I had those plastic barrettes that had animal shapes.

We didn't have a shower in our house so washing my hair meant doing it in the kitchen sink. My mom would lay a towel out on the kitchen counter and I would lay down on my back on the hard tile. She would roll another towel up and put it under my neck. And then she would wash my hair, using a giant measuring cup to rinse it clear with Tame creme rinse that was supposed to get the tangles out.

Afterwards I would sit on a stool in the kitchen while she combed out all the snarls.

If you've read my book, Hugging the Rock  you might remember that there were several scenes about hair in it, including the hair washing scene from my childhood. Lots of emotion attached to me and my hair.

Your turn. What do you remember about hair from your childhood?
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 30 comments — Leave comment )
May 26th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Well, you certainly do have beautiful hair. You could've done shampoo commercials! :D
May 27th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Thanks, I think that was what my mom was thinking about, those hair commercials. :)
May 26th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
Susan, those are fascinating pictures! I don't think I know anyone who has pictures of the back of their hair! (And it is lovely.)

My mother used to scrape the hair on the crown of my head back as tight as she could and pin it with one of those plastic barrettes. When she took the barrette out at the end of the day, OH! The pain!
May 27th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
Thanks Melissa. There were so many of them it was a bit odd to see them all in one place.

Oh I remember the pain of those plastic barrettes. I just remembered there were also these metal ones with just a slight curve and my mother pull all my hair back and put some from the top in that barrette. I hated that she always pulled the hair away from my face.

BTW, your book arrived today. Thank you so much. I'm starting it tonight.
May 26th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
Love the photos -- what beautiful hair!

I remember not liking to fuss with my hair. I was born with natural curls, but it soon got very straight -- so my mom permed it on a regular basis. Hated it!

I wore a lot of headbands,too. My very first soft one was fuscia and I wore it all the time. I liked having my hair long sometimes, so I could do ponytails and pigtails, and short sometimes, so it was easier to care for.
May 27th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
Ugh on your mom perming those curls back. I was never one to mess with my hair maybe because my mom had done so much of it for me?
May 26th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
Wow. Your Mom's dedication to hair is kind of awe worthy.
May 27th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
And a little bit freaky. :)
May 26th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
you had such beautiful hair! and still do. i remember hating my hair which was a very bright strawberry blond that kids made fun of but adults always exclaimed over making me self conscious.
May 27th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
Thanks. Kids always find something to make other kids feel bad about, don't they? Sigh.
May 26th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
I love your mom. :)
May 27th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
ah thanks.
May 26th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Your hair was lovely--of course your mom wanted to photograph it!

I wanted long hair from the time I was five. My mom wanted it cut--said it was ugly. (It was just plain straight light blond hair. My sister's held curl, which was pretty.)

She gave up forcing me to cut it when I was fifteen, and I haven't cut it since. Trimmed yes, once it got below my butt. Now I don't even trim it, but I'm too old for it to get really long, like to the backs of my knees, where it was for a while, in my thirties.

May 27th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
It's very odd that I don't have many pictures of it when it was at its longest. Up until a couple of years ago mine was long enough to sit on and I let myself be talked into cutting it to a few inches below my shoulders. I hate it and now it is growing out again.

Some people don't think a 50 year-old woman should have long hair but I don't care.
(no subject) - sartorias - May 27th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - susanwrites - May 27th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
May 26th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Cool pix. I remember my mom yanking the knots out of my hair (with me crying and screaming). I always wore braids or ponytails to keep it out of my face. Now, of course, I don't have that problem.... ;)
May 27th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
I loved ponytails!
May 26th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
Wow! Thanks for sharing those beautiful memories and fun pictures! I remember back in the mid-70's my mom used to iron a neighbor's waist-length hair. The lady (forgot her name) would bend her head over and my mom would brush it so it would be lying evenly on the ironing board, then she would put some type of cloth (a towel?) between the hair and iron, and iron that hair flat - which was apparently the style back then.

My 11 y/o has very thick, nice hair, and grew it long to donate to Locks of Love. She is also extremely "tender-headed" and would get lots of tangles, so we were glad when she finally donated it.

May 27th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
Re: Hair
What a wonderful thing your daughter did. I just checked your website and she looks adorable with the shorter hair.
May 26th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
That's really something, Susan. My mom took a photo or two like that when I was a teenager and my hair was down nearly to my hips, but nothing like as extensive an archive.

It's funny to remember, but my mom really wanted me to have short hair because it was less bother, and so that's what I had for years and years. But when I hit my teens I declared independence by letting it grow. Very soon she changed her mind, and begged me please not to cut it! I remember being so surprised by that.
May 27th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I didn't even post all the hair pictures. It was a little weird.

My mom wanted me to have long hair until I was a mom with kids and then she thought it should be short. I let it grow until I could sit on it then foolishly cut it off to a bit below my shoulders. I'm letting it all grow again. I don't care what they say about old women and how they shouldn't have long hair - I plan to have long hair as long as possible.
May 26th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
I remember when I was 12 and visiting my sister in Boston, I got a Mia Farrow haircut up there (don't even ASK why I had my hair cut ON vacation, I have no idea) and I looked ridiculous. Picture day was only a week or so later. When I saw the pics I was mortified! Everyone said it looked fine. Liars!

My sis, btw, still has the pic on her fridge. She hates me. ;) And I still hate that haircut!
May 27th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
Oh dear...that is a short haircut!
(no subject) - onegrapeshy - May 27th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
May 26th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Hair! A topic I love!

My hair was really long when I was a little girl. Well, long for me being black, anyway. And I hated getting it washed. In the kitchen sink. Water would run down my face into my nose. ACK. Then came braids until it dried, and then the hot comb. The hot comb was awful! My mom heated it up on the stove--it sat in the flame. And then she'd rub my hair with pressing oil and run that comb through my hair. I HATED when she did the back--the kitchen it was called. And I HATED when she did my edges, because she almost always brushed my ear with that thing.

This went on until I was about 12 or so, and I got a relaxer. No more straightening comb!
May 27th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
Wow! That sounds so intense. I knew that your type of hair took a lot of time to care for but I had no idea. Ouchie!
May 26th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
Aren't Moms the best? They have a knack for making us feel very special. Loved the hair pictures. Very nice.
May 27th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
She was a wee bit obsessive but it was for the right reasons. :)
May 27th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, that certainly explains your "thing" with your hair. LOL

I have 2 hair memories:
When I was young, my mom used to cut my hair, and for the longest time, I refused to go to a real hair stylist/barber. I was always afraid they would cut it too short or make it look bad. Finally, my mom convinced me to go to the hair stylist who rented the station next to her hairdresser. We got appointments together. My hair looked so much better when I put it in the hands of a professional and let her cut it to suit my face (vs. telling my mom how I wanted it).

Second memory: I always wanted curly hair, so one summer, my cousin and I bought home perm kits and permed each other's hair. I remember all those curlers on my head, my hair pulled so tight I thought my scalp would fall off, and that super stinky home perm solution sitting on my head for 3 hours. And after all that suffering, my hair was still straight. I guess me and curls were not meant to be.
( 30 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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