My mother despaired of making my hair look good. I guess it didn’t help that the brother born before me had a head full of adorable curls. And of course Mom herself had thick, curly, blond hair.
In those days, women did not give in gracefully, so neither did their daughters. I believe I had my first perm at the age of 5. My Mom’s cousin was a hairdresser and I went to her for the
torture process. I’d sit in the chair on top of a lot of books, and would have my hair rolled in curlers each one of which was attached by a long electrical cord to a device not unlike the apparatus used for early electrical chair executions.
My head was doused with
gasoline chemicals and then I was plugged in! I remember smelling the stench of burning hair and I think I am lucky that I was not accidentally done in.
Was the result beautiful? No. Pretty? No. Unbelievably horrible and insanely messed up? Yes. But I’ll admit it was thicker.
Even at the age of five, I knew I looked an absolute horror. My Mom would grab a hunk of this frizzled mess and tie a huge bow in it and send me off to school. Really it was my worst childhood memory, even worse than the Three Stooges films that used to play at the Saturday matinees.
The only consolation I had was that my best friend and cousin who got the same straight, fine, thin hair gene, had exactly the same perm and exactly the same bow in the hunk of frizzled hair as I did.
My last perm was in 1991. My daughter, Carla, took one look at me and said, “Mom, you are not allowed to get another perm for the rest of your life.”
You know, I kind of like my hair now!
No photos of any of the perms is permitted in this blog!