When we were kids, Houston Mamaw (Mama’s mother) would always come every summer to visit.
On these summer trips, she would drag all of us girls out for a haircut. I always hated those visits because, I decided at a very early age, I wanted my hair long. Everything else about her visits were doable, even if we were thrown totally out of our normal routine.
When I was six-years-old, Mama and Rosenberg Mamaw (Daddy's mother) decided I should have a haircut and a perm for the first grade. They took me to Mamaw’s house, down the road, and had me sit in a chair in the kitchen.
Mamaw then proceeded to cut my hair to about three-inches long all over my head. After my haircut, assisted by Mama, she gave me a home pemanent. I absolutely hated that and I protested the whole time, but the complaints of a child of six fell on deaf ears. Needless to say, after this experience, nobody ever touched my hair again. I was determined and would do whatever it took to keep myself from encountering that scenario for a second time.
I remember telling them that was the last time someone was getting me in a chair and cutting my hair unless I wanted it done, which I didn't. I learned you just couldn’t trust adults and after that I managed to evade the scissors.
When Houston Mamaw came to take us all to the salon every summer, I would hide and refuse to come out. I advised my sisters to do the same, but that’s one time they didn't listen to me. Mamaw even told me I could just go along with everyone and sit in a chair and wait while they all got their hair cut. I knew this was a trick and once they got me in the car and in the salon, I would have to get a haircut as well, so I decided to stay home.
I tired to tell my sisters not to get in the car, but they wouldn't listen. I think they were afraid to assert themselves when they knew the adults were in charge of our lives. So when they all came back, later in the day,with those sad, tearful faces and those pixie haircuts, all I could say was I told you so.
Naturally, they would be very upset at having their hair cut an inch long all over their heads. “How could that even be possible?” they exclaimed!
They wanted to hide until it grew out some, but of course that wasn’t going to happen. We had to work in the fields and go about all the other adventures we had as kids and then of course there was school to think about, once fall arrrived.
This happened every year and I suppose, being the oldest, I should have raised more of a fuss and made more of an effort to keep them from being shuffled off to the salon. But of course adults have their own ideas about things and you can only do so much while still being respectful.
I told my sisters they just had to put their foot down, on that kind of thing, unless they really wanted the haircut. Mama sympathized with me and I never had to go. She knew how bad I hated that home permanent and even she had to admit it wasn’t the best job around. I was pretty sad looking until it grew out.
Those poor girls came back looking so pathetic every time with sad, puppy dog faces. They may as well have been the little elves from my stories. They never seemed to learn, or muster the courage to protest.
Mama tried to talk her mother out of it, but Mamaw had a mind of her own and Mama knew it was no use to argue, so, in the end, she would just say, “yes ma’am,” and let the girls be put into the car for the trip.
As the years passed by, they got used to the dreaded trip to the beauty parlor and I don't think they minded as much. I do think they would have preferred to pick their own hairstyle instead of getting that pixie haircut, which went on until they became teens.