Friday, August 6, 2010

1978: curly hair

I am typing up a small book of notes my mother kept from a summer in 1978 while traveling around Western Europe. The 17 small pages are full of her handwriting, which is pretty but often hard to read. Anything in brackets are dual phrasings she hadn't chosen between or bits she crossed out. I've used only the first initial for the one name included. This is only the first two pages of notes in Lion Brand notepad:

They’re all wearing their hair curly in London. At least they were that particular summer. Quite remarkable. A nation of curly headed women, overnight so to speak.
I had seen T. just [the summer / twelve months] before. Blonde, straight hair, absolutely perfectly cut, swinging around as she yelled at her children, no different from fifteen years before when we were TAs sharing an office, sharing Rothman’s King Size, and giggling at the fact that we were teaching Sanskrit and old Javanese to Sydney undergraduates, who were practically our own age. My hair at the time, as always, was brown and straight, no swing, not even when I yelled at my child.
[This] particular summer, T. had a head of gorgeous little curls. Her children were a year older and things were more peaceful. The little curls wiggled as she smoked and made pots of tea.
“T.,” I shrieked, or maybe I just said it [when I saw her], “Your hair. [Curly.]” I was very impressed.
T. moved her Benson & Hedges around and put on the tea kettle. The little curls wiggled. She told me everyone had switched to [curly hair/permanents]. Soft, not like in our mothers’ day.
I grabbed the arm of my mother’s helper. “Look at that.” I said. “My old friend T., from way back. We were young together. Now she has curly hair.”
The mother’s helper, who seemed to know about these things, inspected the curls. She told T. that she shouldn’t comb it so much. The curls would stay rounder, curlier. T was making them drag out by combing her hair.

(To be continued... The next bit is more about the mother's helper, of whom I have no memory, but I was only 7 years old.)

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