Saturday, April 2, 2011
(B) The Beauty Shop
My mother was never one to spend money on herself. With nine kids and a two bedroom house, there was never any extras to use for trivial indulgence. She wore little makeup, never yearned for fancy jewelry, and rarely bought new clothes. But, every so often, Mom would splurge on herself and go to the beauty shop.
Beauty shops were always dark little rooms with faded fashion posters, outdated magazines, and the heady smell of permanent solution. The floor was always linoleum tiles and the walls were cheap paneling. Somewhere there was a bouquet of artificial flowers or a plastic plant- and bits of hair always clung to the corners even after a good sweeping.
Sweet smelling shampoo, cream conditioner, and a can of hairspray later- a woman could be transformed for a few dollars. Back then it was a real treat to have someone else wash your hair, style you pretty, and make you walk out feeling like Miss America.
A lady from the church always did Mom's hair. Mrs.Tucker had a shop in her basement and we would play outside while Mom got "the works". She had a brick house so we thought she was rich- and a swing, which we thought was cool. And even though Mom emerged from that basement not really looking like "Mom", we admired Mrs. Tucker's ability to wield scissors and a comb.
The first thing Mom did when she got back from the beauty shop was to comb down her "doo" a bit and complain that it was too stiff, poofy short, long, curly or too straight. But she always went back again the next time and told Mrs. Tucker how much she loved it.
I'm not sure that they really call them "beauty shops" anymore. Even "hair dresser" sounds old-fashioned and a bit torturous. Maybe "stylist" might be the most appropriate modern word.
But I'll never forget the basement beauty shop- it's array of plastic capes and pink rollers and giant dome hair dyers in a minty shade of green.
I'll never forget how Mom always took a dollar out of her pocket book and tipped Mrs. Tucker with a smile -and we acted as though Mom had just left her a hundred bucks.
That would have bought ten snow cones!!
My Mom was beautiful even when the poof, the spray, and the shine had all gone out of her hairdo.
And that's the way I fondly remember her the most...
Posted by Rae Frazier