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Beauty shops were always dark little rooms with faded fashion posters, outdated magazines, and the heady smell of permanent solution.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...

28 comments:

mybabyjohn said...

Beautiful post, wonderful memories. I can still smell my moms face powder and hear the swish of her dress as she got ready to go out visiting in the evening. Not a lot to go around in those days but it was important to put on your face and dress up.

Tea said...

Too true, what was the deal with going home combing it all out? Then, crying because it didn't look right. Did it ever look right?

Seams Inspired said...

You transported right back to the beauty shop I remember my friend's Mom had in her basement! Thanks for the lovely 'B' post.

Visiting from the A to Z challenge. Happy Saturday! :o)

Jan Morrison said...

I like this post! Your writing is clear and evocative - great job.
Jan Morrison : click here.

Manzanita said...

I love memory lane posts. This is a real retro. Love it.
Manzanita
Wanna buy a duck

baygirl32 said...

love this post! memories are priceless

Name: Luana Krause said...

I remember those old salons...my mom would go once in a while, but not very often. There was always an aunt or a cousin that "did" hair. My grandmother (when she was in her 50s) went to cosmetology school to get certified and opened her own shop in her garage: Sybil's Salon. That was back in the 1980s.

the writing pad said...

Lovely post, very evocative, great to read such fond memories.
Thanks for that :-)
All best
Karla

Dafeenah said...

I use to get my hair cut in one of those basement beauty shops. A friend of my grandmother's had one. I use to feel so grown up sitting on two yellow page books with that big black cape draped over me.

Dafeenah

Margaret Hall said...

Ohhh, you sure brought back the memories..Nothin' worse that the torture under one of those helmet bullets...lol...And, you were right on target with combing out the the "do"~!! Cool memories, cool posting, Rae...Onward and upward!!

Ella said...

Beautiful; YOU took me back to my childhood. My Mom always did her hair. Our neighbor was a hairdresser and asked my Mom to do her hair. Mom agreed, it was going to be a swap.
My Mom got the raw end of the deal. Her hair looked awful. I remember her coming home and running upstairs hollering. She fixed it and all was good. My Mom should of been a hairdresser, not the neighbor next door.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful memories . . . unfortunately I have a tendency to be allergic to beauty shops, but I still enjoyed your post. Just don't let anyone I don't know touch my hair! It's frizzy, and has taken me years to love it just the way it is. I was chased down by an anti-frizz salesman at the mall once, and I kept telling me No, no, and running in terror.

Tyrean Martinson said...

oops - kept telling HIM, not me.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

A blast from the past! Loved it.

sisterlinda said...

I remember those times well.Also she use to go to Mrs. Dawson's place which was in her home....did she go because she was tired of the poof Mrs.Tucker gave her? LOL

It really must have been a treat for Mom to get her hair done. I know that I enjoy the "beauty shop" and feel so much better with a new do!

Thanks for bringing me back to those childhood memories that are snuggly deep inside.

thelmaz said...

Delightful B blog. Thelma Z at www.widowsphere.blogspot.com
Signing up to follow yours

Jeanne said...

Love this, and I remember these types of beauty shops. I still comb down the poof every time and complain but always go back. Made me reminisce. Thanks for a great read. See you tomorrow.

Tracy said...

Rae,
that was really sweet!
happy A to Z blogging :)

Cathy said...

Beautiful post, Rae. My mom went to a beauty shop on main street in our little town...Pinky Lee's. I'll never forget the smell of the permanent solution in the air! Thanks for the memories!
Cathy

Kelly M. Olsen said...

You have beautiful writing. You were able to transport me back to similar memories of my childhood making the most of my senses. Great post.

Michelle in a shell said...

Holy moly, 1 of 9? That's incredible! As is this post... a lovely trip back into nostalgia :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

I remember my grandma going to get her "hair set"...she got that blue tinted wash and everything.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Mary Vaughn said...

So lovely. I'm glad I didn't read it until Sunday morning as it brought so many thoughts back. Thank you.


GigglesandGuns

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A beautician friend of my mom's used to do my perms as a teen, and she had a basement, too.

Kari Marie said...

I loved this. Perfect B post.

Duncan D. Horne said...

Good to reminisce about the past!

Duncan In Kuantan

Renae said...

What a beautiful post and a great use of B!

Ellie said...

Beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Ellie Garratt