Jan had me at the word hair.
I immediately emailed her to ask how she did it, and she sent me this link:
But a couple of months later, I talked it over with my stylist, Amanda. She offered some different scenarios for doing it, and I picked one.
I was motivated by two things: (1) the fact that I was spending too much of our monthly income maintaining the color and (2) the desire for greater authenticity. After all, I am no longer forty-ish or even fifty-ish. I am now sixty-ish, and fast approaching middle age!!! (Despite the claim to authenticity, I can't explain the reason I still wear eye makeup.)
Thankfully, Amanda is skilled at "blending" color (about three at once--one of which was chocolate), and though it was a long process (about fifteen months), it proved to be fairly painless.
In fact, people often stop to compliment me on my hair!
Now my tresses rarely give me stresses. That's largely because they're mostly maintenance-free, and "women my age" often envy me. I'm good with an occasional trim and thick, gray-ish, out-of-control curl. While I'm spending time writing my blog or out for a walk, some of my friends are out getting color and perms. The only downside seems to be that I don't have as much time now for long visits with Amanda.
And, so, on to the earlier story, or, actually, two stories:
And when I talked to my niece, Shannon, she said, "That Carl. . .I am so jealous! Just wait till you see what he got for you! You will be so surprised. I wish I'd thought to do this." Hmmm.
All my other daughter, Sarah., would say was . ."Carl is soooo thoughtful, Mom!"
When I finally met the young man who would become my son-in-law, he gave me . . .Ta-Da!!
One of These!!!!!
A Christmas Story
The year was 1962. That Christmas, the Christmas I was twelve years old, we traveled for one of the few times ever to spend the holiday with the Carriger side of the family. The trip to Grandma’s must have been uneventful, as I remember nothing about it.
What I do remember is being in Grandma’s kitchen on Christmas Eve, where Daddy and Grandpa, Uncle John and Uncle George were seated around the oilcloth-covered table. About three feet away, on the counter, sat several tall liquor bottles, and the men were laughing and talking. The talk and laughter grew steadily louder as the evening wore on.
“When are we going leave?” Penny and I asked Mother.
Mother sat in the living room with Grandma and the aunts—Eva and Hope. It had already grown dark, and we knew we wouldn’t open any presents till we got to Aunt Julia’s house.
That year, I wanted a hair dryer. Not just any hair dryer. Pam Matthews had a PINK G E HAIRDRYER (see above) that I’d coveted for quite some time. The fat, pink spiral had a hose coming out the side, with a puffy pink cap attached to the end. The dryer's pink plastic center was raised, with special slots for drying your nails, which you manicured in order to have something to do while your hair was drying--sort of a one-stop DIY beauty shop. It also came with its own round hard side carrying case—something Barbie might own. Secretly, I knew that if I possessed a hair dryer identical to this one, my hair would turn out like Pam’s too: a beautiful, high, perfectly rounded and shiny bouffant. With bangs! I would master the hair spray and teasing necessary to achieve this special do, if only I owned this hair dryer. Hadn’t I watched Pam do it every Saturday for months?
More than once, I had specified to Mother that this was what I wanted: a PINK G E HAIRDRYER. It would be my “big” present.
A few weeks before Christmas, while my parents were at work, I discovered my gift in the top of the closet. Only it wasn’t a PINK GE HAIRDRYER. “Westinghouse” was printed on one side of the oblong box. The dryer turned out to be rectangular and beige [a sort of vague, chocolaty-milk brown] built into the carrying case (see below)!
Mother was mad. Christmas, for me, was over.
I went back to the kitchen, and Daddy patted the chair next to him, asking me to sit down. I’d never seen him in such a mood—everything was funny. Silly, even. And, apart from the occasional beer on a hot day while he barbecued something on the patio, I’d never seen my dad drink.
I glanced over to see my seventeen-year-old brother, Mike, standing next to the kitchen counter, in front of the liquor bottles. Knowing that they wouldn’t let him drink if he asked, he reached around when no one was looking, and took an occasional swig of something and set the bottle back on the counter behind him. I watched as he followed this procedure a number of times.
In a little while, Uncle George left the table and went out to the car. It had begun to snow. I followed him to the door, and watched as he stepped back onto the front porch carrying a beautifully wrapped parcel, about three feet long.
“Where’s Hope?” he announced, coming through the doorway.
“Oh, George!? What’s this?!” Aunt Hope gushed from across the room.
We all wanted her to open it immediately. She tore through the wrapping and opened the box, pulling out a MINK STOLE!
“Oh, George! Now, Honey, you’ll have to take this back. You know we can’t afford something like this! Besides, where would I ever wear it?” she asked, laying the stole back in the box. Uncle George quickly pulled the stole out again, and, in an extravagant gesture, draped it around Aunt Hope’s shoulders. Eva Lou ooh-ed and ahh-ed, and Grandma smiled. Mother didn’t say a word.
(Later, when Penny and I asked why Aunt Hope didn’t want the mink stole, Mother said, “Aunt Hope wanted that stole. Don’t think for a minute she didn’t. Why, that was all a big act! She was eating it up!!” We also learned later that Uncle John locked Aunt Eva in the outhouse that night. She was NOT pleased.)
About that time, Mike ran into the living room and lay down on the floor, holding his stomach and rocking. Next thing we knew, he jumped up and ran outside, retching, while my parents stood at the door. Mother glared at Daddy.
We all knew the party was over.
Mother herded us into the car and we drove the thirty miles through the snow to Aunt Julia’s. Nobody talked. Nobody counted the bridges with me, like we always did going from Grandma’s to Aunt Julia’s. I watched for them, numbering them in my head, knowing that the turnoff to the farm would be right after number five.
When we arrived, Daddy and Mike went off to bed, and we girls stayed up, still looking for Christmas.
Meanwhile, Mother fumed. He knew better. Aunt Julia tried to calm her. Being angry was no good. Penny and I looked at each other and shrugged. We gazed at our presents, afraid to ask.
When Mother and Aunt Julia finally let us open our gifts, there wasn’t much joy in it, though Penny liked hers, a Chatty Cathy doll. Mine was a lost cause. No matter what, I didn’t dare show disappointment now, and excitement was impossible to come by. As far as Christmas emotions go, there wasn’t much to choose from.
The adults were up early the next morning, as usual. I missed it, but Mother always told us Daddy came to the table and Aunt Julia poured him a cup of coffee. Then she set a plate with two eggs, sunny side up, in front of him, and he took off out the back door, barefoot, and circled the house a couple of times in the snow!
Whenever Mother told this story, Daddy always chuckled and looked at the floor. Then he’d look into her eyes, showing how much he needed her approval. It was always that way.
There were other memorable Christmases. Lots of them. Like the Christmas Grandma Alice got the big mystery present with the life-size picture of Santa Claus on the wrapping paper--a new winter coat. Or the year I came down with the chicken pox on Christmas Eve. Penny, Cathy and I were all lined up to get our hair washed at Aunt Jean’s kitchen sink. I claimed I didn’t feel well, and Mother thought I just didn’t want to have my hair washed. When I awakened the next morning with proof—pock marks all over my belly—she acted awe-struck that I’d known what I was talking about. And there was the Christmas Eve when all of us were at Aunt Lou’s. Aunt Lou had everyone sit down, and announced that this year we would open our presents one at a time. That lasted through the first present, maybe. She was the only one in the family who saved and re-used wrapping paper.
But when I think back to the Christmases of the past, it’s the “ruined” one that I remember most clearly. It reminds me a little of the Thanksgiving when Sarah, Andrew and I ended up having Thanksgiving Dinner at Denny’s, though maybe it wasn't as tragic. At the time, we said it was a pretty bad Thanksgiving, though we knew we would never forget it. And Drew stated that I still owed him a turkey dinner. (But that’s another story.)
As for the hair dryer, it worked out, I guess. But I never achieved Pam’s perfectly rounded, shiny bouffant. Or bangs! C’mon. You know what my hair’s like.