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Pride feels no pain

A story by Beryl Bowden

Lyndell was six and Anne four when Tony was born. Both girls wore their hair in the fashionable ponytail. Lyndell was blonde and Anne brunette. We called them Snow White and Rose Red after characters in a Little Golden Book of theirs. Every week I had the task of washing their hair and brushing the knots out. It was not a happy time for any of us.

Anne and Lyndell

Anne and Lyndell post ponytails. ‘Not happy Jan’.

With a new baby imminent I felt I could do without this regular Saturday morning hassle so thought it would be easier all round if I had their hair cut. They didn’t look too happy when I told them what I planned but they didn’t make a fuss so I assumed that it was all right by them. I didn’t know just how upset they really were. Years later they told me how much they had loved their ponytails and how near tears they had been when the hairdresser was cutting them off. I should have known; they grew them again straight away.

The crew- cut was tailor – made for Tony. His hair was dead straight and showed every cut of the scissors. When it was time for him to have it cut I would ask the barber, Frank O’Keefe, to keep it short. One morning as Tony was leaving for school I reminded him to go to the barber for a hair cut that afternoon. He said plaintively ‘Gee Mum, do I have to go to Mister Frank? He balds me’!! In his teenage years Tony gladly embraced the fashion of wearing his hair down to his shoulders…with our reluctant permission and the proviso ‘that it must be kept clean! ‘

It wasn’t the length of her hair that was worrying sixteen-year-old Lyndell but the colour. She was a natural blonde, so when she asked my permission for her friend Cheryl to lighten the colour a bit I agreed; but was not aware that the lightening agent was to be peroxide! I was attending a meeting when the transformation took place. When I arrived home there was no sign of Cheryl and Lyndell had her hair wrapped in a towel. ‘How did it go?’ I asked. ‘I think it took a bit more than we thought it would’ she answered haltingly. ‘Take the towel off and let me see,’ I asked.

Lyndell's pompadour

Lyndell sporting her pompadour

They must have used the whole bottle of peroxide, for she looked as though she was wearing a wig made of cotton wool. No wonder Cheryl had made herself scarce! Fortunately, the popular hairstyle at the time was called a pompadour. With her long, now  very blonde hair, piled on top of her head, Lyndell really did look very much like the famous lady for whom the style was named!!

My mother had curly hair. Only one daughter in five inherited it. It was a chore to have to set our hair in curlers every night; dashed uncomfortable for sleeping too!

When we complained, Mum would say “Pride feels no pain!!”

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One Comment on “Pride feels no pain”

  1. Pauline Ibbetson December 16, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Oh Beryl, what a lovely story – I think we ‘girls’ can all relate to hair mistakes at sometime in our lives. When I had my beautiful blonde ponytail cut off in 1960, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed for hours. My hair growth changed colour and was never (naturally) blonde again and I found it hard to ever grow it long again, probably because the bouffant, and huge rollers came in.
    My youngest son the other hand, in his teenage years, use to dye his lovely curls regularly, all the colours imaginable and whenever he got fed up with it he just got me to give him a ‘No.2’ and he was back to normal – until the next time – all part of life’s rich pattern!

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