Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Hair-raising Tale

Originally published March 7, 1985
The Village Times
Serving Three Villages, East Setauket, NY

One of the gratifying things about having nearly grown children is that their daily showers are on their agendas, not mine.

Lassoing one or the other for a bath and a shampoo and pleading for clean jeans and a sweater not stiff with vintage jelly are now just memories.

But, I keep forgetting nature abhors a vacuum. Now that I have real clean kids, there are new things to plague me.

I never really resent children borrowing things and not returning them. I know life is full of more important things to do. What I do resent is borrowing unborrowable things. Things that get used up and are gone forever.

Like shampoo.

Last night, I washed my hair in Woolite. It made me very cross....and frizzy.

I started to have a temper tantrum and then I reminded myself of my teen years....and my mother's tribulations.

At that age I only washed my hair when it was congealed. In pre-hair spray and mousse days everyone knew you couldn't do anything with clean hair. We probably never ran out of shampoo.

What did obsess me, however, were combs. I was forever combing my hair....probably because it was so dirty it kept parting on my ear, and I certainly wouldn't allow anyone to see my ear. It stuck out. The other one did, too.

It upset my mother that there was never a comb in the house. When I lost mine, naturally, I "borrowed" hers. Once she bought me a package containing a dozen combs. It may have lasted a week.

One night I came home from cheering practice and found my mother sitting in the kitchen with a rather tight-lipped expression. "Where is my comb?" she wanted to know. "Why do you ask? I hedged.

"Because I had an appointment in Manhattan today and, since I had to take the train, I thought it would be nice to comb my hair."

Well, it turned out she couldn't...... because I had taken the last comb. 

Unable to find so much as a hairbrush in the house, my mother finally combed her hair with a fork and boarded the train.

I guess I don't have it so tough. If I run out of Woolite, there's always lemon-fresh Joy.



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