On August 13, my friend Kathie from ChosenPerspectives wrote a post about her hair. (Kathie was responding to a post by Marilyn Armstrong from Serendipity.) I related to many of Kathie’s experiences and decided it would be fun to take a look at the 68 year journey I have had with my own hair. It has been fascinating to pour through all of my old photograph albums.
My hair in its natural state may have a touch of wave but is mainly straight. You can see that in these early photos of me.
In those days, though, curls were in fashion. Even though I have no memory of it, I believe that at bedtime my mother rolled small clusters of my hair into loops and pinned them to my head using bobby pins. The result- curly hair!
(Click on the gallery to enlarge the photos.)
At some point, my mother started giving me perms. The hairdo below looks like it could have been during that time but it is hard to say.
My hair has always been very thick. My mother thinned it out a lot when I was young. I have always wondered if all the thinning caused it to become even thicker. Probably not. Later in my life a beautician told me I had enough hair for 10 heads… or was it 20…. I don’t remember for sure.
Eventually, my mother started using rollers like these on my hair. It is even possible those rollers were the curling method used to create my curls in some of the photos above.
Photo credit: Wikimedia
Then came the big rollers. Can you believe we slept on these?
Photo Credit: Fifties Web
These pictures were taken when I was 12-17. I imagine I was using both perms and the big rollers in those days. I cringe when I look at a lot of the photos from this period.
I remember a particular beauty parlor appointment during my teenage years. The beautician was excited by how thick my hair was so she teased it, making puff way out. When I got home I combed out all of the teasing. My mother was furious since I had completely wasted the money that she had spent on having my hair done.
There was no picture of my hair after it was teased but I found a YouTube video that shows the process at high speed! I found it fascinating to watch. (I turned off the music; wasn’t in the mood for that part of it!)
My hair was medium length when I left for college.
I found two photos from my first two years of college. As I looked at them I was struck by how thin I was back then. It seemed even more strange since I remember being ridiculed during high school about my large hips and my protruding stomach. In high school someone actually thought I was pregnant.
I started letting my hair grow long as my hippie days began. The picture below is from 1970, the summer I spent doing migrant farm labor across the country. (To learn more about that experience click here.)
On my wedding day in 1971 (22 years) my hair was even longer.
It was still long when Sreejit (1974) and Chaitanya (1977) were born.
There was a time right before my husband and I separated in 1978 when I knew he preferred my hair to be long and my mother vehemently wanted me to cut it off. In those days, I was very angry with both of them and I didn’t want to do anything that would please either one of them. What a double bind that was! I decided to please myself and kept it long.
Around 1984, I finally cut it. That phase lasted for ten years or so.
I started growing it out again in the mid 90’s.
My hair has always had many colors in it. It was mostly blondish but there were also brown, gray and even occasional reddish strands. A beautician once suggested I highlight my hair. I could see no reason for doing that. As far as I was concerned, I had “natural” highlights.
At some point, maybe around 1998 (50 years of age), I cut my hair short once again. During the years that followed, the beautician seemed to cut it shorter every time I went to see her. This photo of me with a friend’s newborn is the only photo I have from that time period.
Somewhere around 2006 (58 years), I began longing to have my hair long again, but I told myself old people don’t wear their hair long. I was also concerned that having it long would accentuate the fact that my face was beginning to sag.
After several years of holding that attitude, it became clear to me that my face was going to look saggy regardless of my hair length so I decided it was time to once again make a decision based solely on what I wanted to do with my hair… so I let it grow.
In my early sixties, a young man walked up to me in a parking lot, said “Thank you SO much for not dying your hair,” and then walked away. It was such a surprise. I had never seen him before, or since. It was a fun experience and validated my long held belief that I shouldn’t use dyes or any other product, other than shampoo, on my hair.
I love this photo a friend took of me six or seven years ago.
And here is one with my blogging friend Cheryl-Lynn from Quebec.
And last but not least one, that was taken a few weeks ago!
While my hair has never been as long as it was in the 70’s, I still keep it at a length that I consider long. I don’t plan to change that until I am too old to take care of it. Of course, I could make a different decision at any time.
I imagine those of you reading this post have hair stories of your own. Consider sharing them in the comments section.