I had curly hair from birth until I turned three, and then one fine New England morning I woke up with pin-straight hair, or so I was told. I didn’t think much about this until some years ago when I was looking at family photos, and sure enough pictures of me before and after age three supported the claim.
The curly-to-straight phenomena really impressed my mother who said that she had never seen such a thing. Her reaction made quite an impression on me, her ninth born. I figured by the time I came around that she had already seen all there was to see — an idea reinforced regularly with one of her favorite saying — “Now I’ve seen everything!”
Given that she was a level headed woman who took most things in stride, the fact that she was impressed by anything at all (especially by a spontaneous straightening), caused me to believe that it was indeed a fantastic, if not cosmic occurrence. In any event I was thereafter perfectly happy with my straight hair.
When my younger sisters were six and four they went through a banana curls phase. This was my mother’s idea. The technique required planning, set-up, and maintenance. They used those soft, pink rollers on long damp hair wrapped from the ends, with the rollers left dangling over the shoulders. If they turned their heads from left to right really fast, the centrifugal force caused the rollers to swing out straight. For some reason this severely cracked us up.
My sisters slept in the soft rollers, and the next morning they would rush to take them out! Then my mother and I would oooooh and aaaaaw over the long slinky-like curls. It was a cute and perfectly girly ritual at our house. However, I was just a spectator and enjoyed it from the sidelines. I was eight at the time and still happy with my cosmically straight hair.
When I was thirteen and still somewhat innocent, I used to babysit for little Augie. His mom was single. I minded Augie while his mom went out on dates. And when she returned she would tell me of her adventures — all the revealing details! Augie’s mom used to drink and drive, insisting that alcohol made her feel more alert and therefore a better driver — but that’s another story. Before Augie’s mom went out on a date, she would brush her long hair over the ironing board and then, using a regular clothes iron, she’d press it pin-straight. I thought that was the coolest thing ever, so I tried it, but ended up steam-burning my cheek. Suffice it to say, Augie’s mom was not exactly the best role model. Anyway . . .
For me, straight hair was THE hair to have, and I wasn’t interested in curls — with one exception. It was when I dated a hairdresser and I experimented with edgy cuts, colors and perms. It was fun but short-lived, and I soon went back to the straight look — until recently.
A week ago I woke up and my straight hair had erupted, over night, into big, soft, spontaneous curls! And I do mean, the kind that spring when I walk. The kind that you can practically hear going . . . boing . . . boing . . . boing!
So, I called my mother the other day and told her, and sure enough, she was duly impressed, so much so, that I’ve decided to not only keep the curls, but to embraced them.