Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Hairdresser's Mistake

My dolls had, for many years, endured the many creative hairstyles I'd given them. Now it was on to real people. I was approximately 8 or 9 years old, and Gramma and I were enjoying the day from the front porch of the house where our family lived with my mother's mother . I was issued a verbal invitation to comb Gramma's hair, and I never turned that down. It was my first step toward my chosen future-career.

As Gramma sat with her hands in her lap, I gently removed the large,gray hairpins from her bun, allowing the soft, silky hair she had never cut to fall down her back. First I brushed the hair back, with long, even strokes. After a time of this, she requested that I use the comb and give it some pressure across her scalp. I did as I was asked, and then, after a while, decided that it was time to 'curl' Gramma's hair. It wasn't long before I realized that twisting the comb upward on locks which fell well below her shoulders was not a good idea. She could not tell as she sat what was happening, but I could see that I'd made a bad decision, and I worked to release the tangled comb. No amount of effort on my part was producing good results. Before long, Gramma sensed that something was not quite right. She felt behind her head, and realized that there was an implement wound up in her hair, and it was feeling to her hands like quite a mess.

We called in the aide of my mother and my aunt. Oh dear! I felt as if I was going to hear a good tongue lashing over this one. I don't know if I felt worse by then about what I thought would be my fate or over what I'd caused in the first place. One at a time they tried to remove the comb, and though they had some success in moving the item further from Gramma's scalp, they could not release it fully from the length of hair. Nothing was to be done, but to clip off the strand at the lowest point possible. I knew I was in trouble then! I felt awful as Gramma was close to tears and fretting as I'd never seen her do before.

After the deed was done, Gramma sat with the comb in her hands, pulling the wads of her hair out of it, she gently instructed me to never do that again. My mother gave me a scolding too, letting me know that I was to use the tools to only brush and comb, not to try curling. I thought that I'd never need to worry about it, as I feared I'd never again have the invitation to 'play' with Gramma's long hair.

However, I was wrong. With a soft reminder to not try to curl the hair, I was soon back in business. I learned to make a braid on Gram's head, and often at night I would brush it many times before I braided it for bed. When I was a little bit older, I was asked to wash her hair and put the bluing in it for her, so that the color would be more silvery than the dingy, yellowy-gray that she thought it was. From then on, it was my job to do, and I knew I'd been forgiven for my past mistake.


  1. What a sweet, sweet Grandma to allow you to work with her hair again after she had to part with some. I can only imagine how awful you must have felt about it.

    I am really enjoying your blog!


  2. Good Morning, nice of you to stop in again to visit~ Welcome, any time! :-)

  3. You were quite a hair dresser, were'nt you?
    I have done the same thing to my hair but not as bad as you did. My hair is done past my waist and I use a wide mouth comb to get tangles out.
    Then I brush it and use a rat tail comb to part it and smooth it out. You must have had a rat tail comb to get it so tangled. lol

    I use to have to brush my Mom's hair. Thick and curly. That was quite a job.

  4. This account was so sweet and my heart sank for you as you felt the sorrow of regret. I never knew my grandmothers and my great aunts all were farther away so we never got to see them much. Most of my aunts had short hair. But I do remember a time when my own hair had to be cut because of trying to do a hairstyle with things that did not work. I also remember the first time my mother-in-law insisted I cut my son’s hair with an electric shaver. I have seizures that make my hand twitch and tried to tell her this was not a good idea but she was relentless, so unfortunately I caved in and tried. Also unfortunately, I got the tip of my son’s ear, to this day he has a “v” notch off the top of one ear and he never allowed me close to cutting his hair again. The bad part was my mother-in-law seemed to take great joy in the mishap with a hardly laugh and retold the story repeatedly with the same hardly laugh. She also would chide me of her accomplishment of being able to use the instrument with ease. I am grateful your experience turned out better and grace was extended to you. For years I did cut my husband’s hair with scissors, but as the seizures grew worse, he had to start going to a barber.
    Mrs. J.