Thursday, August 14, 2008

beauty school dropout

during the late 1940s my mother was a hair model! I discovered this a few years ago when I snagged a bunch of old documents that were destined for the incinerator. my grandmother's home and all of her possessions were being 'disposed of'. in the cache of stuff that I 'saved' was a bundle of newspaper clippings with photos of my mom as a model at a couple different hair style shows. do they still do these things? according to these newspaper accounts these hair shows were quite the community affair. hundreds of people attended - and not just people in the hair business, but regular folks looking for a night out and a good time.

each hairdo is given a name. in the picture above, my mother - the lovely rita - has a do called 'torrid escape.' supposedly this hairdo represents 'summer,' it is described as a "smart updo.. a lure in the warm summer season for the young miss who prefers to keep her hair a longer length yet wants at the same time to look cool, trim, and chic all day and evening. "

perhaps attention to hair skips a generation. I never really spent much time or attention on my hair. my ideal is have a cut where I don't have to do much other than wash it and blow it dry (if that). however, my daughter e has always been attentive to her hair and quite adventurous when it comes to hair dos and hair color. fortunately for e, she did not inherit my extremely thin and fine hair.

overall, e's experiments turn out - even when they entail a color not found in nature, such as in the photo above. this picture was taken the first time e dyed her hair. at the time she was in the eighth grade, she dyed it while I was out of town visiting my grandmother. I came home to see my blond child now clearly a young woman but now with firehouse red hair. I was a bit shocked - then I learned that e's dad, my quite conservative when it comes to the world of fashion life partner, actually helped her dye her hair - my shock doubled. but what a great dad is that! we were pretty open-minded when it came to e's hair, after all it's only hair and it grows and if something really goes awry there's always the option to cut it all off! so what if one's hair is red, blue, pink, purple....who cares? yes e had all those colors at one time or another. I have heard that there are some school systems around that prohibit kids from coming to school with hair of different colors - I find such bans just plain wrong. well e had all sorts of color hair and a variety of 'different' cuts and styles and she did very well in school, thank you very much!

I'm not quite sure exactly what year the photo above was taken. there was very lengthy period when I wore my hair short. what makes the photo hard to date was e was always experimenting with color. during her last couple years in high school and her first couple years in college she was quite fond of black hair. it's been about seven years since I've worn my hair this short. now, I admit I'm too cheap to stay with a cut this short (like gas prices the price of a good woman's hair cut has gone up!). but I still fantasize about going back to a real short hair do....

I don't know many folks who are satisfied with their hair - people with curly hair seem to want straight hair, folks with straight hair want curly hair. as I mentioned above my hair is thin an fine and fairly straight. when I was a kid my mother was frustrated over my hair and I think she tried to relive some of those glory days on the hair styling circuit. in my treasure box of old pictures I found this photo of me at 7, taken in front of our house in memphis. I don't know about the hair, but I do remember I really loved that dress it was really fun to spin in!


given my approach to hair, I expect I would be a beauty school drop-out, so it's a really good thing I didn't head off on that trajectory....

29 comments:

Megan said...

Unbelievably cool.

Bob Dylan said...

Torrid Escape... your mom is a fascinating mysterious person. Tel her hello from me.

edward said...

Just like the newspaper says, your mom has an inner light and she passed that along to you and e.

xxxooo from the other e.

phd girl said...

Great Hair Post! You've outdone yourself! Your mom does look all madonna -lily like

e's hair looks like red licorice color.

tut-tut said...

What a great post, and so inclusive with all your family. e looks as lovely as your mother and you. Beautiful!
I have always yearned for curly hair. Their was an ethereally pretty girl in high school who had the greatest curly hair; it was in little corkscrews. To die for.

Steve said...

I love "Torrid Escape"!! What a terrific discovery. Thanks goodness you saved all that stuff rather than seeing it thrown away.

I completely agree about colored hair. I don't know why educators get in such a snit when students show up with blue hair. What difference does it make? (I wonder if that happens so much now - maybe they're more flexible than they used to be.)

"Beauty School Dropout" is one of the high points of the Grease soundtrack. :)

bitchlet said...

I love the red. It just looks so beautiful. The story about your mum is so fascinating. Sometimes our parents can be cool too!

ha ha

btw, my school prohibited even hair streaking in a normal copper brown even. They suspended a girl and asked her to come back when her hair was black. Obviously she had to dye it, which kind of loses its point anyway.

I want to do a red but i don't know how it would look.

lettuce said...

excellent post kim! those pics of your mum are so great.

One of my school friends used to be a model for her hairdresser - she came to school in all sorts of sharp styles - blue black wedge with red bits etc. it all seemed so glamorous.

LG's school is thankfully quite relaxed about hair (v. strict on everything else).Its cool to be hair-dye parents

(so long as you allergy test first :o/)


E looks so fab in the red!

Squirrel said...

i have to somehow link this wonderful post to a blog post -- salons of nyack maybe next week.

Len said...

I'm fascinated--well, by the whole post, but most of all by the name of the young lady who isn't your mother in the first clipping, Nicholene Imbriac. It sounds like the name of a character in an SJ Perelman story. In fact, I'd love to name a cat or a character in a story Nicholene Imbriac. Names just don't get any better than that.

Don said...

Tell us more. Is Rita's House of Hair Fashion in the newpaper clip your mom's shop? Was she a model ... and a businesswoman?

K. said...

Wow! Your mom was quite glamorous!

I swore that I would never get in a fight with my kids over hair, and I kept that promise. My oldest had thick, wiry hair, and growing up he liked to experiment with it. So, we had different colors, rat tails, basketball jersey numbers, buzz cut, long, mohawks -- you name it, he tried it out. He had fun with it, so what was the harm?

Bob Dylan said...

That snapshot of you at age 7. Looking at it I imagine you tolerated someone "fixing" your hair for you.

Salty Miss Jill said...

Great post! :)
Again, with your incredibly cool family. I love your blog.

PS: If my hair had a name, it would be 'Cattywhumpus Brooks'.

lettuce said...

have a GREAT timewith ched, i know you will

:o)

xx

jenclair said...

Great photos! I like your mom's outfit in the second one - love those slacks. Very glamorous all around!

My hair was very short for years and years, but it grows so fast, and I hated going to get it cut. No worries now... No cutting, no blowing dry, just wash, braid while wet, and go.

alicesg said...

Nice to keep those old newspaper clippings. Your mom looked great and beautiful. I am never satisfied with my hairstyle been having the same hairstyles for years...lol.

Mouse said...

The saddest thing I overheard recently was a conversation between an aunt and her adolescent as they checked in fro a flight to Italy at Bristol airport
"I've forgotten the hair straighteners"
"Oh no! I can't last two weeks in Tuscany without hair straighteners!"

mouse (aka kimy) said...

glad folks enjoyed the hairy post....it was great fun putting it together....hope my mom has had a chance to see it!

f and I are having a GREAT time right now in the big apple. yesterday we met up with ched and her main squeeze and had a most loverly time together in the afternoon. albeit it brief the time was sweet. in the evening steve was free - YEAH and we had a great dinner together in brooklyn and for dessert we all took in a great little used bookstore.... expect details will come when I return to blogging apres vacation.

have fun and thanks everyone for the comments.

eddy - aw you are the absolute sweetest kitten!!! thanks so much

tut - I made the mistake of trying perms a few times during my life....always lusted after those lovely corkscrew curls....

squirrel - if you find a salon in nyack that has pedicures done by fish, set up an appointment for us for when I come out next month!!!

don - no my mother didn't have a hair salon but another rita did...rita apparently was a popular name when my mother was a young un.... almost like the emily of today!! almost.

len - you are right about that name. I think you should use it in a story!!

steve - great seeing you last night!!! thanks for being free and coming out to play!

lettuce - you were very much missed yesterday and came up often in conversation. hope you are having a great holiday too!

b- your hair is beautiful. I hope you will feel able to play with red!

k - glad you took a sensible response to your sons hair play. yes, no harm at all!!!

jen - I love your braid. although I'd love to go that route as it seems the best in terms of simplicity, when one's hair is super fine (baby fine) like mine with not much of it to go that route would only give me a little mouse tail....but wait maybe that would be okay.....

alicesg - that shot do of mine in the photo with the short hair - I had that cut for at least fourteen years!!! I think now I'll go for that mousetail....

mouse - hey, haven't seen you in a while on this mouse! thanks for dropping in....hope all is going well with the big transition!

hugs all..........

d. chedwick said...

Your mom is and was.. beautiful! I'm so glad you found these newspapers!

intact said...

Love! This! Post!

Anonymous said...

your mom may have been a beauty school dropout but she was no dropout when it came to beauty.

eth said...

Just got back into town. Love this post - how much of ourselves is tied up in our hair! I had waist length hair until I was in my early 20's then I chopped it all off. Now I grow it out then chop it off fairly regularly. I've now had short hair less than a year and I'm thinking about growing it out again! One could have fun with the psychology of hair! Very fun to see the pics of 3 generations. Hope to connect with you and yours face to face soon.

dennis said...

Dennis would love to meet your mom. She has PIZZAZZ.

TheElementary said...

How wonderful to have those newspaper cuttings. That's magical. And I like the photo of you at seven!
I quite like how my hair is- meaning, I wouldn't change it and I don't invest much time in worrying about what's not right about it. I wear it straight and while sometimes I'd like a change, I don't wish I had a fundamentally different kind of hair.
I thought this was very interesting. Hair is a subject that one could go on for hours about.

The Liberator said...

I wonder what kind of car your mom drove back then? Something stylish, no doubt to go out to places like the Copa Cabana or whatever the equivalent was in her town.

d. chedwick said...

I think she hung out at Gennetti's Ballroom. I bet she was a graceful ballroom dancer too!

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Our history in hair is always fascinating. We put such emphasis on it even though it's just dead tissue. One family heirloom that I opted to let my sister keep is a box framed collection of "hair art" from the head of my great grandmother and her sister. I always thought it was very creepy, but my sister loves it. Perhaps I should start some nail clipping art for my heirs.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

it's just kinda fun to discover that our parents were young once - something I find it easier to believe now I am old, but as a younster, impossible.