Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hairy Stories

Another jaunt into the photo archives. I seem to not have much to say lately or maybe it's that I'm currently under such a big deadline at work that I don't have time to form coherent thoughts other than "Did I edit that page?" and "How many ways can you say paper or newspaper in three pages of text?" to "What's the code for an en dash again?"

This was yet another photo that made me smile. I'm so grateful that Rus took the time to scan all these photos last winter or my midnight cacklings would be few and far between this summer. Each photo seems to elicit more memories and stories and just pure delight at "the good old days" as the tint on my glasses turns rosier and rosier with each viewing.

We are standing in front of the fireplace in Grandmother and Granddad's front room on 1510 Conant Avenue. You can plainly see it is the eighties by the clothing--Dad's tie and Mom's bow. I'm guessing Mom is about 31 years old in this photo and Dad is about 34 (gasp! Really? Six kids and early thirties? What happened to my life? I still feel that I'm barely out of puberty.) That would make Ric 10, Rus 9, Adam 7, me 6, Matt 4, and Meggie--well, she was the baby. A cute one too with all this blonde, curly hair and chubby cheeks.

In fact, I was curling that blonde hair when she was about two or three years old with a very hot curling iron and I distinctly remember telling her to "hold very still" when I was curling a spot close to her scalp and she didn't listen (those two years olds!) and she turned her head and that curling iron burned a long stripe across one of her sweet baby cheeks. I think I was scarred forever by the experience--I'm just glad she wasn't. I remember the adults saying things like "You have to be more careful" and "She's just a baby!" and "You could have really hurt her." (which didn't give me a complex at all) and I'm thinking "Then why did you let a 7 year old curl a 2 year old's hair?" (See that? Neat little trick where I lay the blame directly at someone else's feet rather than my own--it assuages the guilt.)

Another thing about this photo that sent me down memory lane was my hair--the side curls, the red ribbon and "The Spider" which was parlance in my young life for the hair experience that I endured rather often where my mom would pull my hair up into a high ponytail and then divide it into six or eight sections and then she would dampen and curl each section around her finger into a big fat sausage curl and bobby pin it to my head with an unholy strength that made each bobby pin dig a deep trench into my scalp. I would wear The Spider for a day or two and the next day she would pull it out and my hair would have these springy bouncy curls or she would brush it out in to soft waves. I always liked the next day after The Spider. I felt pretty. It was the only reason I would endure the terror of the bobby pin torture that I succumbed to with each installment of The Spider on my head.

A better shot of The Spider along with a more relaxed shot of the family. Dad was behind the camera on this one.

The Spider was only inducted on high and holy days such as Sunday, picture day at school, Christmas, family pictures, a visit from cousins or grandparents who lived far away, or a trek out to Elba and Grape Creek and a visit with the second cousins at Nana's birthday party at the old rock church. Yes, just every major photo event in my life.

Which explains why nearly every photo I see of myself during this time period, my hair is piled high atop my head and I have a particular twinge around my eyes that reminds me of the bobby pin headaches that always accompanied the induction of The Spider. What sweet relief was experienced when that first bobby pin was taken out the following day. And then the next bobby pin and then the next and then the next. And then the heavy hair was freed from the tight ponytail and floated around my shoulders in a cascade of rippling curls. I tell you, I could have done a Head and Shoulders shampoo commercial each time my hair came out because I would sit and flip it for hours and shake my head and feel gorgeous and powerful and invincible with my tresses of undulating beauty.

That effect lasted until I climbed the feed pile in the grainery, squirmed through yet another fort my brother's built in the haystack or crawled army style under the fence to the Jensen's pasture to see if we could get a rise out of the bull who grazed there. Yes, it was a fleeting moment of grace and beauty in my life and I owe it all to a mother's infinite time, patience, motivation and insistence.

Thanks, Mom. I owe you one--yet again.


L & H & Q & E said...

Even though I (obviously) don't have any associations with this photo, it's interesting to see people I know now, then.

But the best part of this photo for me -- by far -- is the naked lady (shall I even dare call it a BUST!?) on top of the bookshelf. Now *that's* a touch of class! :)

Eden said...

I wondered if anyone would notice her. I spent my entire childhood looking at her and her fruit-filled head. She never seemed strange until I hit adulthood and I wondered "Why was she even there?" I still don't have a good answer but maybe Uncle Ward or Aunt Mary Jane know.

Whatever the reason, she certainly provides an interesting tidbit to the photo. Maybe I should have blogged about her.

Mary Jane said...

Aunt Sissy sculpted her in one of her college art classes. Why Grandmother filled her head with fruit and flowers, I'm not sure. She should have just put that wig on her that was in the dress up clothes! ha ha

Cissy said...

Matt says he and Scott used to be so embarrassed by that bust.

Loving the old pictures and memories, Eden.

Elisa said...

What great pictures! I've been putting some old ones in of Matt and I and they are just a crack up!

Eden said...

Aunt MJ--Thanks for the explanation. Funny how you something can be a part of your life and you have no idea where it came from. Yet, it certainly was a classic part of Grandmother's house growing up.

Cissy--So funny to hear Matt's thoughts on it too!

Elisa--Well, I want to see the photos. I looked on your blog but couldn't find any recent posts of old photos. Though I did see a lot of your cute girls. Both of them are growing so much. Also, I really want to hear more about this century bike ride that you are doing in August. That sounds like a big event.

The Ashtons said...

That is so funny...I was just going to ask you to tell all about the flower-head bust, too! I love seeing these pictures so much, Eden. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Eric and Rozanne said...

I too love the blasts from the past. These are how I remember your family. Funny stories too...I remember your hair always looking so pretty. I love the spider. Didn't even notice the bust... :) I must admit that I kind of liked your mom's expression in the second one because she is a person that always seems to organized and composed. She looked slightly flustered and not quite perfect. It's good to know she had those days too.

Megan said...

I don't remember any kind of curling iron incident, thankfully. Mom's hair in the second photo is cracking me up. . .was there a wig involved there?


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