The other day I went through the misery of getting a permanent which is one of my least things I like to do. While I was sitting there with all the curlers in my hair I began to reflect back to the time I got my first permanent. Talk about being scared. One look at that awful looking machine I was going to be hooked up to was enough to scare the pud out of a little girl. One look made me wonder if I would survive such a thing. I had heard of people being executed in an electric chair. Was this one? I even thought, “I know Mama love me why did she bring me here?” I think I was there because I had pestered her so much wanting a permanent she finally saved enough money to get me one. I know I was a kid that never shut up about something.
My only experience of getting curls in my hair had been Miss Ellen, whom I dearly loved, would light her lamp, put the curling iron down inside the globe to heat, then curl my hair with it. Now I was facing this monster in order to have curls. The late Miss Flora Joyce gave me my first permanent. She was the town’s beauty operator. She was a rather stout built lady, very neat in dress. I don’t think anyone ever saw her without her makeup on. Her makeup was always flawlessly applied. Miss Flora was the bearer of all the news in Greenwood because for some unknown reason when a local visited her shop they spilled all their problems along with everything they knew about friends and neighbors. Therefore if it happened in Greenwood Miss Flora knew it. She also had a way of getting people to talk. It seemed to me it took hours for her to get the metal rollers in my hair. The smell of the solution used was awful, but oh, how proud I was that the smell would let people know I had been to the beauty shop. Of course my frizzy hair would have told them that. The things girls have used to make their hair curly.
When Connie was little I would roll her hair on toilet paper and strings of cloth. I think about it now how she cried because I used the toilet paper and I thought I was a good Mother. Later years I saw teenage girls come to town with their hair rolled on frozen juice cans.
Today one no longer goes to a beauty shop but a beauty salon with cosmetologist or beauticians who not only give permanents but do your nails and some even do facial massages. They can make your hair any color you want from blond to purple. No longer does it matter that only your hair dresser knows for sure the real color of your hair. Most beauty salons do only hair as more and more shops do only manicures and pedicures while others only do facials. There are lots of places one can get a facial or massage therapy. If one is in pain there is nothing like having a good massage. If I had the money I would have one at least once a week. There was a period of time that I had frequent spasms in my back which was very painful. There was no one like Greenwood’s own Gerald Ware that could find the tight muscles and work the knots out.
There was also a time when the late Gene Hocott had one of the only beauty shops in town. One almost had to wait until someone died to get an appointment. My, my I almost forgot the period of time when the Home Permanents was the going thing. Housewives would spend the day at a friend’s house to give one another a permanent. The late Demaris Hughart was really good at giving them.
I was never good at anything when it came to fixing hair. One time Demaris bought a henna pack from Miss Flora and she had me to use it on her hair. She wanted red hair, what she got was between red and wine. That was the first and last time she had me to do that. She ended up going to Miss Flora’s to have her FIX IT!! When one lets their mind wander to the years past it doesn’t take so long to get a permanent and there is no odor when you are finished nor do you have to face the “electric chair.”