Back in the 1950s all the mothers of little girls thought that their daughters had to have curly...preferably naturally curly...hair. I just don't understand that. My straight hair was easy to care for - just comb, pull back into a pony-tail and go. But I wasn't in charge of my hair back then between the ages of 2 - 11. My older sister was blessed with naturally curly hair. She was the lucky one. But, Mum always wanted to keep things even so she had a routine with her daughters.
Every Saturday night was bath and hair-wash night...this was the 50s remember. Although not primitive (we did have running water and a working bathroom) Mum's country raising only allowed baths on Wednesday and Saturday and one hair-wash a week. I can remember sitting for what seemed like hours on Saturday night while she twisted my entire head of hair into little pin curls, fastened to my scalp with an 'x' of bobby pins. My sister didn't have to sit as long as me. Mum just finger waved her hair and set it with wave clamps and maybe a few curls around the ends. Then we were sent to bed with our damp curled hair wrapped in a kerchief.
On Sunday morning our hair was combed out - Wendy's always looked sleek and lovely and waved. Mine looked curly for an hour or two. But then Mum discovered TONI! The new revolution in hair dressing. Home permanents easy enough for a mother to torture her daughters with...Oh the smell!!! and the fear of being blinded by the solution accidentally getting in my eyes!!! I can't remember if she ever gave Wendy one, but I had several over the years...the first when I was a little sprout of 6.
I love this picture - I loved that dress - yellow with white swiss dots and a blue velvet ribbon belt. I wish I had still had it for my girls.
Anyway, when Mum perfected her perm skills on me she started doing them for friends and neighbours. Our house often smelled of the distinctive perm solution. I remember in grade 4 when she did one of my friends' hair. Poor Linda K. Her mother didn't know that you had to comb it out and set the curls neatly rather than just comb and let it fly. That was before the day of the afro and it just wasn't acceptable to have wild hair.
Anyway, I had the last laugh. After I had had a couple of kids, my hair became curly on its own - at least with enough body and natural wave to allow me to avoid perms permanently! I've been scarred by my young experiences!!! I did occasionally put pincurls in my daughters hair and tie it up in scarves...just to share the experience...hehehe...there's a bit of my mother in me after all!