Hair. . . not the musical.

Hair, hair, hair.Flow it, show it,
Long as God can grow it, my hair

Over my morning cup of Earl Grey, I read this blog this morning.  It had me chuckling.  And thinking about my own bad hair days.  So rather than leave one long, long reply to her post I decided to just put it here.  So, without further ado, I give you my chronological tale of bad hair days:

1962:  My parents always laughed about how little hair I had and what I did have was almost transparent and stood straight up.  I sported a lot of spit in my hair in those days to try to get it to lay flat.  Not mine.  My mom’s. Ewwwww.

Spit -optional hair.  Finally.

Spit-optional hair. Finally.

It took a few years. . . but I did grow some nice hair (ok, maybe not those bangs – but I can’t take the blame for that.)

This was nice hair.

Vintage 1967. This was nice hair.

1967:  I twirled my shoulder length hair around my finger one too many times causing  my mother to snatch me up and take me to her butcher beautician for the first of many pixie cuts. (The style haunted me for YEARS to come.)  This prompted one of our neighbors to forever call me “Boy”.  But it was the 1960’s and Twiggy made the style at least somewhat popular at the time.  Maybe on a twenty-something in a micro-mini dress, go-go boots and spidery eyelashes (which are back in style again).  On me it was just a boy cut.

Behold:  The pixie cut.

Behold: The pixie cut.

Thankfully, I can’t locate a picture of the “shag”.   Think Brady Bunch mom haircut.  It. Was. All sorts of awful.  My grandmother thought it was silly and cut it off with her sewing scissors.  My mom actually suggested that I should have stopped my grandma from doing this but she fell silent when I asked if she would have stopped her.  It eventually it grew out but maybe not in a good way.

The awkward middle school years.

The awkward middle school years.

High school and college was a mix of the wedge haircut made popular by Dorothy Hamill and swoopy Farah Fawcett hair.

Why so glum?

Vintage 1978 – Why so glum?

And then the 1980’s happened and bad hair was EVERYWHERE.  Seriously.  I’m not sure why I ever thought perms were a good idea.  But it led to what I call my Olivia Newton-John look. Or at least how she looked in Grease. . . only without the hoochie mama black paint-on pants.  Thankfully, one thing I didn’t do was mess with the color of my hair.

I think the dog asked, "Are you my mother?"

I think the dog asked, “Are you my mother?”

It should be noted that In the late 80’s I broke my hand and had trouble styling my hair for a wedding.  My mom suggested that I go the beauty school and let them do it for me. One of the most awful hair experiences of my life. Both the style AND the fact that the mother and child in the chair next to mine were found to have head lice.  (You’re scratching now aren’t you?)  Let me tell you,  head lice cause quite a commotion at the beauty school.  I cried in the car on the way home.  But. . . my boyfriend at the time did the unthinkable and put my hair in hot rollers for me.  And it looked pretty darn good.  But what it showed me was that this awesome guy (who was actually a cop and not a hairdresser) was a keeper.  Next year we will have been married 24 years.

The 1990’s brought marriage and motherhood.  .  . and the return of the pixie  in various forms.  Our nephew recently saw a picture from those days, looked at me and said, “never do that again.”  Lol.  But honestly, I do love the simplicity of short hair.  It was so easy.  Even if it didn’t look great.   Pictures of cute short hair cuts always catch my eye.  I have to tell myself that I’ve waited too long to have enough hair to actually style.


Vintage 2004. The pixie revisited.

And then we bought a motorcycle.  And what a helmet does to short hair is unspeakable.  So I started growing it out again.  It’s the longest I think it’s ever been and t’s kind of fun now that I have more time to actually mess with it.

Vintage 2014:  Classic.

Vintage 2014: Classic.

There you have it.  My evolution.

And a parting thought:



A mother defined. . .

Various pictures of my mother-in-law between 1954 and 1957.

I’m still working on my husband’s heritage album.  There are just so many pictures, it’s hard to decide which ones to use.  Just like it’s hard to decide exactly what to say.  She passed away several years ago and my husband wrote and delivered a beautiful eulogy at her funeral so that’s what I’m going to share here.  It says more about her than I ever could.

Mom was kind, loving, humble, and generous. She never spoke of her accomplishments nor sought recognition for them. She always put family first and chastised me often for working too much and not spending enough time with my family. I regret today that, as usual, I have learned too late, she was right. What I appreciate today is that my values reflect her values. My character is a product of her and my father’s parenting and guidance.

My mother always believed the best about her sons; even when we disappointed her. There are tales of us boys breaking Christmas lights in a Texas neighborhood but Mom would always say, “Not my boys.” 1969 was a particularly difficult year for Mom. Pop was in Vietnam and Mom tried keeping us boys happy by buying us whatever we wanted. We wanted BB guns. She bought them and we shot out a neighbor’s window and shot each other. Still, what I learned from Mom, what she taught us all was; parents never stop loving their children. She encouraged me to excel in whatever I chose to do. Because of her love, I could always take a chance. I knew she would be there if I stumbled. Her generosity extended to her grandchildren too. She loved giving them gifts and usually gave them too many. But she cared so much about a child’s happiness and downplayed our concern about how much money she spent. She was extremely proud of their school grades and their musical abilities. She was always showing their pictures to friends and family who stopped by the house.

To my brothers and me, whenever we wanted something, Mom was an easy mark. We need only ask. I thought it was just a mother’s love. I later learned Mom had an overwhelming love of children and a heartfelt generosity to give. I remember years of watching the Jerry Lewis Telethons and Mom would call and make a donation. She gave to countless charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Jude Childrens Hospital. If someone called and the charity was for needy children, Mom gave . . . even at times when she couldn’t afford to, she always gave. Over the years, she made regular donations to St. Jude Childrens Hospital and if any of you are seeking a charity to support, I know she would ask that you adopt this one.

And Mom’s love of my father is endless. While he seldom speaks of his service to our country, Mom was extremely proud of him and his Air Force record. She enjoyed the travel to other countries and cherished those experiences. I always enjoyed looking at the photo albums with her. She had an incredible memory and sharp mind. She could tell a story about every picture.

My mother was an avid reader and could have started her own library with the volume of books went through. She and I could talk about the two most volatile issues people can discuss: politics and religion. There were times when we would disagree and when that happened, we seldom changed each other’s opinion . . . because Mom was tough and strong-willed. I was just stubborn.

I’ll miss my mother. I’ll miss her telling me that I work too much and asking if I’m taking my vitamins. And checking to make sure I’m taking 81 mg of aspirin a day because I’m over 40, you know. She always concerned herself with my well-being. I’ll miss her telling me I’m too skinny one week and that I have put on weight the next. I’ll just miss her . . . and her love.

Friends are forever. . . or maybe not.

It’s been an interesting couple of days around here. Interesting might not be the best way to describe it, but it’s probably one of the safest words I can use right now to describe them.  There’s a whole host of others that might fit better, but not all are polite.  I know this isn’t my usual kind of blog post but I hope you’ll keep reading anyway.

A group of three of my friends from school get together periodically for lunch and to catch up. We always have a great time and we don’t do it nearly enough. It’s a group that if you went back years you probably wouldn’t find us all together. We weren’t inseparable as kids. Three of us started school in kindergarten together so we go way back. The other I didn’t know until high school. We aren’t exactly “peas in a pod” and you would never call the four of us “besties” or “bff’s. But we’ve all reconnected after many years of casual encounters and it’s wonderful. Truly.  I cherish the friendship of all of these ladies, but am much closer to one (let’s call her Catherine)  than to the others.  Catherine and I go way back. I can still remember her birthday parties when we were both little girls. And Girl Scouts.  And high school theater together.  Lots of memories. Susan and I also started school together.  We were Brownies together.  And we have several common friends but were never really close ourselves.

A few days ago, while trying to coordinate the busy schedules of four women to find a single date we can all meet for lunch, I made a rather innocent comment in a group message. I suggested that if the four of us couldn’t work it out until the mid-November, Catherine and I could get together sooner. We have more flexible schedules and we live in the same town and we do get together more than we all do as a group. Catherine and I also include our husbands sometimes. A date was agreed on by all four of us and everything seemed good. As always, I was excited about getting together with my girls for lunch and an afternoon of chatter. But then Susan immediately came back and said she couldn’t be there. It was odd.  I sensed a problem, but wasn’t sure what it was. A little bit later, I received a message from Susan that was really not very nice. It was childish. It was nasty. And it was full of “drama” – the kind I detest. I. Don’t. Do. Drama. It was implied that I wasn’t a “true friend” or a friend she could “trust” and that the relationship wasn’t “authentic” and that she was only interested in surrounding herself with those kinds of friends. Whoa!!. I took that to mean that I didn’t fit the bill. She went on to say that she felt slighted by me when we were at different gatherings this summer and fall. Mmmmmmmm. It should be noted that this message was sent at about the time I was going to bed. Her message was emotional and irrational. I took the time to fire off what was probably a pretty defensive reply but she did pretty much attack my character and that made me bristle. My gut instinct was if that’s the way you feel, then fine. . . we probably won’t be seeing much of each other. I’m sure she understood that she’d offended me. . .but my reply was steeped in facts and not emotion.

And then I laid there all night thinking about how horrible her message had made me feel. It was awful.
Susan had made it clear that after 48 years of knowing each other that I didn’t meet her criteria for a friend. And yes, it made me sad, but what are you going to do? It’s not what I wanted, but I can accept that and move on. I’m an adult.
In the wee hours of the morning she sends me another note accusing me of having “disposable” friendships because I acknowledged that I wouldn’t be seeing much of her. Sheesh!  Does this not sound like junior high??? At that point, I took the gloves off and laid it out there. . . she was the one who had decided that I didn’t measure up to her friendship benchmarks and she was the one saying, “please don’t invite me to lunch”. But in her eyes I was wrong for accepting that. I realize that maybe there is something going on in her life right now that might be coloring her views, but she hasn’t shared that so I really don’t know for sure. But what I do know is that her behavior and attitude is unacceptable to me. I grew up a long time ago. I learned that you shouldn’t say things that can’t be taken back.  To treat people like I want to be treated.  And that life is too short to waste it squabbling about stupid stuff.

She eventually apologized (it was extremely curt and brief compared to the  rather lengthy diatribes she’d sent earlier) for what she said. I accepted and thanked her. And then I took the high ground and also apologized for any intentional hurt that I may have caused her (even though I really didn’t do anything that should have upset her). And then?
SILENCE. Nothing. She didn’t even read the message (isn’t technology a marvel – that I can even know that) , let alone reply to it. I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about it. I can’t worry about it. It’s her problem and I’m not going to let her make it mine. But all this stupid, childish, drama got me to thinking about friendship and what I value in a friend. (That was a rather round about, long-winded intro and I’m sorry for that.) And because hindsight is ALWAYS better. . . and I’ve had two days to think about it. What I would like to say to her is this:

Dear Friend,
I can go days, weeks, or even months, without seeing or even talking  to you. It shouldn’t change our friendship if it is as you say true and authentic.   It doesn’t mean I don’t like you or that I like other people better. Don’t feel slighted and please don’t make me feel guilty. We all lead busy lives and sometimes it’s just not easy to get together when you juggle work, family, church, etc. This happens with many of my friends, but when we do get together, it’s like we were never apart. If I’m that kind of friend, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Please understand that you are not my only friend. There are others – some like you, some different. You need to have other friends too. An “obsessive” friendship isn’t a healthy one. I’m going to have lunch with only Catherine sometimes and I’d like to not be made to feel bad about it. I promise not to be upset when you see other friends without including me. I’m not keeping score either.
Friendship is a two-way journey. Don’t say, “you never call me” when, in fact, you don’t call me either. For me, trust and loyalty are important. I hope they are for you too. I believe the only way to have a friend is to be one. I’m a little bit of an introvert. To me, more is not merrier. I prefer cozier, one-on-one’s to a group. I always have.  Even though my Facebook shows that I have hundreds of friends, I am blessed if there are only a hand-full that really “get me” and embrace my shortcomings, faults, and quirks and still love me in spite of it. I think the best friendships should be comfortable and relaxed. . .like my old flannel pajama pants: They have a history. They may look a little worn and have some flaws. But they are soft and warm and make me feel great. Friendships should be like that. Real friends should make you feel good and not bring you down.
So if there should be a time that you feel hurt, I would hope that you would take stock of our history as friends before you meanly lash out and ruin any hope of sustaining our relationship. I get that you think that not squashing down your feelings is important, but please understand that hurting mine won’t really make you feel better. And if it does, then we probably shouldn’t be friends anyway.  I recently saw a quote that said, “Two things you will never have to chase: True friends & true love.” I think that’s true.  And right now I feel like I’m being asked to chase something that I would be better letting go.

There.  I’ve said it.  I’ve dug the metaphorical hole in the yard, tossed it in, and covered it over.  I’m done with it.  (And it feel pretty good to get that off my chest.) If she comes to lunch next week, I will be cordial, but without expectations.  And honestly, a part of me hopes that she  won’t come because it will just be awkward, weird, and will probably cast a shadow over what should be a great day with friends.

Everyone has a best friend during each stage of life only a precious few have the same one.
Old Friends