Here’s a guest post from our good friend Phillis Ballew in Oklahoma. I asked her a while ago to tell me about her photo (above). Knowing she has stick-straight hair, like me, I wondered about the permanents. Below is Phillis’s explanation:
Patsy was our big black horse. I don’t remember where she came from but we’d had her as long as I could remember at that young age. Anyway, this picture came about because mother found a little extra money and took my sister and I to town to the beauty shop and we had our first permanents. One reason I wanted a permanent was that the coach’s daughter, Jane, who was in my class had beautiful long curls…and my hair was extremely straight. Now I could be as beautiful as Jane, or so I thought. And dear old Patsy was right by the fence to greet us when we returned with our new crowning beauty!
Oh, Phillis & Robin, it is the perennial story of never being satisfied with what we have! I wanted straight hair instead of my crowning glory of curls…some induced by my mother’s rags or pins! I have lots of memories about permanents…the contraptions with electric cords hanging at the beauty parlor at the end of our row house in NJ…the home permanent disasters of the 50’s, etc…thanks for the walk down memory lane.
oh yes, Arletta, that first permanent was delivered by a tall machine standing beside my chair in the “beauty shoppe” with long cords at the end of which were very hot curlers. ..and a strange smell. Only “old timers” would remember such things! (late 40s or early 50s maybe). pb
Phew! Remember the stink from those permanents? Thanks for your comments, Arletta.
Phillis, thanks for your story about the permanents. Am trying to update & add your second photo of you & your sister, the permanents, and Patsy.