my mom was a beautician. or a cosmetologist...whichever you want to say. i remember being little, and though mom was a stay-at-home-mom, i remember her working in shops from time to time. she had a friend named phyllis, and she would go to her house, because phyllis had a shop in her home. i remember how enamored i was with the whole shop...the wood floor, the beautiful white porcelain sinks with the shower-sprayer for washes. the smell of the perms, the rolling carts of rollers. the shine of the curling irons, the sparkle of the scissors. and the chairs that pumped up and spun around were like something from a carnival. mom would work for phyllis when she'd go on vacation, taking care of her regulars for the cuts/colors/perms.
mom always cut our hair, my sister's and mine. she cut dad's hair, too. she'd sit us in the kitchen on telephone books, backwards on the chair, and drape the cape over our shoulders. i didn't pay for a haircut the entire time i was growing up, until i was 20 years old. and when i finally did, i was so sad about the "betrayal" that i felt toward mom that i ended up hacking it up myself after the stylist finished, just so i could have some ownership over the whole ordeal.
my mom and my aunt linda used to get together, usually at our house but sometimes at hers, about every six or eight weeks or so, to color hair. this really meant it was "sister time." aunt linda would bring one or two of her three kids (usually just alan, the youngest), and he and my sister and i would sit around and play video games or run through the house and eat popcorn, while mom and aunt linda sat in the kitchen, heads all goopy with color, drinking pepsi and cackling laughter. sometimes uncle dave would come, and he and dad went out into the garage, i think for fear of estrogen seeping into their systems. mom always said that she and miss clairol were "like this"--with her first two fingers pressed together.
mom and aunt linda had their "coloring shirts," which were just old tee shirts that were smeared with evidence of their adventures, color mostly saturated around the necks of the shirts.
aunt linda always gave the biggest hugs. and had, and still has, the gentlest voice.
since mom has passed away, and now that my sister is living closer than 3000 miles away (she used to live in hawaii), sis and i have revived the tradition that was so haphazardly begun by mom and aunt linda. we now get together about every six or eight weeks and don our "coloring shirts," and make a huge mess and giggle the whole time. we don't drink pepsi, usually some diet soda. but my kids run around all crazy like and sis is now the one with the biggest hugs and gentlest voice. and soon she'll have a baby of her own (she's 18 weeks along with a little boy), and he will soon be coming over and wrecking havoc with our kids, running through the house, playing video games, laughing...while sis and i color hair and reminisce about life, love, celebrities, and our husbands.