I wished that was the end of my suffering but some of it was just beginning. Chronic pain and surgery were two constants in my life. I was only twenty-seven and I was already been four times under the knife. This left me feeling lost overwhelmed and useless much of the time. Needing to find something, anything, to take my mind off my pain and frustrations, I started accepting a few of my former customers for hair appointments in my home. No one had a problem with the inexact schedule I was a slave to. When it rained, my friends and customers knew not to call for their hair needs on those days. My fingers and my back were far too painful to work. I was, at first, restricted to haircuts and styling, but gradually as I was stronger I was able to stand long enough to do the occasional colour or perm. This was a far cry from the customer base I had while working in a salon, but it kept my hand in my craft, and helped us a little financially. This made the few customers I accepted happy. But, I missed having my fingers entwined in the long hair I so desperately desired to help make me feel alive and creative.
1974 was the year that things would start to turn around for us, financially. Ron was promoted to salesman and one of the perks was a fully loaded company car, his own office and expense account. Ron worked so hard for this position and no one deserved it more. We splurged with a celebration dinner. The kids were so excited they could hardly wait to go for a ride in Daddy’s new car. Ron could hardly contain himself as well. He couldn’t wait to share with his mom – showing her just how far he had come, from being a truck driver for one of the largest gas companies to a salesman with his own car. His father had passed away from a heart attack June 1968. It saddened him he could not share this great news with him too. There was no doubt he would have been proud.
For the first time in our lives I now even had my very own car. We had come so far in these few short years. We long ago decided we would never pack up our tents and give up we were determined no matter what it took we would fight to survive. We would forge ahead to make our lives better, not just for ourselves but especially for our children. It was obvious both our families were proud of what we accomplished. Frank and Cathy in particular showed their support.
Since I had my own car and when I felt well enough I would go back to the old neighbourhood. There I would cut a few heads of hair or give our former next door neighbour, Hildie, her much needed colour. Three of those haircuts and styles were for the three women of the family who had lived across the street from us before we moved. Sharon’s husband was the architect who had built the tiny castle we now owned. I loved doing Sharon’s, Leslie’s and their mother, Mary’s hair. They wore the elaborate, high bouffant styles that allowed me to be creative. Leslie, at one time in her career, was a practicing hairdresser and had a room in their house set up as a mini salon. This made my job very easy, but made me miss the salon atmosphere even more. Although I suffered afterward with body pain, it was so satisfying for my soul and my ego.