Today was to be one of those days that was embedded in my memory and still makes me smile. Christine, now ten, just came in from school while I was bleaching Bethany’s hair – something I did as a six-week ritual. This time I was using a new bleach product just out on the market. Instead of going on white, it went on blue. Bethany was paranoid when it came to using new products on her hair. She had, over the years had some unhappy results. Even though I had been doing her hair at Nora’s for the last two years she was still anxious. Christine walked in and seeing Bethany’s hair, she said, “What a pretty blue colour mommy.” With that, Bethany started to panic. She grabbed the hand mirror from the table and started to cry, “Why is my hair blue?” It took me some fast-talking to get her settled down. I needed to almost beg her to let me leave the product on to finish its work. Until the bleach on her hair was completed its job, she was very cool to me. It was as if all those years of total trust had almost vanished. I could not say anything to ease her anxiety. The stunning final results, the look of relief and a hug, were indicators that she was no longer concerned. Christine learned a valuable lesson that day never to make unsolicited comments again when it came to a customer. I calmly explained to her that some people are obsessed and over react when it comes to their hair. Once alone we joked about Bethany’s ‘panicky blue hair’ response.
My makeshift beauty shop was unusual and definitely not your run – of – the – mill salon. I had no specialized equipment, no fancy pump chair or lighted mirror above my hairdressing table. I used a kitchen chair, a utility room sink and a hand mirror. Sometimes the sunshine was my only overhead light, and a lawn chair my customer’s beauty chair. There was more than one occasion when Ron would have to remove an implanted hair from one of my feet or from my belly button. I had a habit in the summer of cutting hair outside, barefoot and in my bikini. I carried my scissors and comb everywhere I went. When we went to visit either family, I always had a haircut or style to do. Even my mother was treated to a professional cut and style when I went home. This pleased her. What a turnaround in her thinking from just a few years earlier. Oh, how far we had come from the attitude that my hairdressing training was a ‘ waste of time and money.’