Memories Old and New

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It’s something that everyone has to experience in life.  My Mother-in-Law had passed away and now we had the task of cleaning out her house before we put it up for sale.  My wifes mother was a strong willed woman, she would not leave her home even though we would have welcomed her in our home.

The house was about 2 hours away from ours. so my wife, our 17 year old daughter, and myself decided to spend a few weekends collecting all of my wifes family memories and gather bags of items to drop off at the charity store.  We started on the upper floor before working our way down to the basement.

It was the third weekend that we finally made our way to the basement.  My wife and I were going thru one side when our daughter called for us to come see something.  There, by the basement sink, was a chrome shampoo chair with an old dusty vinyl cape laid over the back.

My wife cringed as she saw it.  “Oh Christ, I can’t believe that thing is still here”  Our daughter pulled the cape off and sat down “Can I get a wash mom?”  My wife then told us that she had lots of memories of being in that chair “My mom and my 2 aunts would do each other’s hair, whether it was curlers or perms, they would be here all the time”  My daughter thought that it was “cool” that they did each other’s hair “Did you get to have your hair done too, mom?

My wife then told us about her memories of the chair’   “I still have nightmares about being called down here when my aunts were over.  It always meant that they had plans for my hair.”  My daughter, not knowing when to quit kept asking her about it “Did you get to have your hair permed mom”  My wife then revealed that she had indeed had her hair permed from the time she was 13, until she left for college.  “None of the girls in the family ever had straight hair.  It seemed like any time one of my cousins came for a visit they would end up in that chair”

We kept going thru the cabinets in the basement when my daughter brought a box for my wife to see “Look at these tiny curlers mom” Within seconds of the box being opened, my wife knew what was inside “Those are perm rods dear”  Again, my daughter seemed excited by her find “Those are so cool.  Do you think they’re still good?”  My wife told her that they were good, but then asked why it mattered.  “It would be so cool if I could use these” my daughter replied.

My wife gave her a confused look “Why on earth would you want to use those?”  Our daughter then told her how having your hair permed was back in style “Come on mom, haven’t you seen the Vice Presidents step-daughter Emma?  She’s so beautiful with her curly hair”  She then asked the question that even surorised me “Do you know how to perm hair mom?”  My wife admitted that she had, in fact, done several perms after her aunts started having troubles winding the rods.  “Mom, thats awesome.  If I bring all this stuff home could you perm my hair?”  Even though my wife would have rather left all of the stuff for the trash pickup, when we left for home on Sunday, it was all in our truck.

The next Monday our daughter was searching Amazon, asking her mom to help her pick the best perm kit to order.  Within a few days she was all excited when the package arrived.  When she opened the box, surprisingly there was 6 boxes of perm lotion.  My wife asked why she ordered so much “I’m hoping you could perm a few of my friends too.  I also want you to show me how to do it because I know there’s a bunch of girls who want to try having curly hair..

The following Saturday morning my wife and daughter went to the lower level of our house and a few hours later a new head of curls vame up the stairs with a smile from ear to ear.  It seemed that every Saturday after my basement was a hair salon.  I could smell the perm solution anytime I went near the basement steps.

The wife had given 4 perms, and had started teaching our daughter how to roll some of the girls hair.  The follow Monday at breakfast she asked the question that my wife feared was coming “Can I try perming your hair this Saturday Mom?”  Now my wife and I have always done anything we could to support our daughters interests, but this was a big decision to make.  My wife smiled, then gave me a quick glance “Of course you give it a try dear.”  The following Satirday morning it was my wifes turn in the chair, and she too had a big smile on her face when she came up the stairs.  Surprisingly she said she was glad we brought the chair home with us.  “We’ll get a lot of use out of it.”


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