The Great-Aunt (part 1)

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Part 1

 

The plans were solidified month’s ago.  Bill and Mary Daniels were about to head out for their 25th anniversary.  Bill went all out, with first class tickets to take them to Miami, where they were going on a 7 day Caribbean cruise, ending with two weeks at a 5-star resort.  The only thing left for them to do was drop their kids off at summer camp.

Their 2 kids Bill jr, and Audrey, had gone to the camp for years, starting when they turned 10 years old.  This year was different for them though.  Audrey was 16 now, so she was going this year as a junior camp councilor.  In the days before they were scheduled to leave, Mary had taken Bill jr to get his summer crewcut, and as she had for several years now, tried to get Audrey to at least get her butt length hair trimmed shorter before they left for camp.  Just like every other time she had tried to get her to cut it, Audrey flat-out refused to have even the smallest of trims.

They arrived at the camp, and Audrey went towards the area for councilors to sign in while her parents both helped Bill Jr take his things to his assigned cabin.  As they made there way back to the car, Bill and Mary held hands as they walked, talking about what they were looking forward to most on their trip.  As the approached the car there was Audrey standing there with all her luggage.  Mary asked her what was going on, only to have Audrey yell at her that she wasn’t allowed to be a councilor with her hair that long.  The only thing Audrey was upset about was not getting the nice dark tan she always came home from camp with.

Bill and Mary were both livid at what had just happened.  Their flight left in just 5 hours and got them to Miami just in time to get to the ship.  Audrey told them she will stay at home by herself while they’re gone, but her parents had tried to leave her alone for a long weekend before, only to have the house get trashed by Audrey’s friends.  They got back in the car and headed towards home.  Audrey had her headphones in, already thinking about what she was going to do while she had the house to herself.

Bill and Mary went back and forth trying to come up with a solution that worked.  They had an older daughter, but she was on a trip with her college boyfriend and wouldn’t be able to get back in time.  Bill said it was too bad that all of the kids aunts and uncles lived out of town as well.  Just then Mary brought up her aunt Mildred, she lived not far from the airport, and was always offering to help Bill and Mary out any way she could.

Mary made the call, explaining to her aunt everything that had happened that morning.  Mildred was, at first, angry with her Niece for letting things get out of hand, but she said she would welcome having the company.  Audrey was so engrossed in her phone that she never noticed her dad passing up the freeway exit to their house.   It was only after she happened to glance up when they were exiting that she noticed that this was not their normal route home…”Where are we?”  She asked as Bill turned down the unfamiliar road.  Only then did Mary tell her that she was going to stay with her Great-Aunt Mildred.  Audrey started to protest…”I don’t want to stay with her for 3 weeks.  I can just stay at home.  I’m not a child anymore.”  Bill decided to answer her on that one…”My liquor cabinet still tells me you are.”  Audrey instantly knew she was beaten.

Audrey cringed as she thought about staying with the old woman.  Three weeks living with some old lady she barely knew was not her idea of fun…”Mom, you can’t be serious?  I can’t stay here.”   All Mary wanted was to get on the plane and start her vacation.  She was sick and tired of Audrey’s antics over the last few years, but still hadn’t come up with a solution.  As they pulled up to Aunt Mildred’s house Audrey was in full out tantrum mode.  “Mom, she doesn’t even have cable or internet.”  Mary was out of the car and met Mildred at the door. As they exchanged hugs Audrey was slowly making her down the walkway, her bag dragging behind her.

Before Audrey was even inside the door Mildred was on her…”You can take that bag straight upstairs to the second bedroom and put your clothes in the dresser.  Audrey tried to say she would just pull things out as she needed them., but Mildred wasn’t having it…”Clothes belong in drawers young lady.  I will not have you living like a bum while you are in this house.  Understood?”  Audrey looked at her mom, then to Mildred…”Yes ma’am.”  As she walked in the door Mildred spoke to her again..”.I laid some dresses out so you’ll have something to wear to church”  Audrey kept walking knowing that there was no way she would be able to talk herself out of staying here.

Mary couldn’t believe how Mildred had handled Audrey.  She told Mildred if she had any problems that Bill and her would cut their trip short.  Mildred chuckled at what Mary had said…”I’ve told you for years that she needed a firm hand.  Don’t worry about Audrey, by the time you return she will have a whole new appearance and attitude.”   Instantly she remembered how strict Mildred had been with her daughters and knew Audrey was in for a major change in lifestyle.  Mary and Bill pulled out of the driveway and gave a wave as they drove off.  The smile on Mary’s face grew wider as she thought about Audrey’s next few weeks.

Mildred made her way up the stairs to check on Audrey’s progress.  When she opened the door there was Audrey, laying on the bed texting her friends about what had happened.  Mildred was furious…”Get off that bed right now young lady.  We do not sit on beds during the day and certainly not with our shoes on.”  Audrey sat up and kicked her shoes off her feet to the floor…”Sorry but I was tired.”  Mildred pulled her up by the arm…”Your shoes belong in the closet when not being worn.  If you are tired during the day it means you are not getting enough sleep.  I go to bed at 9:30 every day.  I think 9:00 would be an appropriate time for you.”  Audrey couldn’t believe what she heard…”I stay up until 11:00 during the summer.  It’s not even dark at 9:00.”

Mildred started to unload Audrey’s bag…”These clothes might be okay for summer camp, but not something that a young woman should wear.”  She then took the bag and walked out of the room.  Audrey, incensed that someone would have the nerve to take her stuff, yelled out for Mildred to bring her stuff back.  Mildred said nothing as she locked the bag into her bedroom closet, then went to her dresser to pull something appropriate for Audrey to wear.  Returning to Audrey’s room she placed the items on the bed…”You can use these until I can get some of my daughters old clothes down from the attic.  You can wear the blue skirt and shirt that I already ironed for you then tomorrow you will have to iron the rest of the dresses in the closet”  Audrey was still focused on what had been put on the bed to even hear what Mildred had said.  It was your standard, old lady items, the biggest pair of briefs that she had ever seen, plus a bra that looked to have 10 times the material that her own did.  She was less familiar with the pantyhose and shiny slip, as these were something she had never even seen her mother wear.

Audrey stood there as Mildred moved around her, laying the skirt and blouse on the bed.  She went out of the room again, only to return with some brown shoes and a cardigan…”Come on, get moving.  I won’t have you making me late for church.”  Audrey’s family never went to church, so she figured she could just hang around the house for the afternoon…”Isn’t church on Sundays?  I can just stay here for now.”  Mildred glared at the girl…”Church is many days per week.  Today is woman’s prayer meeting from 1 until 4, so get moving.”  Audrey couldn’t believe this old woman was going to make her sit in church for 3 hours, but as Mildred walked out of the room to get herself dressed, she just sat on the edge of the bed, looking at the horrible outfit laying next to her.

Five minutes had gone by and Audrey had only managed to take her t-shirt and shorts off.  Still sitting there in her bra and panties when the door opened wide…What have you been doing this whole time?  We have to be out the door in 5 minutes.”  Audrey was to busy trying to cover herself up as Mildred walked in, she stumbled to answer…”I, I, I, I am getting ready”  Mildred didn’t like excuses, instead she came over and with one quick move, unfastened Audrey’s bra…”How does that even do any good with only 2 little hooks.”  Audrey turned beet red as she tried to cover up, but Mildred already held the large white bra in her hands…”Put your arms in the holes, come on hurry up.”  Audrey did as she was told and quickly felt the wide elastic band squeezing tightly around her chest…”This one will keep everything in place.”  Audrey was slightly overweight with just a little belly a little on her hips and before she knew it Mildred was pulling at the waistband of her black $20 Calvin Klein cheeky panties…”For what you paid for those they could at least cover you better and hold you in just a bit.  We’ll stop after prayer meeting and get you a pack of briefs of your own.”  Audrey couldn’t believe she had barely been here 2 hours and had already been naked in front of a stranger.  She pulled the giant panties up, not believing how far up the went.  Mildred walked back into the room with another item she was unfamiliar with.  Reaching down Mildred held it out for Audrey to step into…”Come on one leg after the other.” She then pulled the girdle high up on Audrey’s body stopping nearly at her chest.  Audrey felt the tightness squeezing all her chubbiness tight against her body.  Mildred rushed her thru putting on the rest of her outfit, complete with the cardigan and plain shoes.

Audrey stood in the bathroom trying to fix her hair before they had to go.  Mildred put her head in the door…”That’s going to have to do until we can do something about it.  We are leaving right now.”  Audrey hurried to stay behind Mildred on the way to the car.  Upset that she wasn’t given enough time to do her hair properly she tried to make sure it laid right by looking in the cars vanity mirror.  Mildred, seeing this reached over and flipped the visor back up…”You spend way too much time with that hair.”

Audrey sat quietly in the church while the old ladies held their prayer meeting with nothing to do but look around at the unfamiliar place .  After the meeting was finished she was sitting at a table by herself in the dining room, having a tuna sandwich, she was surprised when one of the old ladies came over to her…”Hello Audrey I’m Mrs Foster, the Choir director,  Mildred has told me that you used to be in choir at school and you wanted to join the church choir.  Audrey was confused by what the old woman was saying to her…”I haven’t sung in the choir in 3 years.”  The old woman wouldn’t be put off though…”Practices are Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 2-6 and we sing at all 4 services each week.  You need to be here an hour early to warm up. I’ll just tell Mildred when she has to bring you.  She will be so happy you decided to do this.”  Before Audrey could tell the woman she wasn’t interested she was already walking towards Mildred.

Audrey just figured she would be gone in a couple weeks so she would just not make any effort into even going.  That all ended when Mildred came over…”Mrs Foster said that you are joining the choir.  They will be so happy to have another younger member.  I already told Mrs Foster that I would have you there a little early for the next practice, so she can find a robe that fits you.”  Audrey couldn’t believe how much Mildred was pushing this choir on her…”I don’t know why I should do this.  I’m only here for a couple weeks.”  She was almost speechless when Mildred responded…”I’m going to talk to you mother about having you stay with me for the rest of the summer.  The choir is doing several shows at the area retirement homes over the next few months, so it will keep you busy for the whole summer”

Audrey couldn’t believe what she had heard.  She didn’t want to spend her entire summer at Mildred’s house let alone sing in a church choir the whole summer.  She wanted to be home, working on her tan, enjoying what teen girls liked, her friends, her phone, the internet, the TV in her bedroom, certainly not living in an old ladies house with none of basics in her life.

The ride home was interrupted by a stop at the local Walmart.  Audrey figured she could at least load up on some snacks to help get her thru the week.  As they entered the store, rather than heading to the food area Mildred  pushed the cart straight to the woman’s section…”I’m sure you will want some of your own things.”  Audrey started to look at the clothes in the area, but Mildred kept walking thru…”Come on, I have plenty of my daughters old dresses that you can wear.”  Audrey followed her thru the break in the shelves into the area of all the undergarments.  She was drawn to rack of colorful underwire bras, but Mildred call her away…”We’ll get you these just like you have on now.”  All Audrey could do was sigh as she saw the bras hit the bottom of the cart “Playtex Full Coverage Padded Bra”  Mildred, seeing the look on her face, joked with her…”Who knows maybe it will help you find a nice young man at church”  Audrey just followed as Mildred added a large pack of the same giant panties she was wearing now and several pairs of pantyhose, all in white, to the cart…”The choir girls all wear white, so you might as well too.”  They finished in the beauty section, and while Audrey was busy looking at nail polish Mildred was picking out some hair color.  When Audrey saw the box of Silver-blonde color go in the cart she assumed it was for Mildred.

It was 7:00 the next morning and Mildred was calling up the stairs for Audrey to wake up…”Young lady, we have a lot to get done today so get dressed and come down here.”  Audrey’s eyes rolled back in her head at Mildred’s calls…’I’m supposed to be on vacation now’ and she rolled off the bed and headed for the shower.  Twenty minutes later Mildred was knocking on the door…”Why are you still in the shower?  I put one my older dresses on the bed.  We’re going to be working in the basement today so there’s no need to get dressed up.”  Audrey appeared in the room, still trying to towel thru the lengths of her hair, wishing she had her own shampoo instead of the cheap, store brand stuff that Mildred kept in the house.  Thinking out loud…”My hair feels so rough this morning.”  Mildred, already planning to take care of that problem today was, as always, more practical…”For as much shampoo as you use I’m not surprised.”

Audrey had long ago stopped fighting back when people started in on her about her long hair.  Instead she just put on the clothing that had been laid out for her and heading down the stairs.  Hungry, she hoped that Mildred would have breakfast ready to eat, but instead she found her already washing her dishes…”You spent so much time in the shower, you missed breakfast.  She thought she could at least have some toast or a bowl of cereal, but Mildred had finished the dishes and told her to follow her down the basement.

Once they went down the steps Audrey looked around the room as Mildred was gathering some items.  A couple of shelving units and a small dressing table with a chrome swivel chair were all that filled the one side of the room, with the other side having a washer and dryer and a sink.  Mildred started to take handfuls of glass canning jars of the shelves and carrying them to the sink…”I want you to start washing all of these in hot soapy water, while I go upstairs and start my ironing.”  Audrey was not happy that she had to get out of bed for this, and after washing the first few dozen jars, took a seat in the chair.  She had only sat for a few minutes when she began to slowly doze off.

Mildred had plans for the girl later that morning, but as she noticed a lack of any noise coming from the top of the stairs, she decided to quietly make her way back down there.  As Mildred reached the bottom of the steps she saw Audrey sitting in the chair, oblivious to anything going on around her.  Unknown to Audrey,  Mildred had planned on making the young girl sit in her chair later that morning so she could give her a hairstyle better suited to the other ladies in the choir, and decided to take advantage of her current state to get a start on her plans.

As Mildred stood there ready to slide her scissors into Audrey’s hair, memories of years of girls siting in that same chair came flooding back to her.  Between keeping her 3 daughters hair under control until they left for college, there was also her 2 sisters and 5 nieces that all took turns in the chair.  When they were younger it was usually summer pixie cuts for all the young girls, but as they got older, each one of them given the same poodle perm if nothing else but to keep the boys from showing any interest in them for as long as possible.  As the other mothers in the neighborhood found out about her services she became the beautician for most of the neighborhood girls.  The one thing each girl knew was that they wouldn’t be coming out of there with their long hair.

It had been years since her daughters let her do their hair and all the young girls in the area had grown up, but Audrey would change all that.  She had told Mary for years that she needed to be more strict with her daughter, but now there she was, and like all the other girls before her, Audrey would be leaving her long hair on the basement floor.  Mildred wasted no more time as she inserted her largest scissors into Audrey’s hair.  She had always had the scissors professionally sharpened, so when she began to close them Audrey’s hair, as thick as it was, put up no resistance.

It was a full 10 snips of the scissors and Audrey’s hair now stopped in the middle of her neck.  Mildred laid the severed locks to the side for now, not wanting to alarm her customer just yet.  Then Mildred placed the box of hair color on the counter after which she swung a pink vinyl cape around Audrey.  As she pulled it closed Audrey was woken from her sleep, confused Audrey tried to pull the cape off but her hands were quickly pushed down by the old woman…”I see you didn’t finish the job I gave you, so i guess we will start on your hair a little earlier than I expected.”

Audrey was too focused on what was on the counter in front of her to hear what had been said.  Knowing from when her friends had colored their hair that one box would not be enough for her long hair, she had figured it was for Mildred’s hair.  “I already told my parents I am not doing anything with my hair.  I’m not cutting it and especially not coloring it.”  As she made eye contact with Mildred she saw the smile on the woman’s face grow, then she saw her reaching for something that was out of her view.

Mildred laid the handful of Audrey’s 3 foot long severed locks on the counter in front of her…”I told your mother that I would take care of her problem and I am not going to disappoint her.”  Audrey gasped as she raised her hand to the back of her head…”What the fuck did you do?”  Mildred was surprised that a child would talk to her like that.  She stepped over to the laundry sink, returning with a small, white object in her hand….”I will not stand for such language young lady.  Now open.”  Audrey had no idea what the old lady meant, but as she started to speak Mildred quickly pushed a bar of soap into Audrey’s open mouth and held onto her jaw until Audrey’s teeth sunk fully into the bar…”We will give that dirty mouth of yours a good cleaning while I finish what I was doing.”  Audrey tried to spit it out, but the harder she tried to push the bar out of her mouth, the more soap she tasted.  Finally she sat still, defeated, until her punishment was over.

Mildred left the soap in the girls mouth as she started to run a comb thru her hair…”By the time we’re done today you’ll look like a lady, ready to sing with the other girls in the choir.”  She set the comb down then pulled the soap from the girls mouth…”That should have made you think about that foul mouth you have.  Now you’ll sit here like a proper young lady while I finish you up.”  Audrey, now fearful of what the old lady was going to do if she said anything, sat in silence as she watched Mildred repeatedly lift sections of her hair and chop off more large lengths of hair.

Ten minutes later Audrey sat, with her mouth still tasting like soap, and looked at the unfamiliar person in the mirror.  Gone was the hair that always sat pulled straight down by its weight, replaced by mere inches of brown hair that, finally set free, seemed to go in any direction it wanted.  Mildred saw her staring and gave her head a rub…”Now that it’s closer to the length we want, lets even out this color.”

Audrey sat and stared in the mirror as Mildred started squeeze the color onto her hair, having never colored her hair before, she didn’t know what to expect.  At first she thought nothing of the nice smelling white liquid slowly covered her head, but as her signature golden-brown hair disappeared and the color of the liquid quickly changed to an ugly grey tone, she began to get worried.  Mildred, as she wiped the excess from Audrey’s forehead tried to make her feel good about it…”Now you won’t stand out so much from the others in the choir.”  As Audrey remembered what the choir director, Mrs Foster, looked like she felt sick to her stomach.  The combination of all the soap she’d ingested, and the old ladies grey hair were making her feel worse by the minute.

It seemed like an hour before Mildred pulled Audrey by the arm…”Lets get you rinsed out, then you can see the new you.”  They went to the laundry tub in the basement and Mildred pushed the girls neck down as she turned the water on.  She had a large plastic cup that she repeatedly filled with warm water, then poured it over Audrey’s head, again and again until she felt that the water was running clear as it hit the bottom of the sink.  She quickly toweled of the girls head and once it was dry she pulled the towel off.  Mildred had a huge smile, while Audrey’s jaw dropped.  In just a few hours she had gone from having reddish-brown hair almost to her waist a it was and now the reflection she saw was that of an old, short haired woman.  As a last insult to Audrey, Mildred was patting her face with a light colored powder, her face now looked pale and washed out.

She sat, looking at the person she didn’t know in the mirror, and she started to feel he youth slipping away.  She knew that her friends from school would ridicule her short, grey hair, and certainly would if any of them saw her in the clothes she was made to wear.  Luckily, she figured that she was safe from them until she could get back home and at least color it back to her normal color.

That afternoon Mildred drove her to choir practice and began to introduce her to all the old ladies.  That was until the last person came in the door, it was a young girl and her mother and as they were introduced to Audrey as Mrs Anderson and her daughter Grace, it was like both girls were instantly friends.  Grace shook her hand and almost at the same time as Audrey said…”At least I’m not the only young girl here now.”

Grace commented on Audrey’s new look…”I’m sorry your aunt made you cut off your beautiful hair.  They cut mine off last year when I joined the choir.”  Audrey raised her hand to her head remembering how it was just hours ago…”Don’t worry Audrey, you’ll get used to it.  I love having mine short now and doubt I ever grow it back”  The thought of wanting short hair surprised Audrey.  As choir practice began, it was clear that the two of them were by far the best singers in the group.  Audrey was surprised that with Grace there with her she was actually enjoying herself, remembering how much she loved singing.

From the first time they met Audrey and Grace were inseparable.  Choir practices and services on Sundays took up most of their time, but they found time to just get together and talk, or go for coffee.  Since she had forgot her charging cable at home Audrey hadn’t had the use of her phone for 2 weeks, and had started to get used to life without it, but then she got the idea that she could borrow Grace’s phone, only to be surprised when Grace told her that teens in the church weren’t allowed to have phones, so she never had one.

It was about 3 weeks later, just after Sunday church services.  Grace and Audrey were in the church dining room, talking among themselves while they waited for Mildred and Mrs Anderson to be ready to go.  Grace was asking Audrey if she was excited about going to a new school this year.  Audrey was totally confused, saying…”I’m going back to my old school for my junior year.”  Grace had heard her Mildred telling her mom that she had enrolled her in the churches all-girls school were she went, and was very excited about having her new friend there with her…”Sorry, I thought you were going with me.”  Just then Mildred called out for the girls to head to their cars to leave.

In the car, Audrey asked Mildred about what Grace had said…”Why did Grace think I was going to school here?”  Mildred wasn’t one to lie, or hold back the truth from anyone…”Well I spoke with your mother and told her just how well you were doing here.  She was so relieved that you are fitting in so well here that when I suggested that you could stay with me until you finished school, she started crying at how wonderful it would be for you.”  Audrey was nearly speechless…”What do you mean?  She wants me to go to school here and not come home?”  Mildred then told her that she had already enrolled her the church school.  Audrey was still trying to sort things out…”You mean I have to go to an all girls school for the last 2 years of high school.  I can’t believe my parents want me to stay here”  Mildred had a big smile on her face…”I told your mother that the school will make you focus on becoming a proper lady, instead of all the distractions you would have at your old school.  She knows how my daughters turned out, and only wants the best for you.”

The next day, when she arrived for choir practice, Grace was there to great her like usual…”Sorry again for the other day.  I thought I heard…”  Just then Audrey cut her off…”You heard right, I am going to the girls school next year.”  Grace was very excited that her new friend was going with her…”You should ask your aunt if you can go with my mom and me on Friday.  We are going to get my uniforms and new shoes.”  Audrey’s eyes rolled back as she realized that they wore uniforms at the school.  “I’ll ask her, but I have a brand new pair of Nike’s that I can wear, so I just need the uniform.”  Grace then set her straight…”You aren’t allowed to wear athletic shoes in school”  Audrey almost didn’t want to know, but had to ask…”What kind of shoes do we have to wear?”  Grace decided to make her wait to find out…”I want you to be surprised.”

The next day, right after choir practice, was when they were going.  Grace was getting all excited as they again waited for Mildred and her mom to finish talking.  Grace told Audrey that her mom was finally thought she was old enough to try curling her hair.  Audrey had used a curling iron on her hair before and didn’t see the big deal about it…”You’ll look great with it curled Grace.”  Grace was so glad that Audrey thought it would be good.  Mrs Anderson and Mildred walked up to the girls just as Grace was telling her …”We’re going to my grandmas shop after shopping.  I can ask my mom if you can come with.”

Before Audrey could answer, Mrs Anderson chimed in…”We’d love to have Audrey come with us, as long as it’s okay with Mildred.”  Grace opened her mouth before Audrey could speak…”Can Audrey come with us to get our school uniforms, and so my grandma can curl our hair?”  Mildred just looked at Audrey, she knew what was really going to happen to her hair if she went, and wanted it to be her decision.  Audrey didn’t think it was any big deal to have her hair curled asked her aunt…”So, Is it okay if Grace’s grandma curls my hair too?”  Mildred and Mrs Anderson smiled at each other as Mildred told her it was okay if she went with them.

As they walked out, both girls headed for Mrs Anderson’s car and hopped in the back as the old ladies chatted as they walked…”I’m sure your mother will give these two a proper head of curls, it’s exactly what Audrey needs.”  Mrs Anderson shook her head…”I’ve already told her that I wanted Grace to have a head of tight curls.  I assume that is what you want Audrey to have as well.”  Mildred thought back to how she used to keep her daughters hair when they were teens…”They’re both going to look so cute with their poodle perms.”  Mrs Anderson completely agreed…”I know there are at least 40 girls at the small school with the same look, so they’re going to fit right in.”  Again Mildred was thinking of when she used to give all the teen girls in her neighborhood the same look…”Hopefully it becomes part of the dress code at the school.  It is the first step in becoming a proper woman.”

Mrs Anderson got in her car…”Okay girls, uniform store first, then you can get your hair done.”  Both girls sat quietly in the back seat.  Audrey was more upset about the uniforms and shoes that were soon going to be a part of her everyday life than she was worried about having her hair curled for a few days

As they pulled in to the uniform shop, Audrey looked at the painted sign above the glass windows.’Schoolbelles Uniforms’.  It looked like it had been there, unchanged for 50 years right down to the old, wooden door.  The were greeted by a very old woman who introduced herself as Annabelle.  The girls eyes were scanning small store, trying to see something that they actually like. Annabelle looked straight at Mrs Anderson…”Which school and grade level will these nice young ladies be attending?

As soon as Mrs Anderson told her that they were both entering their junior year at the all-girls school at the church, the old woman got quickly to work…”Okay which one of you am I measuring first?” Mrs Anderson grabbed Grace by the arm…”They will both require full uniforms and shoes.”  Audrey watched as Grace stood in front of the woman.  Both were totally taken off guard when she told Grace to “Put your dress on the hook so we can get started.”  Grace hesitated for just a second, so he mother started to unbutton the back of her dress until it fell to Graces feet.  Grace stood there in her bra and panties, her face turning beet red, as the old woman started with her measuring tape.  Neither girl was prepared as Annabelle measured every bit of Grace’s body.  Audrey watched intently as the old woman wrote her numbers on a pad after taking her measurements, knowing that she would soon take Grace’s place in front of the old lady.

After Audrey took her turn being groped and prodded, the old lady walked into the storeroom.  She returned her arms full of brown boxes.  She separated them as she set them down, 5 full uniforms for each girl…”Okay girls, lets get your new uniforms on so I can check their fit.”  The girls both took one of the white shirts, buttoning it all the way up to the Peter Pan collar.  The heavy wool skirt followed, falling to just above the girls knees.  Next, the woman placed a pair of brown saddle shoes in front of each girl along with a package of matching knee socks.  Audrey gave Grace a stare, knowing that she had known all along that she knew what shoes they were going to get.

As Mrs Anderson went to sign for all the items they had received, the girls decided to change back into the dresses they wore to the store.  Mrs Anderson, seeing them quickly told them to stop…”I want you to keep the uniforms on so I can get some pictures when you’re finished having your hair done,  Neither girl was happy about it, but knew not to complain, and gathered up their garments as they headed to the car.

Riding in the car, Grace asked Audrey how she was going to have her hair done.  Audrey, still thinking they were having their hair styled with curling irons, told her friend…”I’ll have her do mine just like yours.”  Mrs Anderson listened in to their conversation, but felt no need to tell the girls that it had already been decided what would soon become of their hair.

They entered the beauty parlor and Grace’s grandmother greeted them…”Ah, our two young girls about start their journey into womanhood.”  She told them to have a seat while the other stylist and her finished with their customers.  As the sat, Audrey looked around the shop, and what she noticed was a lot of the normal tools she expected to be in a salon, blow dryers, curling irons, and straightening irons were all nowhere to be seen.  Just as she nudged to Grace to ask her about this the old lady called out to the two of them…”Alright, lets have the two of you over here so we can get started.”

The two girls got up and started making their way to the stylists chairs.  While Grace’s grandmother was quite elderly, the other stylist was closer to her early 50’s and Audrey tried to make sure she would be the one doing her hair.   Just as she was about to sit in her chair she made eye contact with the old woman in the mirror…”No Audrey dear, you’re with me.” as she turned the chair towards Audrey.  As Grace walked by her on the way to the younger girls she stuck her tongue out at Audrey.  Audrey frowned as she lowered herself into the old woman’s chair.

After the two girl settled into the chairs, the younger stylist looked at Grace in the mirror…”What are we doing today young lady?” Before Grace could answer her grandmother answered for her…”These girls are taking a big step towards being mature woman today.”  Audrey, still confused as she thought she was just having her hair curled with a curling iron, looked in confusion as the old woman spoke to the younger stylist…”Standard bubblecut and regular rod pattern.  You can use the yellow rods, and a hard to wave kit.”

Audrey didn’t know what this meant as she had never had their hair curled in a salon before.  After she was caped, the seat was leaned back and her hair was given a shampoo, but surprisingly, to her, no conditioner.  Audrey was then surprised when she saw 2″ pieces of hair landing on the cape…”Aaaaaa, why are you cutting my shorter?”  As the old woman kept cutting, Audrey caught a glimpse of Grace in the mirror, just like her Graces even longer hair was being chopped down to what looked like barely a couple of inches, but Grace seemed to be enjoying what was happening.  Audrey’s eye returned to her own reflection.  She couldn’t believe that a month ago she had hair to her waist and she now had bangs above her eyebrows and her ears were now exposed.  The old woman sprayed he head with water again and began to section off her head into smaller sections.

Audrey again glanced over at her friend and sees her stylist rolling tiny curlers onto the top of Grace’s head, and Grace with the biggest smile on her face she had ever seen.  She had never seen anything like it as the woman took just a small section of hair and folded a small piece of paper over it before rolling it tight against her friends head.  Before she could see another one done, she felt a tug on her head, followed by her hair being pulled tight, then suddenly she felt the curler tight against her own head and was surprised that the tightness she felt didn’t go away once the old woman started on the next one.  Now focused on her own reflection, she saw a row of tiny rods starting to go down the center of her head.  Still unsure about what the old woman was doing, all she could think was…’It would be so much easier if she just used a curling iron.’

Audrey couldn’t keep her eyes off what she was seeing in the mirror, rod after rod pulled tight to her head, quickly covering her entire head.  As the last of the rods were in, she noticed that her reflection was no longer that of a teenage girl, but rather that of a much older person.  A glance over at Grace’s reflection and Audrey thought that she was looking at a much older girl.

The old woman began smearing a cream along the hairline, then placed a rope of cotton against the cream.  She then handed Audrey a towel which at first confused her.  The younger stylist walks back from the store room with 2 boxes and places one of them on the counter in front of Audrey.  She had no idea what was in the box as the old lady took 2  bottles out of the box, placing one of them back down.  She saw that the bottle said ‘Neutralizer’, which still meant nothing to Audrey.  She then looked at the box were it came from ‘Quantum Firm Options Alkaline Perm’.  Just then she felt her head getting wet and the smell was becoming unpleasant…”What are you putting on my hair”  she asked the old lady.  The stylist kept on soaking the rods on her head, knowing that there was no reason to stop…”This will help you keep your curls longer.”

Audrey had a plastic bag placed over the rods and taken to sit next to Grace, under a dryer while the perm worked its magic.  She was getting somewhat worried, but when she saw how happy Grace was when she was brought to the seat next to her, she knew everything was going to be just fine.  The girls sat for 30 minutes, not used to the heat, they were both more than happy when the bonnet was lifted off their heads.  Back in the salon chair, they were again laid back so their head was in the sink, both of them grateful as the water hit their head with an instant cooling effect.  After a full 5 minutes of being rinsed, they were again lifted to the upright position and the rods blotted dry.

Audrey saw herself in the mirror and without seeing any difference to he reflection couldn’t figure out what the last half hour was all about.  She was having the same cream spread along her hairline again, followed by another round of cotton coil.  She figured this meant she was about have her head soaked again…”Are you going to put more of that smelly stuff on my head again?”  Both stylists had a laugh at Audrey’s expense.  As she picked up the other bottle off the counter she told her young client “No dear, this is to stop the first part and lock in your new curls.”  Audrey was confused, what did she mean ‘it would lock in the curls’?

Audrey’s head was soon soaked with the other liquid and she was happy that there wasn’t the strong smell that the first one had.  She looked over at Grace who had also had her rods soaked with the second bottle of liquid.  Grace still had a wide grin on her face…”Just a few more minutes Audrey, then we’ll get to see our curly hair.”  By this time Audrey was becoming less enthusiastic about the whole process, again thinking to herself…”No wonder most of these old salons closed.  I can curl my hair by myself in 30 minutes not 2 hours.”

It was only 5 minutes and both girls were again leaned back towards the sinks.  She looked up at the old woman, who saw the young girls frustration with the whole process…”Don’t worry sweetie, this is the last time we have to rinse you, and afterwards you don’t even have to wash your hair for 5 days.”  Audrey thought to herself ‘There’s no way I’m not going to wash my hair for a week, that’s crazy.”

Minutes later the seat was lifted back to its upright position and as Audrey looked over to her friend she saw that the rods were already coming out of Grace’s hair and Audrey was wondering what exactly she was seeing.  The curls on Graces head were sitting tight against her head, something Audrey has never seen before.  After watching several rods being unwound from her friends head she realized that the rods from the back of her own head had been removed, and now the stylist had moved to the sides.  Audrey sat there, biting at her bottom lip as she saw the results, and to her dismay, the results were the exact same as she saw on Grace’s head.  She focused hard as the first side was finished, the curls defying gravity as they stayed tight against her head.

As the stylist turned Audrey to take the rods from the other side of her head, she again saw Grace’s reflection in the mirror, now seeing that her whole head was unbelievably curly, but what surprised her was the happiness she saw on her friends face.  This gave Audrey a big sense of well-being, if her friend can be that happy with her hair that curly then she should be too.  So when the rods started coming out of the top of her head, rather than being totally upset about it, she decided that she should welcome the new her.

She didn’t have long to wait as the last of the rods were taken out, followed by the stylist using a pick to separate the little coils into hundreds of tiny curls.  It took her a few seconds, but a smile started to appear on her face.  Seeing this, Grace asked her friend how much she loved her new curls…”Don’t you love our new look Audrey?  I’ve been wanting to get my hair curled since I started in high school, and now my best friend has hers curled just like mine”  Audrey was happy for her friend, but was surprised at what Grace had said to her…”You knew it was going to be this curly.”  Grace then told her “This is what I’ve always wanted.”

As both girls were let out of the chairs, Mrs Anderson reminded them to thank the stylists, and as they walked to the front  Grace’s grandmother put her appointment book on the counter…”I’ll schedule them both in together for the whole school year.  Every 4 weeks for a trim, and during the holiday break to be re-permed.”  Mrs Anderson told her that would be perfect…”Mildred wanted me to make sure Audrey had her appointments too, so that’s perfect.” Audrey knew that like it, or not, this was her look from now on.

As the summer continued and the choir had more and more shows at various retirement homes across the area, with their new hairstyles, Audrey and Grace had become very popular with the old ladies in the audiences.  They were often told of how much the reminded the old timers of their own daughters many years ago.  This helped make Audrey sure about her new look, as never before had anyone commented her on her waist length hair.

 

To come in part 2:

Audrey’s new school teaches her how to prepare for life as a housewife.  After graduation she puts what she had learned to work as an 18 year old wife and expectant mother.

 

 

 

 

2 responses to “The Great-Aunt (part 1)

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