Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hey, Everybody.....Edna Is Combing Lois's Hair...Edna Is .........

The marvelous and brilliant Pearl of  "Pearl, Why You Little...."  left me a comment on my last blog which forced me to stop what I was doing (getting ready to clean stinky cat boxes.....this is Sunday and Flo is off) and immediately put on my Blogging Hat (the one with the upswept brim and just a touch of Maribou feather) and muse about the scene her comment brought to mind.

For any of you who missed my last blog or Pearl's comment,  I had mentioned that it wasn't till I broke my hip that I discovered that I was not as fiercely independent as I thought, and that I really adored being waited on hand and foot.   And Pearl said the following:

  " What I'd really like is someone to fix my hair, daily. Do you think that will ever happen? 
    I  can't imagine breaking a hip. I may find out some day. I turned 50 just a month ago and have been       reflecting on the differences in the ages that I've already been. What will come?"

Pearl,dear.... I cannot answer your question, but this one is for you)

I had an instant flashback to a moment in circa 1939......Lois is sitting on a chair in the kitchen of our house in Philly trying desperately to disappear or be somewhere else.  My two best friends, Sylvia and Stella are standing against the wall waiting for me to walk to school with them and wishing they were somewhere else.   My sainted Mamma is stoically combing my unruly locks trying to get the curly stuff to be smooth and flat in a few places and probably wishing she were somewhere  else. (I was an unattractive child, fat and clumsy and totally unable to make my hair look like anything but a tangled mop....hence my Mom tried to make things a little better.....that is how it all began)

And then it happens....what we all have been dreading.  Enter my Father, brows furrowed in rage stomping heavily into the kitchen  screaming, "When are you going to make the Brat comb her own hair.....expletive, expletive."  Whereupon (get help me.....honest truth) he leaps onto a chair under the kitchen window, opens it and leans out  bellowing to all of
West Philadelphia,  "Edna is combing Lois's hair, Edna is combing Lois's hair!" 

I sincerely believe that he believed that this performance would so shame me and my Mother that we would immediately reform.  She would drop the comb, I would pick it up and start managing my coiffure from then on and  we would all burst into song......(I do not know what song would be appropriate)....and perhaps dance.  That did not happen.  We all stared into space and pretended we were somewhere else.  My father, defeated but still fuming, would stomp out and we could breathe again.
(incidentally, I never found out what the neighbors thought of this...but then, they always looked at me a little funny..)

This scene took place most mornings for several years........except for those periods when my father was so permanently enraged at us over something or other that he was not speaking at all that week or month. .  (Well, I confessed up front in my profile that I was from a dysfunctional family).  It might have continued into my teens and twenties had I not desperately figured out a solution.  One day, after gym, I was removing my stinky gym suit and staring in despair at my sweat soaked locks when it occurred to me that, if I were to get my shoulder length hair cut into a short bob, I could probably just tousle it into place with my fingers since it was so obstinately curly that it did whatever it wanted anyway. 

So, I did.

And I wish I could say that we all lived happily ever after, but that would not be quite true.  However,
West Philadelphia would never again have to hear :  "Edna is combing Lois's hair."


  1. LMAO !!!!!

    This almost sounds like a scene from my bizarre childhood. Except my father would never yell. My mother would make me sit on the floor, her knees CLAMPED around my head and she would get the brush and pull and yank and try to control those unruly locks of mine..all the while I would be screaming like a banshee. And when she'd get pissed enough and sick of my screaming and crying (it freaking HURT !!!) she'd smack me in the head with the hairbrush. Hard.

    No wonder I'm like I am...

  2. Jeeeez... while I'm glad to read that other people had dysfunctional families... it always amazes me to what degree!

    My Mother made a remark that my elbows were ALWAYS dirty ... So my Father grabbed me -- took a brillo pad and Ajax? was it? whatever it was and scrubbed my skin off..

    Mother also decided I needed bangs and he got the hedge shears and did so. I cried a lot when I was a kid... sigh

    He never hollered much just slapped the compound crap outta me.. if I sassed... not allowed to ask why or what or stuff like that...

    oh, baruther...

    Like your blog - stumbled upon it while reading The Blog Fodder - forget where I found his... ;)

  3. oh, I just saw Murrmurrs ... that's where I found you both... cracks me up...

  4. Wow. I guess you weren't kidding about your family. Glad your mother didn't let that stop her from at least trying to help style your hair.

  5. Such a thing wouldn't have made me look at you funny, but at your father. Gads.

  6. My curls were my childhood burden. Every morning my mother would sit on the edge of the tub, imprison me between her knees, and comb in concert with my cries and screams. it hurt. I wonder if she realized how much. I sure hated those curls!
    Daisy's Barbara

  7. Your father's not here or I would tell him!!!!
    If it was hard to get through your curls, God bless your mom for trying to make you look nice...The bitter sweet life of my dear Lo..It hurts me,,I would like to think your father knows that through everything you turned out to be the warmest, giving, most loving person I know!

  8. Ouch! Well you did survive and turned out very nice in the end. I'm not much on the hair combing issue myself since I hardly have any... :)

  9. Our Mum's did try didn't they. Mine gave me a perm called 'Twink' we couldn't get the comb through my hair when it was done and she had to cut it all out. I can laugh now, but at the time I was devastated. lol

  10. Ah, Lo. The casual cruelty of our childhood lingers, doesn't it?

    I'm so glad you figured out your hair. We are not all glamour pusses with the ability to mimic the fashions of the day (ADORE your reference to Maribou feathers, by the way!!), and discovering our own beauty is our first step away from who we are told we are and who we actually are.

    You're a dear person, Lo. I'm so glad to have met you.



  11. Too funny! My Mother was always about 'improving for society' and also CLAMPED my head between her knees whilst giving me French braids (No, not that big on in the back -- these started at my eyebrows and were barely visible at that point and would then curve over my head before hanging loose.) When the school had a nit problem, of course, we all had to get the Fitch and that tiny little comb. She'd sit outside (God forbid one would land on her immaculate floor) and run the comb. Then, the brush, Whack! "Heartache, that's what you give me!" Whack! "Heartache!" in rhythm, until I was fit fit for society. Maybe, we're just all from dysfunctional families??? Come visit when you can!

  12. Well a big thanks to the wonderful Pearl for triggering of the memory that led to this blog post and a big thanks to you Lo for posting it. I've had long hair for most of my life but oddly the shorter it is the harder it is to control. I can just imagine your dad shouting out the window, thank you for sharing this with us.