Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mirror, Mirror . . .


Yes
No











Remember the 'fashion' dolls of the fifties?
The straight-standing, frozen featured, supposedly beautiful dolls?
That creative people crocheted or knitted clothes for.
Or sunk into cakes.
Those dolls.
Well, besides being known for arriving 'without wardrobe', they were also known for their pre-styled, fine, beautiful hair.
Hair that was not comb-able.
That stuck together in a tight ball and defied any efforts at style change.
I know that hair well.
Because I was born with the same stuff.
Fine.
Soft.
And matted permanently together.
Candy-fluff hair, my Mom called it.
Okay, 'candy fluff', I loved.
Candy fluff on my head?
Not so much.
Every morning, and several times throughout the day, Mom would come at me with a comb.
Or some other implement guaranteed to make my hair behave.
None of them worked.
All of them . . . hurt.
Mom: “Diane, hold still! I'm almost done!”
Me: “Waaah!”
And so it went.
As I grew, my hair . . . changed. Subtly.
Oh, it was still fine and soft.
But it no longer stuck together in one fuzzy lump.
No.
Now it stuck together in several fuzzy lumps all over my head.
Sigh.
Mom: “Diane, hold still! There's just one more!”
Me: “Waaah!”
Finally, by about age eight, I outgrew the 'fuzzies'.
But made another important discovery.
Yes, my hair no longer matted together, defying all attempts at style.
And it was now longer and straighter.
But . . . it still hurt to comb it.
Yes. I was a hair wuss.
Mom: “Diane, hold still! Your hair will look beautiful!”
Me: “Waaah!”
Finally, in frustration one day, she uttered the fateful words, “Diane, don't you know you have to suffer to be beautiful?”
I stared at her. “Really?”
She nodded sagely.
Wow.
I put it together.
If I suffered, I would be beautiful.
It was that simple.
This went on for several years.
Every day, I suffered.
Every day, I looked in the mirror.
Nope. Same face as yesterday.
Finally, at age fifteen, I challenged my mother's hypothesis.
Me: “Mom! I've suffered! Why aren't I beautiful!?”
Mom (In true 'Mom' form): “Oh, honey, you ARE beautiful!”
Right. Waaait. I see where this is going . . .
Moving ahead several years . . .
I was combing my granddaughter's fiery red, naturally curly hair.
ME: “Kyra, hold still! I'm almost done!”
Kyra: “Waaah!”
Me: “Don't you know you have to suffer to be beautiful?”
She stares at me. “Really?”
And so the story continues . . .

17 comments:

  1. Mine was long and tightly curled.....snags galore....every morning the same thing. Now it's short, thin and flat....I'd give just about anything to have the hair of my youth back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Totally understand. We're just never satisfied!

      Delete
  2. But you were so CUTE!!! Candy fluff is a really good description of your hair, I think. My hair was straight and heavy and never seemed to tangle. I never knew to be grateful for that until now! Goodness knows I've complained plenty about its other drawbacks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Straight and heavy?! I'd die for hair like that!!!

      Delete
    2. You're very kind, but would you like me to insert a few complaints here about its other drawbacks? hee hee

      Delete
  3. Oh the story does continue; and i have had similar experiences with hair. I also have a curly red headed grand daughter that hates her hair brushed.
    Blessings for the memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LeAnn! Brushes up! Here's to little girls' hair!

      Delete
  4. You didn't need to suffer, you've always been beautiful.
    My firstborn had the same matted fine candy fluff baby hair. When she was three a friend said to cut it all off close to her head and it would grow back stronger, with no more tangled matting. It was summertime, so I tried it. Gave her a close to the head haircut, leaving her hair maybe a half inch long all over. it worked! The hair grew out beautifully. Golden blonde with a slight wave to it.
    The way to brush long curls that have a tendency to tangle is to start at the bottom. Hold each strand so it doesn't pull against the scalp and untangle with brush or comb, then work your way gradually up the hair until each strand can be brushed from scalp to end. It takes time so get comfy and chat while you do it. Detangling spray helps as does conditioning shampoo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm almost sure my Mom tried that technique. Bottom to the top. I just know I started howling the minute I saw the brush. True story! :)

      Delete
  5. I totally had that doll. I also had candy fluff hair.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ah yes I used to run and hide when mom got the comb or brush out!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh yes...

    And I love the toilet paper cozy picture. Hahaha...that's awesome

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember those? We had one in every bathroom!

      Delete
  8. I had three sisters, and my mom solved the drama of hair combing by getting us all "pixie cuts." Not exactly becoming, but it is hard for hair that short to tangle!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have always wanted one of these! Thanks for writing about it! Thanks for the article! It was a lot of good info.I love it.

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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