When I was young I had a good head of hair. I know because people always admired it. My father called it ‘my crowning glory’. It was thick, lustrous and auburn in colour. There were more natural hi-lights in it than in a New England autumn landscape. The hair colour had skipped a generation; my parents and siblings ranged from dark mousy to almost black. Mind you when the boys had an eye to fashion and grew sideburns or a beard, the hair below mid ear level appeared as Ginger! My colour came from my paternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather.
A good haircut once every five or six weeks made the job of grooming very easy. I managed it well over the years. Because of the weight I never had it longer than shoulder length. As I grew older I changed the style to a shorter look. It suited my face.
In my young working life before we had showers, I washed my hair every second day, usually in the evening and once towelled dry I put in rollers to control my curly mop. It was often still damp when I went to bed with the rollers still in place. Pride feels no pain! In those days despite the torture I managed to sleep. I wonder if I tried the rollers now, would I sleep any better. 🙄 Sure it might distract me from my other aches and pains.
The rollers remind me of a family wedding. One of my brothers was getting married to a friend of mine down the country. We, the groom’s family completely booked the local hotel. We arrived the evening before the big day. I was sharing a room with my Aunt Mo. Like at most weddings, we were reunited with relations that we had not seen since the last wedding or funeral, you know how it goes.
Now when our gang get together the craic is mighty. The boys were on pints or shorts. I at that time drank Vodka. The groom had asked his best friend to be best man, but the friend was not due to leave Dublin until the morning of the wedding. Youngest brother, a grooms-man, was lined up to step in if the best man was delayed for any reason. As the evening went on the stories flowed like the drink. It was a typical Irish wedding.
My Aunt had settled herself beside me and she was enjoying the fun no end. I was keeping an eye on youngest brother. If he was needed in the morning to take on the role of best man, a clear head was important. He was on the Vodka. The rounds were coming fast and furious at this stage. I began a game of chess with the glasses. As I finished a drink I set the empty glass in the centre of the table and pulled a full one closer to me. I also played a ‘sneaky’ when everyone was talking. I pulled one of my brother’s glasses my direction as well.
At one stage there were about 4 or 5 glasses of Vodka in front of me. My aunt was getting worried about me and asked where I got all the drink. “Say nothing and watch!” I whispered. Not content, she asked again. I pleaded with her to say no more. It took her some time to realise what I was at. I sank a fair amount of booze that night and it was a long evening. Being residents in the hotel the bar stayed open as long as we wanted it to. My Uncles were telling stories to beat the band and nobody wanted to break up the party.
Finally bedtime was reached and my aunt and I went to our room. She slept and so did I. When she awoke, she looked across the room to find that I was sitting up in bed, bright as a button, putting in my rollers for the hour before we were due to go down to breakfast.
“How can you do that.” she asked.
“Do what?” I said.
“Put those rollers in your hair while your head is pounding.” she said in a whisper.
“My head is not pounding.” I announced cheerfully.
“But you had all that drink last night, WHY? She questioned.
“Remember the best man was not travelling until today and little brother is on standby to step up to the plate if needed.”
“I remember.” she nodded.
“Well it was important that he should have a clear head in case he is needed” I said.
“But what about you?” she asked all concerned.
“I am not part of the wedding party and it would not matter anyway if I had a sore head. Nobody except you saw what I did last night. It was better than causing a fuss.”
My head was fine, I enjoyed a full Irish breakfast and then we prepared for the day ahead.
The best man arrived, the wedding went to plan and I was complimented on my beautiful hair all day.
The autumn glory has almost gone now and my tresses are turning to winter snow. With age I have a new problem. When I waken these days I have somehow adopted a Mohican hairstyle. Why? I wonder. You get to see right to the scalp with the surrounding hair spread like sun rays all around it. Brushing doesn’t fix it, I have to wash my hair before it will sit properly.
Does anyone know if our heads get heavier on the pillow as we age? Does it only happen to women?