Its Summertime and those of you who have followed my writing for the past 6 years know that I tend to avoid serious topics during the Hot fun in the Summer time months.
I mean, there are 9 months that I can devote to our bumbling political arena, our apathetic approach to Humankind and Mother Earth, our failing Education system, our Horrible prison system, immigration, elder and child abuse, the plight of homeless, Veterans we never thanked for their Service. The uncurable Cancer (unless you are a celebrity or ten percenter) Health care nightmares. Do I need to go on…
Damn, she’s making ME depressed.
Today’s topic, Students (in my best Teacher Voice) is Hair!
As a Black woman, I have struggled with my hair for as long as I and my Mother can remember.
Blessed with that long thick good stuff ( maternal granny was part Native American…hey heard They are getting reparations And Casinos…better send that swab off)
My early years were spent dreading the daily letsfixyourhairforschoolritual.
It seemed like hours of torture. Transforming my thick, straight but a little kinky (Dad’s folk were pure Africans) tresses into 2 pigtails (braids).
And every two weeks, like clockwork, I was subjected to Hair washing Day. Usually preceded by a dose of castor oil and liquid Vitamin D. Mom kept us cold free.
Gurl, get that shampoo, a towel, the big tooth comb and that jar of grease, and get yourself in the kitchen.
Words cannot convey what followed.
She meticuously lathered, scrubbed, rubbed, squeezed, massaged (sometimes gently scratched my scalp) my disobedient locks into submission.
Once dripping wet and still comb-able, She would grab, tug, pull, part,and grease my unruly hair.
Water ran in large rivulets down my forehead, back of neck…hmm is that what water boarding is like.
Ouch, you hurting me.. was my frequent response.
Gurl, you know how thick your hair is. And you ain’t tenderheaded. So be quiet and go get the Straightening Comb.
Every girl of color reading this, probably felt a quickening in her heart with the mention of the SC.
And I am not talking about the modern, cute electric temperature controlled Hot comb..
This SC was a black handled , iron toothed, white smoke generating, grease residue, smelly, angryredifleft on the stove burner to long, Monster.
Hold that ear. Sit up. Sit still. Stop crying. Ain’t nobody hurting you. You want to have curls on Sunday don’t you.
Bend your head.Gotta get to that kitchen now. (aka the nappy nap)
Silent tears coursed down my dark brown cheeks.
It is Saturday afternoon. I have missed all the Good Cartoons, a fierce neighborhood jump rope competition, flying through the air time on my beloved Schwinn, and endured my brother’s unmerciful taunts.
And aged several years.
But, finally it is over and the cracked hand mirror reveals, long, jet black, gleaming straight tendrils..just like Shirley Temple…
Toni Morrison and The Bluest Eye knew exactly what she was talking about.
At age 20, I flew the coop and landed in Sunny Los Angeles. My first stop, a Barber.
Cut it all off. Down to the baby hair, Thank you.
Comments welcome! Thanks for Reading/Sharing!