My grandma used to love to play with hair! She’d see wispy locks or curls dangling by your ear or your eyelashes and she just couldn’t help herself. She’d reach right over and pinch your hair between her fingers and get busy.
Twirling the hair back and forth she’d move it behind your ear or in front if that looked better to her. If it was covering your eyes, she’d push it up to the side and try to get it to stay, like her fingers had hairspray built right into them.
Sometimes it would stay, but more often than not it popped right back to where it was from the start. Either way, she always looked satisfied after having had the chance to play with hair.
She’d typically say something like…
“I just love how your hair looks when it gets a little longer and you let it grow. You could just do this a little with it…see? Look how nice that looks… how pretty.”
When I wrote the song Carry On, inspired by the things my grandma used to say to me, I added “how pretty” in the first verse. The whole line goes: “twirling my hair she’d say how pretty.”
Grandma used to be a “beautician” as she called it, and she loved to talk!
I always thought the word beautician was such a fancy name for a person that knows how to cut hair, but it’s what grandma called herself. As far as I know she never actually worked in any salon or anything like that.
My Dad told me she used to have people come over to the house and she’d cut their hair. She loved to talk too, so it was a perfect job for her. She could do hair and chat about everything going on in their lives and her’s. Friends were incredibly important to her, and she always told me to keep in touch with people.
“She loved to talk” is also a lyric in Carry On.
I can remember her cutting my hair just a couple of times. Here’s a picture of her in my kitchen getting ready to give me a quick trim. Look at the size of those scissors! I’m thinking she borrowed my mom’s fabric cutting scissors. It sure looks like them.
Grandma cutting my hair
Can you see My dog Skipper? He’s right behind the scissors, kinda like a hidden picture from a Highlights magazine!
Notice the long phone cord hanging over the chair too. That thing used to get stretched into the bathroom right around the corner, especially if my older sister wanted to talk on the phone to a friend in private. I can remember my Grandma laughing at that when she’d see her doing it. But she could relate I’m sure.
My Dad has told me many times that Grandma always had the phone up to her ear while she was doing housework like ironing my Grandpa’s underwear (no joke!) and baking. One of his friends came over once, and for some reason they took the phone apart and a bunch of flour spilled out!
To read more stories behind the lyrics of Carry On: click here
More hair stories:
When I first started this blog, I wrote a whole 3 part series about various hair stories from when I grew up in the early 1980s and 1990s. One of the objects that inspired one particular story is a pair of my grandma’s old hair cutting scissors. This is how I know those aren’t her hair cutting scissors above. Here’s the post related to that: Two Hair Stories: my Grandma the beautician and lice in the school library (Part 1)
These are the other hair stories in that series:
Three Bad Hair Day Stories: Say it… Feathered on the side? (Part 2)
This one has some super funny stories and pictures of me in it!
Why the comb in my Dad’s pocket reminds me to save money (Part 3)
This one has all my old school pictures in it!
What’s a phrase someone special to you said to you once and it’s stuck with you over the years? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below.