Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesdays With Rita and Fairy Knots

Girls love to do hair and most of them love to have their hair done; at least when they get older.

There's an old folk tale that if your hair is all tangled when you get up in the morning it is because you made the fairies angry and they came and tied your hair all in knots during the night. Makes sense to me.

I can just see a little girl with long blond hair and her mother trying to get the knots out while telling her, "Well, you shouldn't have gotten run around in the garden and made the fairies mad."

This photo is of my mother doing her grandmother Nellie Martin's hair. I wonder who enjoyed it more. The funny thing is her sister, Marie, standing to her right became a beautician. The smells of a beauty parlor still take me back to her salon in the tiny town of Minneloa, Kansas. It was on the street behind their house and I can even picture the path worn from their back door to the salon.

The other two children are my Aunt LaVerne and Uncle Harold. There were two more boys yet to come. I'm not sure where this picture was taken. It wasn't Nellie's house so it must have been my grandparent's house and it is the late 1920s.

My memories of having my hair done are varied. I have very fine, thin hair and Mom was always doing it up in pin curls or rollers. Maybe I'll show you my school photos next week. Anyway, the other option was to take me to my grandfather the barber and have it cut very short and straight. We always joke about a bowl being used. The good thing about that is he always had Juicy Fruit gum in the barber shop cabinet or at least a nickle so I could go two doors down to the grocery and get some Cracker Jacks.

How many memories can you come up with connected to hair? As you can see, one memory leads to another and another and another. That is the "beauty" of writing memoir.

The memories never end.


  1. It's funny I came across your post today, there has been a lot of talk about hair in my house the past few days. I have a really short pixie cut right now but have just decided to grow it super long(O: There is nothing more soothing than having your hair brushed! My girls and I have decided to only cut our hair on our birthdays until it reaches the long length we want. What a great photo!!

  2. What a great picture! I've heard that tale before. Then there's the classic saying where everything children don't want to eat (bread crusts, etc.) will make their hair curly if they eat them.

  3. Rita, your photo and account about hair reminded me of a hair story of my own. My hair has always been straight as string, and to make it curly when I was a little girl, my mother gave me a home permanent. I couldn’t wait to see those lovely curls. Alas, it didn’t work. I was so disappointed. All that mess and trouble for nothing. As it turned out, no home permanent ever worked. I didn't get those lovely curls until I was older and finally went to a salon.

  4. Love to see the more candid shots from long ago. I had long straight hair in grade school and girls would want to come my hair during story time. The comb felt so good on my back.

  5. How wonderful to have these pictures from the past!!! I envy you! I am from Cuba and my parents had to leave everything behind when we came to this Country. You are blessed to have these wonderful snippets from the past!


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