I will never forget my first trip to the barber.
I was eight years old and had long blonde hair. From memory, I had never had a haircut and used to beg Mum to let me get my long hair cut.
Mornings were a nightmare with Mum pulling and tqisting my hair into plaits. Sometimes two plaits and sometimes a braid wrapped around my head. It was a very unpleasant experience as Mum had bo patience and did bot care if I cried or said ouch because she was hurting me. All she said was “be quiet Jennifer!” It will take longer if you moan.
Well it was not her head was it. I should have had her charged with brutality.
I pestered Dad to let me get my hair cut. It was no use arguing with Mum. If I had short hair I would be able to come and help you with the sheep a lot quicker I told him.
At long last Mum agreed and it was time to go to the hairdresser. In my naive little mind, the hairdresser was the one who cut small girls hair.
I never in a million years thought what happened would happen.
The day arrived, I was excited as I pictured myself with a lovely stylish cut, just like my mates at school had.
I wanted a fringe, and a nice cut that did not look like a bowl cut.
Perhaps my hair would even go curly, I foolishly thought.
We headed for the small town, about a half hour drive from the farm.
Mum turned off at a smaller town. I knew the smaller town did not have a hairdresser and wondered why she was going there. I said nothing though, as a child was to be seen and not heard according to Mum.
Next minute we were stopped in front of the Barber shop. Neither of my brothers were with us so I was a bit confused as to why we were there. Maybe Mum was making an appointment for one of the boys.
Out you get, she told me. I hung my head down and followed her into theBarber shop.
It stunk like tobacco andsweaty old men. Barbers back then also sold tobacco, pipes and other kinds of paraphenalia.
Up in the chair the Barber yelled. I was so small that he had to bend over douvle to reach my head.
Out of the chair he yelled. He put a large box on the chair and kind of threw me up onto it.
He then prooduced a pair of hand operated clippers and started to hack away at my hair.
Tears streamed down my face as the clippers pulled and tugged at my already sore head. Sore from years of Mum pulling at it.
I could not imagine what I was going to look like. I just wanted to die.
After what seemed like forever, he asked Mum what she thought. She said it looked nice and neat. There was no mirror so I could not see what I looked like. All I know is that my poor head was sore and now also very cold.
The Barber yanked me out of the chair and stood me on the floor.
I was kind of stuck to the spot. I feared what I must look like. Too afraid to move and go outside in case someone saw me.
Mum asked how much and was told 6 pence would do. She was happy with that.
It would have cost at least a shilling at the hairdresser she told him. What a bargain.
We duly went home and faced my siblings. They called me all kinds of names. None of them very kind at all.
I dreaded going to school the next day. My hair was short back and sides, just like my brothers hair.
Sure enough, the next day at school I was the laughing stock. One kind teacher took me aside and told meI looked very nice and not to worry about what others said.
Another girl, who had had nits, and had her hair shaved, befriended me. It did not seem so bad then.
Gradually I got used to the haircut, kids seemed to stop teasing me and best of all, Mum no longer had a reason to pull my hair.