Lil’ Rebel

The days assignment from the Daily Post:


For this week’s challenge, preserve something ephemeral by transforming it. . . .

So let’s define “transcribing” as broadly as possible: you could share an old photo from your childhood album, or snap a photo of a handwritten note from your best friend when you were 11. Record yourself singing a tune that hasn’t made it to iTunes, draw a sketch of your favorite room in your grandparents’ house, or simply write down a memorable conversation that would otherwise be lost to time.

I can’t wait to see what you dig up from your own archives, whether physical or memory-based.

Photo taken by either Jerry or Eileen Williams

We’re living at Andrews Air Force Base. That’s me holding Petee Bird. (How does one spell Petie–Petee–Petey–PT?)

In this photo, as well as others, I’m pictured in either ringlets or French braids. Who was my hair stylist? My mother, of course.

Photo likely taken by Eileen Williams

What do I remember about having my hair done by my mother? Nothing good.

I remember the tugs and pulls and pink Dippity-Do gel as I sit on the counter next to the bathroom sink and mom, who, instead of using the Dippity-Do on my little forehead hairs, is spitting on her fingers and then spreading her spit over those wispy hairs and then pinning them up to shape them into “spit curls.”

Why she didn’t use the Dippity-Do on them like she did the rest of my hair I’ll  never know.

I remember the headaches I’d endure for hours afterward because when she did my hair in French braids she pulled my forehead hairs so tight.

 I hated the time it took my mom to make me look the way she felt I ought to look and, after we moved to Alaska, I eventually found a pair of scissors and rebelled. I cut my eye lashes and eyebrows and my hair. Mom never “styled” my hair again.

I know my mother felt what she was doing was giving me her love and care when she attempted to make me into the image of her perfection. I did not miss her “attentions” like I’m sure she wanted me to. Kids just don’t have the same priorities as grown-ups do, then or now.

Years later, when in my late twenties, I went to a hairstylist who said, “Look at these crazy cowlicks! I’ll bet your mother used to French braid your hair.”

That told me I must not be the only little girl who had to endure such hair-styling rituals.

Now I’m a grandma looking back over photos of my childhood. I  wonder how my children feel about things I did with them—for them—things they might hold resentments of that I did in my attempts to be a great mother. Ah well, my heart was in the right place.

So, here’s a cheer (white wine, by the way,) to all the women who survived spit curls and ringlets and might still bear the scars of a cowlick or two!

And here’s a cheer to every young mother trying her hardest to be the bestest . . . especially when her little darlings refuse to be perfect little angels.

And here’s to all the lil’ rebels (who are drinking grape juice, just so you know,) who do their best to thwart their mother’s best attempts to show their love, whether it’s spit curls or a hug in front of school chums or screaming too loud for you at your sports events.

Love endures.

Who’s ready for a refill?


6 thoughts on “Lil’ Rebel

  1. Delightful reading. And I love your french braids, but I don’t doubt you about the ouch effect. Never heard of it causing cowlicks. Perhaps if more mothers knew that, the braiding would be a bit less tight. Love the post.


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