With the world insane around us and the outcome dubious at best, some of my little trips down memory lane these dark days are things I should be sharing with the world. I giggle unceremoniously when they pop into my mind, because life was great, the world was shiny with great promise, and I was a little shit.
I spent much of my young life with my maternal grandmother (whom I adored) and her wicked sense of humor; so I have no doubt it rubbed off and made me the uncouth person I am today.
I stayed with her when I was in 7th grade while my parents saw after the farm. (That’s another story)
It’s extremely likely the afternoon she met me at the school bus waving two tenners in my face saying, “Don’t bother coming in … I’ve called a cab for you. Ruth’s going to give you a perm,” was a turning point in my life. This was the second time she’d pulled that, but this sparked a dread in me so profound I was physically sick. School pictures were to be made the next day. We’d argued for ten minutes when Cappy roared up the drive in his dazzling bombastic taxi.; just in time to hear her declare, “Your hair looks like it was combed with an egg beater! Now, do what I said and get your ass in the backseat!”
I was so mad my whole body was on fire. My hair was three inches long all over my head; two of which had been permanently corkscrewed to lay flat upon my head. I’d spent one precious hour of my life under a slow, smelly, dripping cloud of thioglycolic acid on my head, one getting 112 precisely wound pin curls, and two under a 1400 degree contraption after being told 42 times by Ruth, “You aren’t done yet.”
Later that night I pulled at it, washed it and it was still three inches long.
The pictures were horrifying and I never forgot.
That summer, she and I were sitting in the back yard. She with her crocheting, and I with my Granddaddy’s old .22 picking flies off the tin roof of the shed; when she fell asleep. I should interject here to say she looooved the Jewel Tea man. She called him Howdy Doody, and always arranged her hair “just-so” every other Tuesday when he came calling with his truck full of goodies.
(I am literally laughing my ass off as I write)
I ran inside to the front door to greet him. He was all smiles as usual and asked if Mrs. O’Toole was in. Of course I was exceedingly helpful concerning her whereabouts, so I showed him to the back yard.
I made sure she was sound asleep before I tied her apron strings to that lawn chair.