At ninety, there is no shame: “the bones and joints” won’t let her set her own hair anyway, so more fun at the hairdresser is in order. My sister sent Mother’s curlers to me. No fair - the memories! Just curlers- as with all "the little things" - a curlers story:
Mother’s parents had property and beauty and love but died young and suddenly, leaving eleven orphans: Frank, Leo, Mike, Tony, Louie; Agnes, Frances, Josie, Mary, Florence, and Albina, our mother, third from the youngest. The Great Depression ruled - children's law went lax; the older ones went out on their own, younger ones ‘ bunked in’ with them, one in an orphanage, and Mother, the heiress, adopted, with baby brother in tow. When she came of age, a good attorney fought for her powers and rights, and won. She met our Father and soon, T\the Southport, Connecticut paper called her “The Southport Belle” in the engagement announcement! And he "Smitty the Flight Mechanic" with pioneer Army Air Corps in Texas, California, London and Morocco - and she making ammunition with Remington Arms served proudly, doing their part - they won over WWII as well!
Mother and Father exulted - peace, love, beauty, and prosperity! They did every single thing with delicious skill and correctness and quality - triumph! Later, change forced a reworking of it all to recoup losses to the success and laughter we enjoyed, but they won through and their way quite an example to us.
Throughout our childhood, heaven was in Mother's sunny kitchen - friends and neighbors often joining in - party plans, holiday cooking and gifts, and hundreds of Christmas cards and to be pretty enough for it all - pounds of beauty accessories, creams, potions, helpers and options spread about - getting and giving the home beauty treatments that were backup to a lady’s visits to fashion and hairdressing! Blessed!
Caring is what's it all about. The curlers reminded me how it was no burden, in that home full of love, to wash, condition and roll the hair and then tuck it under the cap of the table console hair dryer. Of course, with our Dad at the table head - the latest tech was always there, including the first pink push-button kitchen range, and plug-in telephones and more. Caring is what's it all about. Barbers and tailors for Dad and my Brother with the guy-version of the same. Some of my Dad's work left his hands so that it took and hour to get them right, but he loved it.
We'd earned our beauty time. The repairs and enhancements, mixed with the news, and happy girl-talk about health, love, money and more! Beauty experiments that failed completely come to mind, too! Periodically, we’d boil those curlers - germs did not stand a chance in that kitchen. Maybe it's the boiling, and the way I still do the same, that makes me think they earned the story now. Wanting to do her hair just one more time, or his manicure, but glad I did it then.
Thank you, Mother, today, for the privilege of living in your realm, sunlight streaming into the room! The memory is a living prayer and those curlers did their beauty job one last time: they brought the memory, the warmth, then tears, then peace and a smile!