Archive for April, 2012

Short Cuts

April 5, 2012

by Florence Ondré

(with thanks to Carol R.)

Mother always wanted my hair cut short.  I wanted it long.

As a child, it was not a time when there was money for salons. The beautician was my mother and the setting for all cuts was at home in the kitchen.  When hair grew, as it was won’t to do, out came the towels and combs and scissors.

Like when knives were taken from drawers to chop up meat for stews or loaves, there was no choice; no asking the dinee, “What’ll it be Ma’am?”

Whatever was available showed up on one’s plate or head.

Efficiency and speed created an early Edward Scissorhands in the form of my mom.  Make it easy, quick and economical.  Those were the necessary criteria for all her culinary and tonsorial forays.

In my child’s mind, I felt it all punitive; which in many cases of other child rearing experiences with her, were.

But all I could feel was ugly and less fed and I have the scrawny chopped hair pics to prove the passing years.

In my senior year of high school, mere days before the yearbook photos were to be taken, she cut my hair so short, I looked like a boy with big eyes and a long gangly neck.

My yearbook-over-the-shoulder-eyes pose was a fragile attempt to make a hair of hope into reality.  I thought that I looked tentative and a bit sad.

All the other girls looked prom-primped and more fortunate with their page boys & pony tails.

After graduation, as the chop-shop do grew a tiny bit, I took myself to the photo salon at Maas Brothers, a department store where I worked part time in the glove department, and had some glam shots done.

With borrowed fur shrug and my hair pulled  and tugged into hair-sprayed-little-face-framing wisps, the effect was closer to the me I wanted to be…pretty.

My eyes were focused to the camera; not almost-shy, hiding from the lens.

As womanly as I could teen-agedly manage and with some make-up, I thought I looked a bit intense…and intriguing too.

These turned out to be the photos I took with me to New York City, when I arrived to begin my new life, on my own as an actress. My self-made head shots went with a resume that was a blank page waiting to be written upon.

Over the years, each and every time I saw my mother, no matter what changes in our lives had commenced, she could always  be counted on to say, “you need a haircut.” or some version of those words, which made me almost jump with anxiety; looking for her to whip out a pair of shears for the old hacking.

Mostly what those words brought up for me were, ‘you’re not good enough as you are.’

A combination of sadness and anger flared at every meeting.

I let my hair grow down to my tushy.  I modeled and danced and acted in plays; wearing wigs if they needed short-haired characters.  I still own wigs in every hair color and style.

And, even when I had my own children, my hair was as I liked it…long.

The time and space just before Mom’s passing, when I took care of her, became a bit reversed in roles.  I endeavored to put aside old hurts and be as kind and loving and compassionate as possible.

I made sure she had things she enjoyed, like her weekly hairdresser spots,  her mani and pedicures, soft, colorful matching clothes, a nice cup of afternoon tea and each day, we’d play games or cards together; talking of earlier times; listening and sharing meals she liked.  At night, I tucked her into bed with love.

The last evening I spent with my mother, before she took her leave of this life, after a hard road of recovery from a stroke, she gazed up at me from her pillow as I bent to kiss her goodnight and she lifted her hand to touch a stray tress which had fallen across my forehead. I laughed, “Yeah, Ma, I know.  You think I need a haircut.”

“No. That’s not what I was going to say,” she replied, as she gently petted my hair, tucking the strand behind my ear, holding my face in her cupped palms, “I was just thinking how beautiful you are….how much I love you,” she said softly, smiling up at me.

The breath left me and the air hushes with this long held truth.

A sacred moment passed as she drifted off to sleep and I turned down the lights and quietly left her room.

In that healing moment, I knew we were complete.

Five years after her transition from this world, was the year of my 50th high school reunion.  In preparing for the occasion, I was checking in with some of my classmates, looking at old photos which had been posted on facebook, where I found one stand out pic.

It was of this gal who I aways thought of as well to do and rather of the elite popular group. She still lived in our home town with her family.

The last time I saw her at school she was brunette, petite and attractive.

The first class reunion, she was the same…only blonde, and here, years later, she had posted a few of her growing up photos.  One was of her in elementary school days; showing her with a bow in her hair and radiant smile on her perfectly pretty face.

Her caption underneath the image read…”One of my mother’s home hair cuts. Look at the bangs.  They’re all crooked.”

I looked closer and laughed out loud.

They were crooked!

As lopsided as mine had been when my mom butchered my bangs.

Holy Smokes!  What a revelation!

I thought I was the only one.

And here we were, all this time later, having hidden secrets revealed, myths busted and, in reality, moms who did the best for their girls with what they had in times that had their own ups and downs.

All this time later, I’ve learned…..short cuts can be pretty long.


Text Of The Times

April 4, 2012

“I can’t call, I’m driving”


Quote For The Day

April 4, 2012

“Memory is a complicated thing; a relative to truth but not its twin.”

By  Barbara Kingsolver

Tribute To Aunt Jetty

April 3, 2012

The beautiful face of unwavering love who taught essential lessons:

How to really hear the music, sing your own song  and remember to laugh and have fun!


Day In Haiku

April 3, 2012

“N & O”

Two little letters

Carrying a ton of weight

Yet lightening souls

Question Of The Day

April 3, 2012

Who have you carved your self to be in the tree of life?

Quote For The Day

April 3, 2012

“Edges. Places you notice which need heeding in order to honor sacred space and stay green and grow.”

Florence Ondré

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