Memories of our county – My first perm

Nannie Maude Reynolds shares memories and thoughts about Winston County’s past.

Just the exorbitant price of a haircut brings back so many memories. My Daddy used to cut hair on Sunday mornings. We had Sunday services at Liberty Baptist church in the afternoon on Sundays. Men from all over the community came and got a haircut. My daddy used his belt to strap two straight chairs together for cutting children’s hair.  This made the height just right for the barber. I don’t think he would have charged anything for cutting hair, but I do remember some of the men giving him a dime for cutting their hair. Mama always cut our hair and she would shingle it up the back and leave it long near our face. I hated that cut, but lo and behold, that style is back in fashion now.
I remember my first perm. I must have been around 9 years old at the time. We were going to school at Liberty Crammer School. The high school students all rode their buses from home and then they changed buses at Liberty and Walton Ingram drove his bus on to Noxapater High School with them. Dot and I caught the High school bus and rode to town with him. We walked from the school down to Pauline Boswell’s Beauty Shop. She gave us a permanent in our hair that day. It took all day long. We were hooked up to some kind of electric contraption which was attached to the electric socket in the wall. The curlers were on the ends of cables attached to a pole. Pauline rolled each curl on  curlers and then attached one of those cables to each curl.  It resembled an octopus with tentacles. She used some kind of solution while curling it and when she finished winding them, she turned the contraption on. It began to get hot and smoke rose from the curls. An odor filled the air and the hysteria welled up in our hearts. We almost lost our breath and we were afraid we would lose our hair or it would be burnt off, or it would smell like that forever. We had to sit under that contraption for what seemed like an eternity. I am sure it was only a few minutes. We got to a certain stage in the perm and Pauline allowed us to go out on her front porch and eat our lunch. Mama had packed us a lunch because she knew it would take all day. We sat with our feet hanging off the porch and ate our biscuits and sausage. Before time for the bus to leave to go back to Liberty that afternoon, we were permanently curled. We must have looked like Little Orphan Annie. We thought we were the most beautiful girls in the world. We had to go to the field and pick cotton when we got home. Mama told on us that she heard us talking and one of us said, “You go to the house and empty the cotton sacks this time and look at yourself and I will go next time and we can both see ourselves in the mirror.”  I wish I could remember for sure how much it cost to get those perms, I think it was $3.00 but I am not really sure. Mama sent the money by us but we never looked at to see how much there was in the little sack. Dot had charge of the money. Come to think of it, I wonder where they got the money to give us perms.   There are things in our lives that we want so badly. It seems that we just cannot live without them. However, as time passes and we get older and more mature, we realize that we did not need those things at all. We come to realize what is important and what is trivial. The Bible says wisdom comes with age.  However, I have age and I still love my perms.