- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Age of Aquarius Hair
Hair gone terribly wrong is the subject for the October 19 Fun Monday. Sandy, our host from over at Myanderings , asks us to share some tales of hairstyling disasters. Good timing, Sandy. With the recent premiering of Lifetime's design competition, Project Runway, I've been intending to write this post on my brief foray into the world of fashion, which would include hairstyles. That time fell in the Age of Aquarius--the 1960-70s pop culture heyday for New Age thinking and lifestyles. Of course, the Age of Aquarius culture came to be symbolized by the 1967 rock musical Hair.
The years of 1964-75 were very heady times for me. I graduated from high school, went to college, found satisfying work, "saved" the world :-), and lived in some exciting places. Just what a child of Aquarius would dream of doing. We fancied ourselves to be idealists, nonconforming rebels, and lovers of grand ideas like freedom, humanity, and peace. Just for fun, here's a look at my hairstyles over those ten years. I'll interpret what they probably say about one life in the Age of Aquarius:
Mary Tyler Moore strikes out on her adventure. Her theme song, Love is All Around, says ". . .it's time you start living. . .you're gonna make it on your own." In 1964 I had that Mary Tyler Moore flip thing going. The first photo was the famous high school graduation portrait where all the girls were excited to wear the black drape. In the fall of that year I left home and enrolled in college, my first big step toward independence. In the college ID photo note that the hairstyle got better--first professional cut--while still staying true to Mary Tyler Moore. The black cat eye glasses made me look very studious. I was proud of them because I earned the money to pay for them myself.
Hairstyle goes East Coast--In a letter written from Teaneck, New Jersey to my sister in Kentucky: ". . .Got a real sharp haircut yesterday. It's very, very short in the back but hangs well below my ears in front. That sounds fruity, doesn't it?" I was a sophomore in 1966 and moved out of the dormitory to live with the family of the university baseball coach about then. Coach Hamilton was a pitcher for the New York Yankees as well. When school was out for the summer I went with the family to live near Yankee Stadium, usually just across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Coach's wife and I took that opportunity to study the New York Times fashion pages, shop for the latest clothing styles which we sewed, and get a cutting edge hairstyle that we wouldn't see back in Morehead, Kentucky when the new school year began! I notice that this style is back in fashion--think Kate Gosselin without the pouf. (My preference for boys also went East Coast--the boys from New York and New Jersey who came south for cheaper college tuition--and probably easier entrance requirements--loved to hang around Coach Hamilton's kitchen table. I enjoyed it too! This one was from Rhode Island. . .)
Always the Bridesmaid -- By the late '60s hair was BIG, so big it almost wouldn't fit in a single photo shot! To get this look you had to figure out how to sleep on brush rollers, tease the back to impossible heights and then smooth the top layer until no rats' nests showed. The finished "cage" was held firmly in place with a heavy spraying of Aquanet. By then I'd also given up the black cat eyes for more square eyeglasses, the newest thing. I was studying for an undergraduate double major in English and home economics. Clothing construction was a required course, so I also sewed all my clothes, including this brown wool houndstooth suit. And by that time several of my friends were getting married. I've lost track of the many unfortunate bridesmaid dresses I sewed and wore in the name of friendship! In that photo on the right my pillbox with tulle veiling barely kept its perch on top of the big hair.
"Saving" the World -- by the early 1970s I'd completed college studies and earned a teaching certificate. I taught high school English for one year in Kentucky and was getting the itch to travel and explore the world. So, I loaded up my Anti-establish Mint (what else for a child of the Aquarius?) green Maverick with all my belongings and headed to Clearwater, Florida to teach in a junior high school. That was very satisfying work because my students were potential dropouts whom we were trying to keep in school. My colleagues were friends as well and Florida was an entirely new living experience from Kentucky. Still, I was restless. Wanting to do more, see more of the world. I shared these feelings with a close older friend and she challenged me to "Shut up or step up". So, I did by joining the Peace Corps. I volunteered to teach anywhere in the world and ended up getting assigned to St. Kitts, an island in the Caribbean. Tough work, but someone had to do it!
The photo on the left was for my first passport in 1971. The big hair was gone for good. So was the hairspray. The wind blew constantly on St. Kitts so the best thing to do was not to fight it. Actually, this style was very much like the famous Dorothy Hamill wedge which I adopted a few years later when I returned to the U.S. A great improvement over the helmet head, I think you'd agree. For the three years that I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I lived a much freer, relaxed lifestyle. I gave up a lot of what were once necessities--even my bra at times! :-). The photo on the right was one I used for job-hunting in 1974. I was still in the West Indies, but looking for teaching positions back in the U.S.--by mail. You can see that I've gone back to a more controlled look in anticipation of returning to the U.S. In fact, this may have been one of my unfortunate experiments with home perming--don't we all have these photos! The one thing that always amuses me about this photo is that I actually thought I was cute enough that seeing it would sway a potential employer's hiring decision. Where did that self confidence go. . .
So here you have it. My life in hair from 1965-75. Like everything about the Age of Aquarius, it was a mix of equal parts good and bad. Now be sure to keep your appointments with other Fun Monday hairstylists over the next few days.
("Hair" Image Credit: Lousiana State University Theater)