About Me

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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)


Jan n Jer said...

You really have an interesting life Faye..I can totatly relate to all your hair styles...I think I've had all the same styles. Thanks for the memories and Happy FM

Swampwitch said...

Ve-reeeeeintereeeeesting !

The Dorothy Hamill Wedge? Oh how I loved that cut...so much, in fact, that I still have a version of it now.

gracie said...

wow, I guess hair dos can tell alot about someone, yours says interesting. like reading your post and seeing the pictures - grace

cynicalgirl said...

I loved the Dorothy Hamill wedge, too, but my hair didn't like to cooperate. It's amazing how we can tell when a picture was taken just by looking at the clothes and hair.

wendishness said...

Wow Faye...those aren't disasters, they're the epitome of cuteness! I am really enjoying your contributions though, and the stories that go with them.

Gattina said...

Although we live so far away from each other, the hairdos apparently were the same over all these years, lol ! I too had this blown up hairs !

Pamela said...

I've been tHAIR with you, too. My favorite was the Dorothy Hamill wedge!

Debs said...

I once had a perm that was so disastrous I didn't dare go out for 10 days. It didn't look much better after that time, but I'd recovered a little from the shock.

Kim said...

WOW, it looks like we all need to go back to that Dorothy Hammill cut, must have been a flattering one for many face shapes.

Did anyone ever really look good in the 60's and 70's? Maybe if you didn't wear glasses! Good times.

Faye said...

janis--you're right, I think we probably shared some bad hairstyles. Would you agree that the big bubble/helmet head of the late 60s was the worst? :-)

swampy, pamela & cynicalgirl--more Dorothy Hamill wedge fans? It's always been my all time favorite except for that time when Princess Diana's do was the thing. My friend Ruth Ann and I used to drive almost two hours one way to get our wedge cut by this one stylist who was the wedge master. He could cut the back so there was absolutely no line of demarcation between the stacked layers. All you had to do was wash and blow dry. Never mind that he was a jerk to his clients.

gracie--you're exactly right. Our hairstyles and fashion choices are pretty good barometers for what's going on in our life at the time. As proof of that, check out Swampy's schoolmarm collage!

wendishness--thanks. I enjoy both writing and reading those "memory lane" posts. Good way to get to know blog buddies better. BTW, I'm going to steal your "Q & A" post idea soon. Thought it was great.

gattina--I'm sure in the U.S. we've always copied both hair and fashion trends from the European runways. No surprise we look alike, except that you're usually first!

debs--I did have an embarrassing photo of myself when I did a home perm and red hair coloring on top of each other. Luckily it didn't happen in the decade of hair for this post so I didn't have to show it! :-)

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

Hee!! You're hair was exactly like my beloved Aunt Beth -- another flower child as yourself! Only in the mid-'70s she went RED for a time!!

KittyHawk said...

Beautiful pics, Faye. How come I've never seen them before?

Sandy said...

I love your hairstyles! I well remember the brush rollers and the aqua net and the stupid curler caps with the ring at the top to sleep in.

Thanks for playing.

The Church Lady said...

Faye - I adore all of your past hair styles! I remember the Dorothy Hamill wedge too. Who didn't love that cut? Thanks for sharing your hair memoirs!

p.s. My daughter's middle name is Mae also. It is a family name.

m (the misanthrope) said...

Oh my friend, how fabulous! I think it's amazing how all of those '60s and '70s coifs are coming back with a vengeance. I was pondering one of those short in the back/long in the front 'dos myself a year or so ago, but my hairstylist gently and tactfully informed me that *ahem* my face isn't the right shape and she steered me towards a very flattering razor cut, which I am thrilled with ;-)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your support and your wonderful comments about my news. Hahaha, chocolate can totally be an appetizer!! Thank you!

(PS - I never replied to the comment you left about my second Creative Writing assignment - about the football game-day experience. I actually took the worst things I've ever experienced at a game and put 'em all together *grin* It is fun to attend a live performance of sports, music or whatever. But I do find the crowd situation to be overwhelming, and heaven forbid someone has one too many...ooohh, that freaks me out.)

Sayre said...

I love your high school picture. That MTM do was very flattering to your face - how many teens actually get to wear hair that works for them? Mine was long and straight, parted down the middle - like everyone else's. I can actually only think of one person in high school that look worked on... If everyone else in your HS had MTM hair, you must have been the one person for your class!

Faye said...

kim--hi! Thanks for stopping by and I'll check out your blog. You're right that glasses were not so great in those days.I tried contact lens but couldn't see--better to give up on vanity in favor of good vision.

kittyhawk--the FFF invites never include bring your best photos from the past to share. Although, SW would be glad to know about these when I do the traditional hairstyle critique. :-)

stephanie--glad you have a favorite flower child aunt. This year I've been noticing a lot of hippie maxi dresses on the racks. Check with Aunt Beth--she may have some to loan you.

misanthrope--it's the profile that can do you in with that short back and long sides do. Smart girl to listen to your stylist.

sayre--lots of young women in my generation wanted to be like Mary Tyler Moore--career gal makes good on her own, plus has great hair.

sandy--my college roommate had one of those sleep bonnets with the ring on top to accommodate different roller sizes. I can still see her bent over her desk early in the morning studying with that thing on.

church lady--there were some great styles mixed in with the incredibly ugly in the 60s-70s. How does your daughter feel about her middle name?