Saturday, January 16, 2010

Many times I wondered if my father represented the type of man she had wished her husband had been, a true family man, a good, supportive husband, a loving father, funny, dependable, and most importantly, the one trait with outweighed precedence over all others, more significant than fine china, all of the money in the world, or striking it rich with black gold, he had curly hair.

Not a day passed that Gram didn't gripe or complain about the condition of her own hair; how it was too thin, too flat, too fine, and too straight. In her day having curly hair was not only the current trend, but absolutely every woman seemed to wear it that way, be it forced with pin curls, hot rollers, or a permanent wave, if you weren't one of the blessed few having it occur naturally. And how she admired those blessed with the waves.

Gram exerted a life-long, tremendous effort trying to get her hair to stay curly. It would curl easily enough, but even the slightest mixture of wind, rain, or humidity would make her waves fall right out, leaving her disgruntled as she tramped away with her limp, unraveled strands. If we ever had an outside engagement, she immediately became an atmospheric conditions monitor inside and outside of the car, making sure that the windows were opened no more than a crack, to insure the safety and survival of her coiffure. It was one of the few natural defnses she held over the living horrors of having her type of hair.

The issue was so significant that for years she mercilessly contemplated how to change the DNA of her offspring, so they would not be burdened with her self-proclaimed albatross. The answer was clear: marry a man with curly hair, to insure that her children would be blessed with the same. Much to her chagrin, all four of her girls ended up with stick straight hair, and the same nearly manic obsession of wanting what you will never naturally have. Apparently, in our family, curly hair is a recessive gene. Kristy and I ended up with the family treasure, but not until our early twenties. Most of our childhood it was just thick and wavy, which was still, in Gram's mind, better than what she could ever dream of, making sure we appreciated God's precious gift to us.

I would later tease her about choosing a life partner based on that specific criteria. Shouldn't hair texture be at least fourth or fifth on the list of must haves? But what did I know about love anyway?

taken from page 44: The Significance of Having Curly Hair; A Loving Memoir of the Life and Loss of My Grandmother
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