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Hair, logging trucks and ether

August 21, 2010

How’s that for three unrelated things? Read on, you’ll see the connection!

I was cursed with curly hair. At least when I was a little kid, the curls were looser, and cute. As I got older, well, not so much. In the past 10 years or so, it’s gotten even curlier. Jo, my former hairdresser, and I tried for three years to grow it out, insisting to each other at my appointments every three months that the weight of the longer hair would eventually pull out some of the curl. We threw up our collective hands after three years, and I’ve moved to the “I don’t give a darn” phase of hair-life.

(By the way, Jo had multiple tattoos, multiple piercings, hair that was often bright blue and spiky, and a big old wallet on a chain, but she was sweet and gentle – a perfect example of books and their covers.)

Aud always has been jealous of my hair, and tortured her hair for most of her life with regular home perms. However, she was born with curly hair. Here’s the story behind Mom’s hair:

When Mom was about five years old, she was walking down a road near her house. In those days, and maybe still, the logging industry was big in the upper peninsula of Michigan. As she walked, a logging truck came past her, loaded with freshly cut logs. One of the big chains used to keep the logs tight on the flatbed was, or became, unchained, and the hook on the end caught hold of her, dragging her over a mile down the road before the driver realized what happened. By all counts, she was lucky to have survived.

Typical logging truck of the '30s

During her time in the hospital, she was given ether, the general anesthetic of the time. As the story goes, the ether took the curl out of her hair permanently. It also somehow took the hair off her legs – she’s never had to shave her legs, a fact that we were always jealous of as teens.

When we took the family trip to Mom’s hometown years ago, Mom and Dad looked through newspaper archives to find a mention of Mom’s accident. They found a small article about it which referred to her as “little Audrey.” We have a photo of that newspaper article, but it’s unfortunately too blurry to read.

Mom finally stopped the home perms a few years ago, and embraced her straight hair. I grudgingly embrace my unruly curls, but still regularly wish I could somehow safely be given ether.


From → Mom stories

One Comment
  1. Denise permalink

    They do have treatments now that really straighten the hair! A few girls at work did it and it was a remarkable change.

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