A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hair today, gone tomorrow....

Another minor advantage of this old age thing is that body hair doesn't grow as fast. Shaving my legs has become a semi-annual event.

But I can still remember when that ritual first started. I was about 12 and just starting junior high. Since this was the last 1950's, most of our mothers were pretty strict about the whole growing up thing. My mother, being Italian, was worse than the rest. No makeup, must wear anklets with shoes (no peds - if anyone even knows what those are anymore), no bra until cleavage could be proven, and no shaving of any kind.

One girl in our class named Carol (she was such an awe-inspring role model to the rest of us I still remember her name) was allowed to shave at the age of 12. We listened with rapt attention as she regaled us with stories of the razor. She also made it a point to wear sleeveless dresses and blouses regardless of the weather so she could raise her arms over her head and we could admire her hair-less armpits.

That was it. I was going to shave my legs in spite of my mom. I mean, what the heck, I was almost 13!! So one day while my parents were out, I found my dad's razor. Now, because this was a prohibited activity, I didn't know the fine ins-and-outs of the exercise - like wetting the skin, using soap or lather - little things like that. I just took that razor to my leg. Started at the middle of my ankle and proceeded, with the first swipe, to rip out a chunk of skin. Dang, did that hurt. I was frantic - whatever you do don't get blood on the bathroom rug! I had seen my dad use this little white crayon-looking thing when he nicked his face shaving (styptic pencil) so I hobbled into my parents' bathroom to find it. Ah, there it was. This couldn't be so tough. I blotted my ankle and went to work with the pencil. Holy shit does that sting! Now I'm crying - my mom is going to kill me.

Couldn't take any more of that pencil so I decided to use Vaseline. Surely if I put a large enough glob of that stuff over the cut it would clog the arteries and stop the bleeding. So I hobbled back to my bathroom (because heaven forbid the pencil and vaseline would be in the same place), got the vaseline and slathered a huge dollop of it on the cut. Then, just to be sure, I wrapped half a roll of toilet paper around my ankle to hold the Vaseline and blood in. Now what? My folks were due home soon and I couldn't let them see my ankle. So I decided to just get into my flannel pj's and heavy slipper socks which would cover up my mutilation.

Then I went into the family and calmly watched tv. My parents arrived home shortly after and looked at me strangely. My mom asked why I was wearing my flannel pj's at 3:00 in the afternoon - I think it was the fact that it was Tucson...... in August...... and probably 112 outside that made her suspicious. I told her I had been feeling a little cold. She rolled her eyes (hey, maybe that's where Jenni gets it!) and just walked into the other room. Probably figuring it was some weird stage I was going through.

By the next morning the bleeding had stopped and my mom was never the wiser - until I told her the story as an adult. Again, she rolled her eyes. The scar on my ankle was very visible for many years, but it's fading now. The memory of that afternoon, however, shines brightly.

7 comments:

ira said...

Its such a tough phase, the competition to look good! Who gets to wax first, who's mommy let her get her brows done!!
Sheesh.. teenage sure is tough!

The Kept Woman said...

OMG.

I had to stop midway down. I'm so sqeamish when it comes to stories of razor cuts.

I went back and read about Tucson. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who reflects on these things. I can imagine your disappointment when seeing your old house in poor condition...unlike your damily took care of it I'm sure. That's such a personal thing, a house, that seeing it in someone else's hands is hard no matter how they take care of it.

kathy said...

it's funny how looking at a scar can conjure up memories like that...
i love your 'memories' blogs.
trying to get my own mom (& dad) to partake in the blogging frenzy. i would love to hear their stories too! forwarded it on to them.

Wendy said...

My first experience with a razor was at a much earlier age when I found my grandfathers and sliced it back and forth across my hand.
It was a long time before I picked up a razor again!

Jenni said...

OUCH.

Desert Diva said...

I hear you on how often you have to shave your legs now. The hair is so fine and blonde I sometimes forget. Thanks for sharing your story and bringing back memories.

Your story reminds me when I was in Junior High and I wanted to wear pantyhose. I kept them in my locker at school. My parents came to pick me up at school for something one day and I was finally "busted."

I also remember to get more "mileage" out of pantyhose we would cut off the leg with the run and wear two pairs. Ah, the trials and tribulations of youth...

Sandi said...

Oh, yes the nylons. And when we were too young to shave, all that fine blonde hair stuck out through the nylons. What charmers we were!!