Yesterday as I washing my daughter's hair in the shower, I remembered my grandmother, and her own part in this very same activity. I never showered with her but I remember clearly how she turned hair washing time into an exercise of play. My grandmother was an adept at this slight of hand. She could sprinkle a little magic on all of the tine minutia of every day life. When it came time to wash my hair, which was long for most of my childhood, I threw a fit. Like most six year olds, I was not thrilled at the idea of being clean or at least not thrilled at the process of becoming clean. I would cry but never tantrum. One didn't tantrum around my Grams. But it was okay because she always knew what to do.
Patting her perfectly coiffed, blond hair, she say "Now Ginger, don't you want the "treatment?" My grams was (and is) one classy lady, and I longed to be as fancy as she was even in my tomboy haze of tree climbing, bike riding, scraped knees and random bruises. The first time she suggested this I was suspicious at what this treatment might include.But after the first time, I looked forward to my "treatments." You see a treatment was a homemade beauty salon.
A chair would be pulled up the sink, and I would have a towel draped around my clothes. My Grams would have me lean back and then with warm water coming from the sprayer, she begin to wash my hair. I can still feel the warm water soaking in while my Grams chatted to me about what I did that day or the day before. I'd began to relax as she massaged shampoo into my scalp soothed by the fact I could trust her not to soap in my eyes. And she didn't stop at the hair wash. She'd wash my face with her special Avon products which always smelled like her: flowery but not too overpowering. Sometimes she'd even dab on some lip gloss. She would gently comb my hair, telling me how lovely I was. On days when she had some times she'd blow dry me out too. Afterwards we would sip coffee--mine heavy on cream and sugar and light on coffee--with a little snack. I would always be quiet and still those days so as not to mess up my do. Sitting on the couch, drawing or looking at books, I'd feel encapsulated in the magic that my grandmother wove around me.