I stood up in my crib at 6 months, walked at 11 months and by 12 months was running around the house giving my Mother a massive case of the New Mom Jitters. I did everything early, except grow hair.
Then, suddenly, at about 18 months of age the fuzz on my head was replaced by strawberry blonde, Shirley Temple ringlets to the delight of my Mother and Grandmother, both of whom had poker straight hair.
Finally, after having skipped two generations, there was a little girl in the family who had Isabelle’s curls.
She is holding a bouquet of pink roses and wearing a white satin dress with blue ribbons on the sleeves. A matching blue ribbon holds back a beautiful head of chestnut curls – Isabelle’s curls.
Her favorite brother, Willie, left home at 17 to fight in the Union Army and was never seen or heard from again.
Her Mother, Rosetta, spent a good deal of the war nursing wounded Union soldiers. Unbeknownst to Rosetta, one of those dying young men was infected with Small Pox, a deadly, disfiguring disease which spread like wildfire through Confederate and Union troops alike.
It swept through Isabelle’s entire family. Miraculously, she survived with only a tiny scar on her forehead to remind her of the horror through which she had passed. The high fevers had made her beautiful hair fall out, but a year later when this portrait was painted, her curls had already grown back well past her shoulders.
Like so many of my curly-haired sisters, we grew it long and set it in huge rollers or juice cans. And if that didn’t work, there was always the steam iron. You’d lay your hair out flat, put a dishcloth over it and then iron the cloth. It was essential to have a trusted girlfriend help you with this, preferably one whose boyfriend you hadn’t flirted with the night before or you might end up as a burnt offering.
By the ‘70s it had become clear that I was on the losing side of my private civil war and so, as General Robert E. Lee had manfully surrendered his sword to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox in 1865, I surrendered my juice cans and steam iron as spoils of war.
This was my decade and I luxuriated in it. All I had to do was stick a diffuser on the end of my blow dryer, point and fire and there was no end to how big my hair could get.
I defied rain and laughed in the face of humidity. Ha! Ha! Bring it on, you fools!! You only make my hair bigger!!
I love you, Great-Grandmother Isabelle!
Unfortunately, the party didn’t last, which is one of the defining qualities of a party. It starts, you drink too much champagne, it ends, you find your shoes and go home.
And so, I went home.
There was a little something for everyone in the 1990s, but without a doubt, it was the decade of all things Rachel, as in Jennifer Aniston and the iconic Rachel layered cut. By the end of the decade, advances in styling products, blow dryers and flat irons had enabled my hairdresser to give me a reasonable facsimile of the Rachel bob. I was delighted, although………the rain I had defied and the humidity I had laughed at in the 1980s would and did have their revenge whenever they felt like it.
A year ago my hairdresser introduced me to a line of hair care products which have made me fall in love with my curls all over again. Deva-Curl products are specially made for curly hair. Curly hair is more fragile, should be washed less frequently and needs extra moisture. In effect, it needs special handling and special products.
The Deva-Curl products are sulfate and phosphate free and safe for color-treated hair. They leave my hair with healthy, shiny, no-frizz curls. If you have curly hair and want to stay natural, Deva-Curl products are absolutely the way to go.
Believe me. I wouldn’t trust Isabelle’s curls to anything less.