Grandma’s for the summer – Chi4545
Carrie was new in Forest High School. She and Joan had become good friends during their senior year. They did almost everything together, so as the end of the year was coming, both girls were going off to college. Carrie was staying in state and Joan was going to another state college. Carrie was a looker: she was about 6 feet tall, slender, with soft curly thick red hair that just went past chin length. Joan had noticed it had gotten longer as the school year went on. Joan was a looker too: she had jet-black straight medium hair. She had grown her hair out to shoulder length with a deep side part, it took her two years to get this look, for two years she wore her hair in a short bob, and really wanted longer hair. Joan and Carrie did not have boyfriends, they both had too much fun dating different guys, and with their looks that was not a problem.
The end of the school year approached, and Carrie and Joan would soon be separated, after spending all this time together. On the last day of school Carrie asked Joan if she wanted to spend the summer at her Grandmother’s farm in Utah. Carrie said it was a great getaway and it would give them more time together, Joan agreed and one week later they were on their way to Utah. The farm was miles from anywhere: it was huge. When the girls arrived along with Carrie’s two brothers, their Grandma was there to greet us. She was about 61 years old, grey short hair that looked like it was growing out from a perm. She was very nice, she gave us a great welcome and told us all to get ready for dinner. Carrie, you could see, was excited to be here, it was her “getting away place”, Joan just went with the flow. Dinner was great, tons of food. As dinner went on Carrie’s Grandma mentioned we should all get plenty of rest tonight, because we have a full day tomorrow. Grandma was taking everyone into town, which was about 50 miles away so we had to leave early.
We got to town at about 8 in the morning. Our first stop was “Buds Barbershop” and we were all told to go in. Carrie and Joan sat there as Carrie’s brothers headed for the chairs. The whole family looked as if they do this all the time, so Joan asked Carrie what was going on and Carrie said, “Grandma wants nice clean looks for the summer.” Joan noticed a change in Carrie’s Grandmother’s personality: she became almost obsessed. She just stood there directing the barbers as they gave the two boys crewcuts. She would say “no, no shorter”. Joan for one second thought not me too, she would not do this to us, anyway I am a guest, plus she can’t make me. Soon the barbers were done, the boys were clipped short, and Carrie said to her brother Bob, “looks great.” Bob just seemed to go with the flow. Her Grandma seemed to be in a different world, she was now somewhat mean. She paid the barbers and yelled at us all to get into the truck. Joan was relieved, she thought for a moment there she was on her way for a crewcut. They drove for about 6 blocks when we pulled up to Erma’s Beauty Shop. Again everyone went in. Carrie walked in and right away said hi to Erma, who was about 45 years old, weighed about 250lbs, and had short permed brown hair. Erma said to Carrie’s Grandma, “Boy it has been a while.” Carrie’s Grandma said, “I know, I need a good grooming.” They both went in the back to wash her hair, Joan asked Carrie how she seemed to know everyone so well here, Carrie said she comes here every year, and then giggled. Joan asked what was so funny, but Carrie said nothing. Joan was now getting a little worried, what was going on, it seemed Carrie was hiding something from her.
Soon Erma and Carrie’s Grandma were back. Her Grandma sat in the chair and they talked very little as Erma clipper cut the sides of her Grandma’s hair very short. Joan noticed that Carrie was playing with her hair a lot as she was watching, and Carrie seemed to get really quite and nervous. Erma then told Carrie’s Grandma that her “bitch” about having to get a perm every 3 months is now over. She said she just got her first batch of new perm solution that will last up to 2 years, and it would keep the perm as tight in 20 months as it would on the first day of the perm. Carrie’s Grandma said, “You mean to tell me I only have to get a perm every two years, and the perm will last that long?”
“You bet,” said Erma, “and it is so deep rooted, that you would have to get a buzz get to get rid of it, and then when it grows out, you have a 50-50 chance it will come back curly.” Carrie’s Grandma then said to give her that perm, and Erma proceeded to put in the tiny rods. After a while all the rods were in and the new solution was put in. Erma walked Carrie’s Grandma back to a chair on the side, when Joan heard something she was hoping she would not, her Grandma saying, “Why don’t you do Joan next.”
Joan’s heart started pounding, she said, “Thanks, but no thanks, I like my hair.” Erma went over and took her by the elbow and said, “Come on, it won’t be that bad.” She took her over to get her hair washed and soon they were at the station. Joan thought, ‘OK maybe a few inches off, chin length bob, it will not be too bad.’ As the cape was being put on Joan, Joan started to say to Erma, “Well maybe a little over the shoulder,” but Erma was not listening. Joan looked over at Carrie, who just shrugged her shoulders. Erma looked at Carrie’s Grandma and said, “Ditto?” “Yes ditto,” said Carrie’s Grandma. Erma just combed all of Joan’s jet black hair down, her side part now was just one length over her face. Erma snipped her bangs short, above her eyebrows, Joan looked up, but was in such shock she could not say a word. Erma then quickly snipped Joan’s hair right below her earlobes, and continued around to the other side. Joan again looked in the mirror, at that time she saw herself in a very short bob, it looked good, she had worn her hair like that before, some people really felt that was her best look. But before she could admire it any longer, Erma turned her chair to the side, tilted Joan’s head and began to snip her hair clean around her right ear, and then her left. Joan was in such shock she felt like she was drowning, she could not gasp for air. Soon the chair was turned again, now Joan was facing away from the mirror. Joan looked up only to see Carrie’s Grandma’s face – she gave an expression of approval. Joan was now crying, she was being transformed into something she did not want, it became a nightmare. Soon Joan heard a click, her head came straight up, and she screamed, “No way!”
Erma said, “Just put your head down.” Joan moved her head in different directions, finally Carrie’s Grandma came over and put both of her hands on the back of Joan’s head, her hands were strong, I mean real strong. She told Joan, deal with it, it is part of working on my farm. Joan then said, “No way bitch.” That was it, Erma took the clippers and up she went at the nape, clippering away the hair to the top of Joan’s ears. Joan thought she would never stop, up she went over and over, clumps falling over her shoulders, Joan felt a burning sensation on her neck, Erma tapered it very close at the base, and even cut her hair over her hairline. After the back was done, Joan settled down: it was going to be so let it be she thought. Erma then finished the sides, nice and clean over the ears. Erma then turned the chair so Joan was facing the mirror. Joan looked at herself. It looked like a cap cut, her jet-black hair with length on top, with the sides and back clipper cut. Her friend Nancy once had a cut like that, and Joan was thinking of getting one herself. Now she had it, but it was soon to change again. Erma pulled over a table full of rods, small ones, Erma turned to Carrie’s Grandma, and said, “I assume the small tight curly look?” Carrie’s Grandma said, “You bet.”
Erma started at the bangs, where Joan could only think about how long it had taken her to get the long deep-sided part. Soon all the rods were in, Joan just could not believe that was her she was looking at – she looked 40-50 years old. Erma then reached for the solution, Carrie’s Grandma said, “Hold on. I want you to use the new stuff.” Erma said, “You realize this young lady will have small tight curls and will have to keep this style for two years most likely?” Her Grandma said, “I don’t care, she called me a bitch, now do it.”
Joan was crying, how would she go to college for two years looking like Carrie’s Grandma. By the time Joan took a deep breath it was too late, the solution was in. Erma finished, and escorted Joan to a chair on the side. While all of this had been going on Carrie had run away, no way was she going to be permed for two years. Both Erma and Carrie’s Grandma went looking for her for two hours, they finally came back. Joan still had the rods and solution in. Erma rushed over to Joan, the solution had been in for an hour too long. She quickly took out the rods. Joan’s hair on top fell into tiny little uniformed curls, Erma did not think her hair was damaged. It looked Ok to Joan sort of, mainly because Erma left some length on top which gave her some volume, but boy was it short and curly. Erma told Joan it made her look much older. Joan agreed, and asked Erma how the length of keeping the solution in for such a long time would affect her. Erma did not know, but called the manufacturer to find out. When Erma came back, she almost made Joan faint, when she told her that the manufacturer said it could be 4-6 years with tight curly locks. Joan cried, and just looked up and ran her fingers through her hair, and then began to laugh. “I look like a burr head,” said Joan.
Carrie hitched hiked home, Joan spent four years trying to grow out her hair, only to get frustrated by the look, and get it cut into the short permed look. She never really considered a buzz cut. Her nickname at school was “Grandma” because of her look. Carrie and Joan never spoke again. Carrie never spent another summer with her Grandma, but the boys well into their 20s kept going back for their crewcuts. So next time you see a good looking girl with short permed hair, it might be Joan