Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 12: Working Girl

My grandmother's sister Anne was a hairdresser. Not when I knew her. That's when she was in her 70s and smoked unfiltered Chesterfields, drank high balls, and cooked big family dinners. But she used to tell us she did hair.  For dead people.  Yes, she worked for the undertaker. "They never complained," she used to say.

It appears that she also cut hair for the living.

Utica Observer Dispatch, 11 January 1927, page 22

In those years  it took a specialist to do a permanent wave.  Jimmy came from Schenectady to Cooperstown periodically to to his mysterious work. Now, fifty years later I went to school in Schenectady.  My roommate and I chose a local shop for our haircuts.  The shop was called Mr. James. The gentleman who cut our hair introduced us to his elderly father, Jimmy.

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