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Going through hell and hot curlers

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By Ginger Truitt

Last week, my dad gave me all the pictures from my childhood. Among them are seven snapshots of the Pittsboro Kindergarten graduation of 1976. I can still remember the coolness, and slightly musty smell, of the church basement where the ceremony was held. I also recall the battle I had with my mom beforehand while she was trying to fix my hair.

Good hair days are few and far between for me, but the night of my kindergarten graduation, it actually looked pretty good. However, my good hair day didn’t come without tears (mine) and a major temper tantrum (my mom’s). She insisted on using hot curlers in my normally straight hair, and I, being a tender-headed child with an aversion to having hot objects pinned near my face, did not agree.

With tears streaming (I might have also been slightly dramatic), I cried, “I hate my hair! I wish it was curly all the time so we didn’t have to use rollers!”

My grandmother, who typically took my side in these issues, surprised me by admonishing, “Don’t ever say that. You need to be happy with the hair God gave you.”

And then she proceeded to tell the following story:

“Once there was a girl who lived in an ivy-covered tower. She had the most beautiful long, straight hair.”

(You think I was about to hear the story of Rapunzel, don’t you? Just wait.)

“But the girl longed to have curly hair, so every night she would sit in front of the mirror, and by the light of the moon, she would spend hours putting her long hair up in pin curls. One evening she became so frustrated that she threw her brush to the stone floor and cried, ‘As sure as if I were in Hell, my hair would be curly!’”

“At that moment, she dropped dead, and her hair instantly curled into tiny ringlets.”

Grandma sat back in her chair, eyes widened for dramatic effect.

Now, being a good little Baptist girl, I immediately pictured this event happening on a Sunday evening after church. Clearly, this young woman had ignored the pastor’s pleas for everyone to come to Jesus so that if they died on their way home that night, they could be assured of going to Heaven. I don’t know what she was thinking, stepping outside those church doors and heading back to her tower without Jesus in her heart. And now, she was falling through the fiery pits of Hell with fabulously curly hair. I got the message loud and clear. Having curly hair was pure Hell and I was experiencing some of that right here on earth.

As I look at the pictures, I’m glad my mom forced the hot rollers on me. I was pretty adorable in my long, yellow, homemade dress with blonde curls lying about my shoulders. I felt very fancy as I played Farmer-in-the-Dell with my classmates that night. When the parents cheered, I let my mom know everything was OK between us by giving her a wink and flashing the OK sign. The best lesson I took from my kindergarten year is that you might have to go through Hell to have a good hair day, but sometimes it’s worth it.

Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Twitter (@GingerTruitt), find her on the web at www.gingertruitt.com, or contact ginger@gingertruitt.com.