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Hair - From Fuzz to Buzz to Fuzz

by Albin Johnson - March 23, 2007

Some Hair stylist was quoted as saying, "Changing your hair (color and styling) will change your mood." Now, if that doesn't work, see if you can rent a copy of the 1965 movie "HAIR". Beware though, several other viewers claimed it actually straightened their hair while other viewers of the show or stage version about a controversial war, anti establishments, free love, nudity and longhaired hippies actually caused theirs to fall out! I can only blame my thinning filamentous hair outgrowth on old age. But then of course, I would rather not split hairs, let my hair down, tear it out, or rely on the "hair of the dog" to make it grow thicker.

My first memories of haircuts came in grade school when my Dad led me down to the basement, sat me down, tied a towel around my neck and proceeded to trim my golden locks. It appeared my Mom and Sister Joan were more perturbed than I was. Dad took his clippers and gave me a "manly" cut! I was still somewhat reluctant until he handed me a mirror and a quarter for being so cooperative. I had absolutely no trouble concerning myself about future haircuts until months later, my sister Joan begged me to let her cut my hair. I said "NO WAY"! But she was a smoothie and suggested that she was going to bake some cookies and she would be very generous if I sat for her. I recall that the "styling was only a minor disaster as she didn't even use a bowl!

In the 1940's, we moved from the big home near the depot to a renovated apartment behind my Dad's Office on the second story of a building across from the Minonk Bank. I soon noticed that my hair was combed forward and my Dad's was combed back. He had started early in his teens to train it toward the back of his head. After looking at his old pictures I discovered that his "slicked back" hair was the style when he was a teen. Later I thought that he might of wanted it that way because he would work over a patients face in order to see into their mouth. One day his secret hair styling was discovered. As he slept, he had put on a special "skull cap" made from the top portion of a nylon (silk) stocking with a knot tied on the narrow end. I never questioned the novel idea.

By WW11 fighting's end, I had my hair cut by the professional barbers, Cliff Tyson and Mr. Stokowski. They operated the Barber Shop next door to the stairway that led to Dad's Office and our apartment. By now I was in High School. One of the latest hair fads at that time was the "Burr" cut sometimes called a "Flat top, Crew cut, or Butch cut". Mine was short and I eventually just let it lie down. Others wanted their hair to straighten up. You fad followers will remember Bryle or Brill Cream, "A little dab will do yah" or "Wild Root Cream Oil", remember "Charlie?"

By my Junior HS year, basketball and showers necessitated me to further soften the texture of my hair as well as trying to stay sane after some of my friends and my brother in law patting my head or sometimes giving me a "knuckle rub". All this was fodder for a change as I grew a strong interest in GIRLS!! This led me to brush my hair forward and flipping a few strands toward my right ear. My hair was still quite short so it eventually let the natural formation drop into bangs.

In Feb 1951 I enlisted in the Navy. Some Great Lakes Base barber felt I would look even more refined if I wore my hair even shorter, or practically "BALD". Thank Heaven for the wool Watch Cap, as it was very cold being so near Lake Michigan. I survived by "sorta" sleeping in the laundry steam room.

Much later in life, I noticed a thinning of my hair. I regularly went to the barbers even though Aerospace and School Officials never espoused "Follicle control". Now my kids have their own hair stories to tell as times and trends change and fashions prevail. I am also sure that some day they will look at "Gramps" old pictures and chuckle. Anyway, I will close with a little "HAIR" trivia.

+ Blondes have more hair follicles than Red Heads.
+ Individual hairs have a lifespan of 2-7 years.
+ Female hair grows more slowly than male hair.
+ The onset of gray hair may be genetic but is still a mystery.
+ Only 4% of the world population has red hair, it may be genetic. My oldest sister had reddish hair. It is caused by a recessive heredity trait.
Some scientific trivia!
+ Keratin is a "tough" protein substance found in hair, surface skin, and fingernails,
+ Melanin is a biological pigment that gives coloration to hair and skin.
+ You can change straight hair into curly hair by changing the number of Disulfide bond cross-links between methione and cysteine amino acid units in keratin protein molecules.
+ And lastly, Smokers are 4 times more likely to go gray at a younger age.