Friday, June 15, 2012

Good Hair Genes

Grandpa Mackey in his 70s,
with his winter beard.
I come from a family that has good hair genes. We have an abundance of hair (on our heads!), and a tendency to go gray rather late in life. I don't know which family line the hair gene follows, but I know my grandfather Mackey had it.

Grandma Mackey (nee, Hamilton) did not have such thick hair, but she still had threads of her dark color mixed with the gray until her death at age 87.

My mother inherited the thick dark hair from her father, and the long-lasting color from her mother. My father's hair thinned as he aged, but he never became bald, nor did he become fully gray--even after chemotherapy. My father was a redhead in his youth; his hair faded to a lighter color, more a strawberry blond, as he grew older. Of their six children, four of us had blond hair which darkened considerably as we grew up, two had dark brown hair. And we all have abundantly thick hair.

I passed the abundant hair gene on to my daughter and granddaughter.

Grace, Terry, Michelle with hair in
pin curls covered by scarves.
All this thinking about hair was kicked off by, again, my working with the old family photos. We have many photos of our mother with her first three daughters (there was a 5 1/2 year gap before any more came along), in which we all have nicely curled hair. That meant my mother was taking care of four heads of hair, lots of hair.

Those were the days before curlers became the standard for curling hair. There were no electric curling irons. Most curling was done with either rag curls or pin curls. I don't personally know how to make rag curls, but Mother did. The "rag" part referred to strips of fabric that somehow were used to form and hold curls in wet hair so that it dried curly. Pin curls involved winding wet hair around a finger, then pinning the coil  firmly to the head with bobby pins. Then Mother tied a folded scarf over the pin curls to keep them from coming loose. After the hair dried, it was curly. When we got old enough, we did our own pin curling, but when we were children Mother took care of all that hair.

How pin curls turned out--
Grace, Michelle, Terry
I do not particularly like messing with hair. It must be simple, quick, and easy for me. (Yeah, I know, it looks like it, too!)

All that hair care is just another thing that increases my admiration for the woman who was my mother.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really enjoying those good hair genes as well! I'm also enjoying these photos. Funny, as a kid I never understood why people thought I looked like my Mom. Looking at these photos of her as a child, though, I get it. I like it.