#TBTMemory 52: Transitions and Modifications

Maggie is today’s host for Throwback Thursday. Her topic is Transitions and Modifications. She says “Part of growing up is finding you own way of self expression. This comes about in many ways so think back. Are you ready?”

Here we go…

Think about your first haircut. We’re you the kid that cut your own hair? Did you go to a salon or did your parents cut your hair? Did your parents save a lock of your hair? I don’t remember my very first haircut. Mom said she tried to cut my hair and I ended up wearing a hat for a month. We had a lady who worked at Loyola who cut hair, and she’d come to the house (okay, apartment) and cut our hair until we were old enough to walk to Frank’s Barber Shop (right across the street from school) and have him shear us. Frank was from somewhere in eastern Europe, as evidenced from his last name (26 letters, only one vowel), and knew one kind of haircut, the Marine Boot Camp style. I talked about haircuts here.

How about shaving? Fathers often teach their sons to shave. Most girls I know, decided for themselves when to shave their legs and their underarms. Some cultures do not shave at all. I was at a disadvantage because my father died before he had a chance to teach any of us to shave. When I reached 13, I decided that it was probably time that I learned how to shave, and since Dad has left his safety razor, a pack of Gillette Blue Blades, a can of Noxzema Medicated Comfort Shave, and half a bottle of English Leather aftershave in the medicine cabinet, I quickly appropriated all of said items and applied all the knowledge I had gained from shaving commercials to the task at hand. I spread the lather on my face, and shaved for the first time, taking all of the peachfuzz and a layer or two of skin, which is what taught me what the aftershave was for (i.e.stop the bleeding). Mom was scared that I was going to cut my head off, so she got one of her boyfriends to watch me. He watched me and reported back to my mother that I had the general idea and that the rest would come with practice. I talked about my shaving misadventures here. And now, the Noxzema medicated shave cream commercial from around the time I started shaving, featuring the stunning Miss Sweden 1961, Gunilla Knutsson.

Did you alter your clothes? Cut jeans into cut-offs? Cut the sleeves off t-shirts? Wear graphic tees? Tie-dyes? Sew patches on your jeans? I had a pair of corduroy pants that had cuffs on them and I took a lot of grief for that, so one day I cut the cuffs off and stitched up the bottoms of the legs. I was maybe 19…

Was there a time you remember challenging the authority in your household. Do you remember the first time you found your voice? Honestly, I don’t remember it, probably because the result was too terrifying.

What about piercings? Girls getting their ears pierced was a rite of passage for girls. Then boys started getting one ear pierced. As time passed, piercings became more mainstream and accepted. I got an ear pierced for my 40th birthday. It’s no longer pierced.

Did you walk on the wild side? Smoking? Drinking? Did your parents know? I smoked quite a bit when I was in high school and college, but no drinking. Smoked a little weed now and then, but not much, and stayed off harder drugs.

What about tattoos? Did you get a tattoo while still living at home? Did your parents approve? No tattoos, although I was tempted once to stop at a tattoo parlor in Knoxville, TN that was advertising “TATTOOS DONE WHILE YOU WAIT.”

What about language? Was swearing allowed in your family?  Did you use the same language around your friends as you did at home with your family? We got by with a little bit, but none of the really strong stuff.

Think back to high school. Girls, did you iron your hair? Did you color your hair? (using Sun-in counts!) Guys, did you grow a beard or moustache? Did you grow your hair long? Feel free to share a photo of yourself back in the day. I had really curly hair, and while there were some who oohed and aahed over it, I really hated it, because I had this cowlick that I wasn’t able to control. A friend with similar issues said that he would take Dippity-Doo (styling gel; most of you have probably heard of it), work a lot of it into his hair, and comb it back before going to bed. Then in the morning, he’d comb all the dried gel out and voila! no more curls. I tried it and it worked really well, but only for a few days, and I decided the maintenance was just too much to deal with it. When I was working in retail, someone suggested that I comb it back, rather than trying to comb it with a side part, and that ended my cowlick issues. Actually, parting it on the other side would have solved it, but Mom told us that it was a hard-and-fast rule that boys parted their hair on the left, girls parted it on the right. Later I was looking at pictures of Dad and realized he parted his hair on the right.

My high school graduation picture. I look like I should be sitting on Jimmy Nelson’s lap.

Many people think our authentic self is the person we were as young children. Are you still inherently the same person you were as a child or have you changed your personality and demeanor along the way? I was a lot more fun as a kid, but yes, I’m pretty much the same as I was then.

Pete Cetera, who sings lead on this, hated this song, because he hated Howdy Doody. He asked Jim Pankow to please, please, pliease change it, and Pankow said no. I’m sure the incident was one of many that caused Cetera to leave the band.

Howdy Doody (left) pitching Hostess Twinkies (right).

I’ve been working on this all afternoon (in between naps). Time to blow this Popsicle stand…

9 thoughts on “#TBTMemory 52: Transitions and Modifications

  1. Good recollections. I used to have 5 total ear piercings but I let them all close up. In fact, I was probably viewed as a very different person back then, based on my appearance.


  2. Loved your linked posts, John. I had not read them before. The fungus story had me in stitches. I am also wondering how one has a tattoo done if you don’t wait???? Great responses. Thanks for responding again.


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