#80: Forty Years Ago Today

#80: Forty Years Ago Today

It’s not often we know or remember where we were on a specific day many years ago. I mean, maybe for weddings, major life events, national tragedies. But in the day in, day out-ness of our lives, we typically don’t remember. And even milestone events like birthdays tend to get lost in the shuffle most of the time.

But I have always remembered my sixth birthday. That was the day I got my hair chopped off for the first time.

I don’t mean cut, mind you. I mean chopped off. And since we’re splitting hairs here (um, pun intended), I am quite sure that I was not the one who got my hair chopped. I’m pretty sure it was my mother.

In her defense, I do remember countless mornings of wailing and tears while she painstakingly dematted my long locks. I don’t recall that being fun for me, and since we’ve all been around wailing little girls at one time or another, I think we can all agree that it must have been a pretty miserable experience for her. The fact that this experience was likely repeated morning after ever-loving morning for who knows how long… well, clearly, the woman was nothing short of a saint to wait so long.

I sorta, kinda remember the chopping off day, but I mostly remember because of the before and after photos that Kodak was kind enough to preserve for us. On PAPER!

(Ah, Kodak. We loved ya, man!)

Now, before I show you the photos, I have to share a funny story related to them. A little over ten years ago, I was living in Romania and showed the photos to one of my dear Romanian friends. I was surprised when she said, “Oh my goodness, Susan! You look like the picture we have in our heads of a little girl in America!”

I thought it was kind of an odd comment at first, but she went on about the long, golden locks, the suntan, and “even the DRESS!”

Color me oblivious, but until that moment, I don’t think I had ever noticed that I’m wearing an AMERICAN FLAG dress, for cryin’ out loud! Lawzy!

So here are the before and after shots…


Happy 6th Birthday to ME! From long, flowing locks to cute little pixie cut in the blink of an eye!

Now, while I’m walking down memory lane, I’ll throw in a photo of my 7th birthday party, too. Still with the pixie, but now wearing the much-loved and totally over-worn purple hotpants and coordinating striped top. (Even now, years later, my heart melts a little.) Oh, how I wish the photo showed the hotpants in all their awesome glory, because Lord knows they were AWESOME.


So fast forward forty years, and I find myself on the eve of another birthday. (Okay, well, I see as I type this that I have passed midnight and it’s technically my birthday, but in my view, my birthday doesn’t actually begin until 8:11am when my mom will call and say, “Forty-six years ago today, Dr. Dean said, ‘Jane, you’ve got yourself a little ol’ girl’”. Or something to that effect. I don’t mean to imply that she does it every.single.year.exactly.the.same. or anything.) :-)

And how have I spent this birthday eve, you ask? Ohhh, you know… straightening the house, doing laundry… and making a frantic run to not one, but TWO grocery stores at 10:30 at night in search of my hair color to touch up my roots. Because while it may have been well and good for me to awake on my sixth birthday with long, matted-once-again hair, there ain’t no WAY I’m awakening tomorrow morning with a lick of gray on this head!

I mean, have mercy!


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