This time of year still brings back fond memories of watching my mom make some of my favourite foods, but there were other stories too. This was the time you met relatives you had never heard of before or had rarely seen. I looked forward to the ones who would give me money so I could buy my own peppermint candy. Presents were not many, usually one, a doll or a book. You saw Christmas trees at the downtown stores: this was the Caribbean, fir trees were for decoration or hedging. Other things I did love was new ribbons for my hair or when I got older, having my hair straightened.
Now, before you judge, know that this was what was known as a `press n`curl. The likelihood of a child getting a relaxer treatment back then was like you winning the lotto every day! I remember my mother would get out her hot comb that she would heat on the stove and sizzle her way through my hair. If she was not able to, I would be sent to the hairdresser up the street. I felt very important when this happened and sat patiently until it was finally my turn.
Anyone who has had this done at home and sometimes even in the salon can testify to the outright terror this can be. Suddenly, protecting your ears becomes your life goal. Other parts are at risk but your ears had a higher probability of getting singed.. The resulting style of straightened curls was nothing I could recreate so I would do anything to keep it that way. If my younger brother even brushed against it lightly I would cause him serious damage. I would walk home like a young lady with my hairdo and a huge smile .
The one drawback was not sweating out the straightening. If you got hot or sweaty at any point during the day or night, your hair would start to get a curl pattern at the roots. If this did not happen very often, you could have your hairstyle for a day or two before it got back to almost normal. My mother would put ribbons and clips in my hair and we would go to church for the morning service. Christmas morning at the church meant various groups male and female parading new hairstyles and new clothes.
Later, everyone would stay back to eat rum cake and drink sorrel or visit various friends before returning home. Like the good song says:
precious memories, how they linger.
May you also have many precious memories for the holiday season. I wish you all the best for the holidays and invite you to join me again in 2018.
By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design
Buy my e-book: Dreadlocks: A Hairstylist`s Manifest (Silkielocks.com/Amazon.com)
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