Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aunt Norie’s Sewing Room

January 17, 2012

I heard the question recently: “What is a hair receiver?” I decided that just might make an interesting column.

As I grew up in the '20s and '30s (I was born in 1920) there was always this delicate, little, treasured vase with a tiny neck opening, just large and round enough for Mom to poke her finger down into. After she’d combed her long hair she would pull all of the combings of that long hair off the comb and out of the brush and then poke it down into the little round neck of that vase. It was so beautiful, so delicate, with raised roses, leaves and stems all over it, so dainty. It sat on the far back side of her dresser. We kids were never to touch it. One of her treasures, it had been her mother's.

But the story I’m really wanting to tell here: You see, women’s hair is very strong and in the early centuries was used in fine instruments. You’ve heard the term “crosshairs.” Well, folks, those tiny hairs actually were once strands of women’s hair.

In those early '30s, those Great Depression years, you’d often hear “Oh, you got your hair bobbed,” usually with an added “Oh, but it looks great, very becoming, really.” However, she would just let it grow out long and do it again. Hair was of great value then. Now with all of the man-made fibers, I doubt it.

Women’s hair is now very good and necessary for wig making for cancer patients, of course

Back to the hair collected in that beautiful vase. Mom would use a crochet hook, carefully pulling it all out and tucking it into an envelope. She would save it, then trade it to the Watkins man when he came once a month in his horse-drawn wagon. She would use her hair like currency to purchase spices and such.

His wagon was actually a small room on wheels, with shelves for all of his pots and pans and spices. You just never knew what surprises he might have and always, of course, treats for the little kids. Ours even carried fabrics, paper pencils, all sorts of stuff.

We’d hear him coming and run to meet him.

It sometimes is a little frightening as I look back, realize, and know just how fast things are changing.

Share those hugs, and listen closely to those kids now. God bless all of you.

— Aunt Norie, P.O. Box 265, Tonganoxie, KS 66086, auntnorie@att.net

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