By Julia Connolly
As a young child, I had long, blonde hair and was princess of all I surveyed. Friends of my parents even called me “Grace,” as in “Princess Grace,” thank you very much.
I was spoiled beyond belief, the first child born to my parents after nine years of trying. I had a closetful of pretty dresses with Mary Jane shoes to match, and lots of white sox and underthings with lace trim.
I had the latest toys, books and records and a ballerina doll that was as tall as me, but mostly I had that long, blonde hair. Babysitters spent hours brushing it, my parents bought bows to adorn it, everyone commented on it. I was beautiful and my life was perfect.
One weekend I was driven to a neighboring town to visit my Aunt Luciel. She had three sons and loved having a girl around to fuss over. On Saturday night she fixed my hair in rollers so I’d look extra nice when my parents came to pick me up the next day.
In the morning, instead of being a headful of bouncing curls, my fine hair was impossibly tangled around the brush rollers. Aunt Luciel tried everything, but they wouldn’t budge.
By the time my parents arrived my aunt and I were a weeping mess. After investigating, my dad gave the verdict: the curlers would have to be cut out. More tears fell as he carefully snipped each one out of my hair.
I looked in the mirror at my choppy, uneven locks and cried some more as I faced my new reality. No one would ever want to brush that mess. And no bow could disguise the horror.
The next day my mother’s hairdresser did her best to repair the damage, telling me I’d be sporting the very latest hairstyle, the “pixie.” I wasn’t buying it. The pixie sounded like a hairdo Peter Pan would have, and Peter Pan was a BOY.
As I stepped down from the hairdresser’s chair I snuck a peek at my pixie. I was right. I looked like a boy. My hair would probably never grow back the way it had been. Life was going to be hard. And nobody would ever call me “Grace” again.