Another Trip Down Memory Lane

When I look at this photo, taken in 1979, when I was aged 7, it isn’t the big ears and gappy mouth that catch my eye. Well, they do stand out a bit but it’s the wonky fringe which looks like it’s been chewed by mice that my eyes are drawn to.

Dear Mum; we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up and so she had to trim my fringe herself. When we look back through the photos and reminisce, she assures me she started off well.

“One side always ended up shorter than the other so I tried to even things up,” she says.

When I point out that her idea of evening things up is a little different from mine, we both burst out laughing. Sometimes my fringe would end up so high up on my forehead it didn’t need cutting for months.

Occasionally, and I mean occasionally, my mother would get it more or less right, but this then earned me the nick-name of Bully Beef. At this time, all the children were reading ‘The Dandy’ or The Beano’. In ‘The Dandy’ there was a character called Bully Beef. He had a fringe, which looked like his mother had stuck a bowl on his head and then trimmed round it. As Bully Beef wasn’t a particularly nice character and as I had long hair, I thought the comparison was rather unfair. Added to that was the fact that Bully Beef’s fringe covered his eyes and thanks to my mother’s ‘skills’ with the scissors, mine never would. But that was school and so the nick-name stuck.

When I was in my teens I tried growing my fringe out, but being impatient (aren’t all teens?), I soon gave up. As a treat my mother took me to a hair salon, where they advised to keep a fringe. “Her forehead’s too big not to have a fringe. It’d look awful,” as if I wasn’t there. The hairdresser’s words were devastating to a teenager.

Though, I wasn’t alone in the hairdresser’s attack. “Mmm,” he said looking intently at my fringe, “it looks as if someone has attacked her fringe with a knife and fork.”      

My mother had the grace to blush and mumbled something along the lines of, “Oh, does it?”

Still, it made her think that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea for her to cut my fringe anymore and so I became a regular at the hairdresser’s.

When I had my own daughter, I must admit I subjected her to the sins of the fringe for the first few years of her life, but as she grew older, she decided to grow her fringe out. I’m sure seeing the photos of me as a child (including this one) had nothing to do with it!

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20 Responses to Another Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. Murray Clarke says:

    ‘The Sins of the Fringe!’ I love it! A great title for a short story, or maybe something longer? Good to see your guest appearance in the April issue of Writing Magazine, Esther.

  2. Helen says:

    Oh thank you for sharing this one, Esther! You’ve got a lovely smile despite it being gappy. As for the haircut, it’s a rite of passage having the odd dodgy haircut.

    I do have a similarly bad fringe photo, done professionally. My mother was cross I hadn’t had my hair cut in time for the start of the new term, so with a flea in my ear I headed off to town. Walked three miles to get there and – disaster! – the only female hairdressers was closed that afternoon.
    Nothing for it then, but to go and speak nicely to Barber. I pleaded hard for ages, until seeing I was going to be difficult to get rid and hearing how cross my mother was going to be with me, he finally caved in. But he’d have to do it quickly as he wasn’t meant to cut girl’s hair.

    I shouldn’t be doing this he kept muttering as someone else kept lookout on the door. I duly thanked him, paid up and left. My fringe looked horribly boyish (curving upwards like a boys, not downwards like a girls) and I half wished I had done it myself, but at least my mother was placated. I must have been around 13.

    The other time I had a really bad professional haircut (not the fringe but the main hair) was when the hairdresser couldn’t make it even (blamed me for not holding my head straight). It got so short that my mother walked me out with a lop-sided cut. I was about six. Another reason why it took SO long to grow the short hair out. Had completely forgotten that lop-sided disaster as I don’t have a copy. My mother thought the individual school photo that commemorated it too awful to buy, but there was a group photo with my brothers – and my brothers at least looked cute – which used to hang on the wall when I was small. Yet again, you’ve retrieved a buried memory.

    Should add that I finished my course today. Final assignment is winging its way to you. Sorry it seems has taken forever to do.

    • esthernewton says:

      As always, it’s lovely to read your memories, Helen. And well done for completing the course!

      • Helen says:

        Thank you, Esther. I only just spotted your being a guest editor in April’s Writing Magazine. No wonder you’ve been busy! I also very much enjoyed reading your piece on the value of entering competitions (in the same issue). I really don’t know how you fit everything in.

      • esthernewton says:

        Thank you, Helen. I don’t know how I fit it all in, either!

  3. Obviously disappointed at the lack of musical reference and, try as I might, I couldn’t come up with any suggestions.

  4. Sacha Black says:

    You’re too cute!

  5. LucciaGray says:

    Oh the fringe😂 My mother regularly ruined mine, as I did my daughter’s, and now my daughter ruins my Granddaughter’s… who’s next?😂

  6. Sarah says:

    Oh, Esther. You are so cute! 😃 I have a pic of me with lopsided pig tails, wearing an awful jumper and trousers that were much too short. Think yourself lucky! Lol. 🙂

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