ORPHAN ANNIE, CAJUN-STYLE
I was sixteen years old, I wore my thick red hair in a Buster Brown cut.
For sixteen years I battled those darned cowlicks! Mom took me to
Mr. Hebert's barber shop for my first professional haircut when I was about
five, and thereafter, every month when the moon was on the wane, I had
to go back for a "trim." (Ten cents,
Mr. Hebert, as far as I know, was the only barber in town. He was tall and lanky and wore horn-rimmed glasses. He was a really pleasant man. His wife was named Marie and they had a son named Harold, just a little older than I. She had one crippled leg but I never knew the reason it was that way. And she had the help of her spinster sister, Miss Totsy, who also lived with them in their neat little white house right on the boulevard downtown. Miss Marie was an accomplished seamstress, and people came from miles around when they needed dresses for a bride and her attendants. She did very beautiful work.
When we moved to Perry, my sister Dee took over the job of cutting my hair, until she got married and moved to Texas. After that Mom kept it trimmed so it would "stay out of my eyes." The year we moved to Orange, Texas, before the start of the school year, I went to visit at Dee's. They were living on a rice farm near Alvin, Texas, not far from Houston. I helped with the chores, so to reward me for that and for a birthday gift, Dee arranged with a beautician friend of hers in Houston to give me my first perm. Know what she paid for it? She dressed one of the turkeys she had raised and gave that to her friend in payment. I still remember the lady saying, "Dee, this child surely has good strong hair. This is going to take real good." And, boy, did it ever!
When school started, here was this little old Cajun gal from Louisiana, her red hair all curly and bushy, looking like Lil' Orphan Annie, trying to fit in with all those city kids. I was fortunate to find another Cajun girl from Louisiana to be my friend. (Come to think of it, her hair was kind of bushy, too, only it was dark and naturally curley.) Her name was Lillian Veazy, and she lived with her family in a houseboat across the river on the Louisiana side. We had brought my little gray pirogue when we moved, and I used to paddle across the river to spend the night with her once in a while. That was when I decided how much I love houseboats.
My hair is more gray than red now, and not quite as thick as it used to be, but once again, I am wearing it short and straight (no bangs now, though) and I'm still battling those cowlicks.
Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA
this window to return to the "On the Bayou..." listings
(Left click on the "X" in upper right-hand corner of this window.)