Lollypops and Haircuts

1960, Al, Brian, Sheila, Ellen, JamesThey were a treat. Every time we went to Sears, Mother let us pick our own flavor. The big thick square lollypops sat in a display at the check out counter. My favorite was butterscotch. The day she took this picture, all five of us got one.

Sheila, my big sister is about six. She holds hers as she obediently smiles for the camera. Alfred, my oldest brother has his just outside his mouth, as though he took it out just to smile. I can’t see my brother Jim’s, knowing him, he didn’t even open it. He probably saved it for another day. Brian can’t be older than two. He’s got his plunged deep in his mouth. He doesn’t seem to care about the picture Mother is taking.

Me, I’ve got a sly smirk on my face. My lollypop is right our in front of me, already half eaten. I’ll finish it off as soon as Mother’s done.

That day, Sheila and I should have been punished. We decided to play “hair dresser” with Kathy, the girl across the street. With her mother’s big scissors, I whacked off Sheila’s long red ponytail. Then Kathy snipped off my blond curls. I had the throat of the scissors locked on Kathy’s ponytail when her mother walked in and gasped.

Our Mother spent the afternoon straightening the ends of our hair. When she was done, it barely covered our ears. We went to Sears afterwards. I picked my lollypop from the display.

Back home, Mother saw the humor in our haircuts. She lined us up on the stairs and took the picture. Today, it sits in my office and it still makes me laugh. It reminds me of many things, but mostly lollypops and haircuts.

But really, it’s about how my mother didn’t let a little thing rile her. How she loved the creativity of her children. How she did her best to see the good in bad situations.

This picture reminds me to laugh at trials. To stop and take a picture, and that hair always grows back.



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