3/2/50 - The Permanent BY-WAYS - 3/2/50 - The Permanent - Feb. 18, 1950

As I start the column, this writing business seems pretty commonplace alongside what I bin through today. I feel as if I jest swam the Hellespont - and jest about tuckered out. I did somepin today that has always been on the bottom of my list of attempts - if not on the 'impossible' list. The last thing on earth I would ever want to be is a "beautician." But that's what I was today, by gum. I gave a permanent! Now I didn't bid for it. No, sir! I was drafted. Better say I was driven to it by sheer pits for Sister Margery. Since she shattered her left arm Dec. 6 she has not been able to do up her long hair. Mother braided it for her as best she could, but anchoring the braids required clever maneuvering. Gloria, a good-natured, good-hearted, but utterly irresponsible young woman, who is rooming there, along with her grass-widowed mother, said, "Oh, Marge, I'll give you a Toni. Nothing to it." Margery, whose beautiful black hair has never before been mangled or mutilated - or even touched - by beauty-mortician's tools, submitted gracefully to Fate's decree, the guillotine. Blithely Gloria whacked away, leaving an eight-inch stubble, "just right for a soft curl." She shampooed the remains, then left Margery high and dry - shorn and forlorn. At that time I was taking M. every other day to the doctor's office for shots - to feed calcium into the system and stimulate circulation in that near-dead hand. Each time she would have to tuck those absurd little pig-tails under her hat - and hope for the best. We think that Gloria just lost her nerve - fearful that Margery would not like the results. I'll confess that when I woke up this morning, facing this journey into the wilderness, it was ridiculously comparable to a soldier in his zero hour. I couldn't find a plausible excuse. The field was cleared of all impedimenta (such as men to look after). The boys didn't come home this week-end; Dr. Phillips had flown to Raleigh, N.C., for a series of talks at Duke University (Religious Emphasis Week); Daddy Virgil had flown to Saltsburg, via Greyhound and Trailways buses - for a study of conditions down there, long conferences with Ina and Clyde, and research in the science of "500."

When I reached operations base this morning Margery was busy screwing up her courage, too, and confessed that at daybreak she almost called the whole thing off. Following the line of least resistance, I told her it wasn't too late yet. With the courage of desperation she said, "Nothing you could do could possibly make me look worse than I do now." With that vote of confidence I started in at 9:50 a.m. and finished the last curl (sans hair-drier) at 4:40. Ain't that somepin? At any rate, it came out pretty nice - and Margery is immensely pleased. One stubborn strand behind the ear refused to curl, so we liquidated him. The rest of the curls are four inches long unfurled. Now I must close.

Permanently yours,
Florence B. Taylor

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