I had my hair dyed by Roslyn Graham today at Shape it Up on Alberta. She "blended in the gray" which as she pointed out was "just enough to get on your nerves."
Roslyn was working back and forth between my dye job and something a little more complicated for Shirley, another customer. All told I was there for about an hour and a half. It was very enjoyable, lets face it just the fact of someone else washing your hair is amazing. But adding to that was the conversation, I don't mean to leave the boys out here, but there is something so great, refreshing and relaxing about being in a place that is there for women -not women with any agenda - just women. It made me realize that this has been missing for me over the last several years.
We started talking about female celebrities who marry much younger men. Apparently Maria Carey (sp?) is hooking up with a youngster, and we talked about Demi Moore.. Well mostly they talked about this at first as I'm not up on these topics (or people) but it all took a more philosophical bent when Shirley pointed out that you never know, sometimes people find love in unexpected ways, and that it seemed like Demi Moore and her husband really like each other, and that liking is what keeps people together after the lust has subsided.
We also talked about dance, hip hop (Roslyn attends an exorcise hip hop class regularly), and aging. How the mind remembers loving to dance and the body forgets.
We talked about motherhood, Roslyn has a thirteen year old daughter, so we discovered a lot of common ground around parenting adolescent girls (the blank stares, the mood swings) and how our ideas of discipline are very different from the girl's father's because we remember being young girls.
Shirley is a grandmother, from 3 children she has 8 grandchildren, the oldest is 20. She does not look anywhere near old enough to have a 20 year old grand child, and I told her so! She explained that she was really lucky because her children are good parents and don't expect her to take on a lot of responsibility. She talked about the idea that people die younger than they should because of all the stress, all the responsibility that is put on their shoulders, she said we weren't meant to be weighed down that way, and that is one way that her faith helps her. She trusts that the burden isn't hers to bear alone. I don't think I got that exactly right, but that is close. She also talked about the fact that women generally end up taking on the role of matriarch and bearing all the weight just because they live longer than the men.
We all talked about our grandmothers, and Shirley told about her grandmother who came in a caravan from Texas I think in the thirty's (I can't remember for sure) as a missionary to save the heathens in Oregon. She "big Mama" was born in 1910, the 24th and last child of her parents (only 17 survived) her mother was past 50 when she was born so she was raised mostly by her older siblings. Big Mama sounded amazing, she was the perfect grandma, even though she was really engaged in all sorts of activities Shirley remembers that she somehow was always there and always had time, she was always baking, (even sold) pies, and she was always totally put together, she mentioned stylish hats with feathers. Big Mama was very religious, but beyond making sure the grandkids always had a Sunday school to go to, she never pushed it, instead she showed by example. Shirley said she feels really lucky to have had such good role models in her life.
Roslyn and I both expressed admiration and a little envy.
We also talked about politics, we are all Obama supporters. Roslyn has received her ballot, but Obama wasn't on it. She said she didn't know who to call to find out why, I suggested she go to the Obama volunteer center to get some help. I'm going there Friday, so maybe I can get some information.
Towards the end of my appointment Shirley asked if I had a business near by, and at that point I explained the lot as best I could, and said that while we are in the neighborhood we want to do some neighborhood projects, I explained that we really can't do that until we learn about the neighborhood and figure out what the community wants. I asked them if they had any suggestions.
They both said that what the neighborhood needs is a little more diversity. Shirley mentioned an event that used to be annual about 10 years ago. It was like a neighborhood party, there was a little parade, there were local step teams, bar b q and music, and it was a great community event, a chance for everyone to get out and enjoy each other. When I asked, or bumbled around out loud wondering how I might help facilitate something like that, they understood what I was thinking. Shirley suggested I talk to the King school, and Roslyn gave me the name of her cousin who is a graduate of Jefferson dance, and works with the girls and boys club. Roslyn also said that anything with food and music would be a sure winner. They both stressed repeatedly the need for more diversity.