I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember the bathroom closet of my house in the high-falootin’ town of Tewksbury, Massachusetts.
Our town was so high-falootin’ that we did not have linen closets in the bathroom, we had bathroom closets full of a bucket load of stuff other than linens. If you were lucky, you could find a facecloth in there somewhere.
Mostly that stuff was bobby pins.
I’m not sure what the hell was going on with women’s’ hair in the 1970s, but it required a lot of bobby pinning. Also, those damned bobby pins never seemed to be in one, single place in my house. So, if I needed some for my Crissy or Velvet doll’s hair, I had to scour the shelves of the bathroom closet, along with the bottoms of the drawers, to find enough bobby pins for the job at hand.
You don’t know what a Crissy Doll is?
What about her younger sister, Velvet?
Who are you people?
Imagine an American Girl Doll.
Pretty, long hair…
Now imagine that you can shove her long hair back into her skull any time you want.
That was their thing.
No special book to introduce you to the romance of their being.
The didn’t pee or eat or talk.
They were cool.
Teenagers with hair stored in their respective craniums, to be yanked out and stuffed in at the whim of an adoring owner.
I don’t even want to think about the anxiety level of those dolls, stuffed in the back of Santa’s sleigh, on their way to thousands of eager hair tugging monsters.
I’m sure it was grim.
But, anyway, I got Crissy one Christmas and Velvet the next because I must have loved pulling out Crissy’s hair so much.
And stuffing it back in her skull.
Side note: Technically, you were supposed to turn a knob and push her belly button (yuck!) to take the hair in and out. So pedestrian. I broke mine right away, necessitating forcible yanking and stuffing. Heres the actual television commercial, in case you need to see how it was supposed to work (or you want to laugh out loud because it’s pretty dang funny).
The reason I needed Velvet the Christmas after I got Crissy was that…
I “styled” Crissy’s hair.
And it all started with Dippity-do.
So there was this pink jar of jelly in the bathroom closet, along with the bobby pins and the facecloth.
And that pink jar of jelly was magical.
Mainly because it was off-limits, but also partially because ‘Dippity-do’ rhymed with “Zipp-a-dee-doo” and anything related to the song, “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” had to be magical.
And I would watch my mother dab her Dippity-do carefully on her curlers at night (that’s what we Tewksbury people called ‘rollers’).
And sometimes I would see her dab a little on the ‘sideburns’ (I called them that once and almost got clocked) of her trendy, shag hair style that my father called a ‘women’s’ liberation haircut’.
Oh my Gawd, I just realized something.
One of the other plentiful things in my bathroom closet?
I’ll bet there were hundreds of them.
These black, prickly, flexible things.
Again, they were never in one place. Not a nice, neat basket or a container of any sort.
They were free-range curlers.
We had a ton of them.
One day as I pulled out Crissy’s brain hair and was brushing it, and it occurred to me that she had a very old-fashioned hairstyle.
What could I do, I wondered, to have her looking far more fashionable?
She totally needed Dippity-do.
Which was forbidden.
And on the top shelf.
So, since my mother and father were out in the back yard practicing bow shooting (yep, I’m sadly not kidding there), I thought I had some time.
So I went out into the kitchen and grabbed a burnt orange pleather chair (nope, not kidding this time either) and dragged it into the bathroom. I opened up the closet and, on tiptoes, reached up to the pink treasure trove that was my mother’s jar of Dippity-do.
Being crafty, I wasn’t going to leave the bathroom with the jar, thus risking running into one or both parents when I went to return it. I mean, sometimes they had to come back inside from bow target practice to, you know, rest their arms.
So, instead, I opened the container and scooped a huge wad of Dippity-do into my right hand.
This made it really difficult to screw the large, white cap back onto the jar without it being gooey.
But remember, I was super crafty, so I reached down and grabbed one of my mother’s curlers and, holding the open jar of Dippity-do between my chin and my chest, used my left hand (holding the curler) to sort of even the Dippity-do back down in the jar so it wasn’t ‘crooked’, and so it didn’t look like I had just taken a near-fist full out of the jar.
I was crafty.
But I wasn’t a chemist.
That jelly shit would have evened out all on its own had I not done that.
Also, if I had used the time it took to do that to wipe the outside of the Dippity-do jar of all the Dippity-do that was now on the outside of the jar because I had so much in my right hand, I might have gotten away with my thievery.
Okay, maybe not.
Because what I did then was carefully get down off of the burnt orange pleather chair, move it out of the way (with both hands), close the closet door, slide the pleather chair back to the kitchen table, and go back into my room.
And smear the entire glop of Dippity-do into my Crissy Doll’s hair.
And brush it.
So now I had Dippity-do all over my hands.
All over my special Crissy Doll’s long brain hair.
And also, as an added benefit that I did not know about until it was made clear to me later on, all over the Dippity-do jar, the closet door, the burnt orange pleather chair.
And the cat that I was allergic to that was only there for, like, three days and never got a name so we forever called it…
The Allergy Cat.
So The Allergy Cat was selflessly helping me with Crissy’s hair, and was now covered with Dippidy-do.
The problem was, that Crissy’s hair was so Dippity-do’d that there was no way I could hide the fact that I had stolen Dippity-do from the bathroom closet (I didn’t know that I had left CSI evidence all over the house at that point). So I did what any sane, early seventies child who’s parent’s were bow practicing out in the back yard would do.
I cut her hair.
Into a nice, women’s liberation haircut.
And the sideburns looked great.
Thanks for readin’.
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