Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Ladies With The Blue Hair - Janet Lane Walters

About 70 years ago, I was 10 years old and I noticed the lady across the street had blue hair. This puzzled me and I wondered why. She was a lady who had a gardener to care for her yard. When she went places, a man drove a shiny car to take her places. She didn't ride the streetcar or the train that stopped not far from where we lived. How did her hair become blue? This fascinated me and I believed that to become a lady one had to have hair this color.

Janet Lane-Walters Special Edition

Then one morning I noticed my mother added this blue stuff to the white clothes she was washing. Was this the answer? I imagined this was the source of the hair.

Then I began to see other women with blue hair. These were also women who wore nice clothes, had nice jewelry and arrived at church wearing hats and gloves. Perhaps this was the answer. Maybe blue hair ran in their families. My grandmother had gray hair but hers wasn't blue.

This puzzled me for years. Then I met my husband and mentioned the ladies with the blue hair. He nodded. He had noticed blue hair on some women where he lived. He also had no idea how their hair became blue. He did say they were ladies and wore nice clothes and were women of importance in his town.

Aha, I thought. He finished medical school and we moved to a large town in Western Pennsylvania, not that far from where we had grown up. I joined the Women's Medical Wives group and I noticed there were women with blue hair. They always wore hats and gloves to the meetings. Maybe, just maybe I had found the answer. They were ladies and maybe I could become one.

Now, I was a jeans kind of person but I did have a pair of gloves, or thought I had. I went to the meeting in my jeans and a velvet tunic top. I wore my fancy boots bought when we lived in Texas but I could only find one glove. An elbow one left from some party I'd had to attend. I went to the meeting and walked in. To add to the looks I always received since I had no intention of wearing a little black dress, pearls, a hat and gloves, I pulled off the glove.

"I couldn't find the other," I announced.

I did not ever discover how all those years ago those ladies had learned how to blue their gray hair. But that led to other outrageous actions - like how I celebrated my 35th birthday. Perhaps I'll tell you that tale some day.

Oh, by the way, I now have a streak of blue in my hair. Not a lot but then I'm not a lady.