My Hair and Mrs. Hibbs

31 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites

 

 

Our fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Hibbs, stands up front talking. I’m not listening. I’ve had a sudden urge to comb my hair so I lift the desk lid and scramble for a comb. Mrs. Hibbs hesitates, but when she sees me begin to try to get the tangles out of my long brown hair she proceeds with the lesson. I’ll never know why she let me do that. I guess she saw as well as anyone that it had to be done.

Mother had tried for years to get me to hold still long enough for her to comb my hair. We didn’t use brushes, though she had a fancy one on her dresser. The trouble was that Mother was almost always in a hurry now that she and dad owned a bar and restaurant. She put on her pristine white waitress uniform and got there at 6:00 A. M. to serve breakfast, mostly to the other shop-keepers of the town, and a stray fisherman getting a late start. Mrs. McGregor was in the kitchen filling the air with smells of frying bacon and making her famous pancakes. Dad stayed home and slept off his night shift of serving the drinks and chatting with the regulars who valued his counsel.

Whenever mother combed my hair she tried to pull the tangles out with the comb and it hurt. Her mother, my white-haired grandmother was softer and easier and she never hurt me, but she died when I was only seven. I still had another grandmother, though, and she was a professional beauty operator with her own shop. Whenever we went to her town she took care of my hair. I didn’t like that either, especially the machine permanent waves.

So here I was in the schoolroom with the sun shining in my eyes from the window and Mrs. Hibbs soft voice coming into my ears. Separating strands of hair took a long time. Mrs. Hibbs held steady. She was allowing me to do something that she saw needed doing. Overall, I think I was something of a poor learner, but it was obvious from her steady patience and kindness that even though she never had children of her own she loved us and understood us all, even enough to bend the rules when they needed to be bent. Due to her indulgence, I was able to run a comb my hair. I never let it get tangled again.

 

 

 

2 Responses to “My Hair and Mrs. Hibbs”

  1. Onisha Ellis July 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    I understand about your hair combing. I am very tender headed and detangling was painful. Eventually, my mom had my long hair cut off. What a blessing that teacher was to her students.

    Like

  2. ludyja July 31, 2017 at 7:08 am #

    I love your stories!! And I’ve always loved your hair – envied it, more likely. Just makes me love you more. And I adore that picture – was it a school pic?

    Like

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