Who I Am

I’ve been thinking about this for a while;   how to pass on to stylists and salon owners what I have learned in my 37 years in our industry.

I went to a very old timey beauty school in 1980.  I was 25 years old and had been teaching special education for 4 years in the public schools.  It wasn’t my gig.  This was during the throes of punk, and I was all in.  I couldn’t abide by all the rules and the administration machine, so I abandoned ship and looked for a new career.

Hairdressing turned out to be the jewel in my otherwise battered crown.

I went from wondering what I was going to do with my life to being SO HAPPY to embark on this new fairy tale called hair.

Austin, Texas was and still is a prime place for exciting fashion and music.  The two are intertwined.  However, at A&C College of Beauty, time went backwards.  Our required regalia with no exceptions was white nurses uniforms(dresses only for the women), white shoes, and absolutely no color at all.  Not even socks or a belt, which I found out when I got in trouble for the pink belt and socks I dared to wear one day.  I didn’t get sent home, but I was given a stern warning from Mr. Gus.

Oh, let me explain what we were required to call our instructors.  Whatever their name was, we had to insert a MR or MISS in front of it.  So we had Miss Cora, Miss Ruby, Miss Jean,  Mr. Dean, Mr. Don(they were brothers), Mr. Gus and the queen of A&C, Miss Audie Nall(the owner).

The Misters had pretty normal hair for the time, with the tiny exception of Mr. Dean, who attempted to bleach his hair blonde but instead achieved a lovely shade of brass.  Not a great example.

HOWEVER, the women instructors were amazing!  Miss Cora changed her hair color monthly, and had a bouffant to beat the band.  She bragged about being able to roll a perm on toothpicks.  I believed her and still do.  My classmate Karen and I referred to her as “hardcore”.  Miss Audie’s hair was the high point and I do mean high.  About half of her hair was black and the other half was white and she did this amazing bouffant twirly swirly thing.  Think Cruella Deville.  She was scary, but I liked her.

Because I was making dime tips at a beer garden in East Austin, I was able to get a grant to go to A&C.  I believe at that time the tuition was about $1800 and I paid $85.  A slight difference from the tuitions for cosmetology school today.

Well, that’s about all I have for today.  Tune in for the next exciting episode!