When I say “BIG HAIR” I can tell most folks don’t have an inkling. Or they picture Crystal Gayle or some ancient Egyptian princess with hair down to the bottom hem on a floor length dress. Or possibly they conjure up the once popular beehive—where the hair swirled around in a conical shape and piled high on the head, making the most diminutive women look six feet tall.
Naw, I’m talking bigger than that!
You’d think a guy that played in half a dozen Homecoming football games and coached another thirty-eight or so would naturally recall certain plays, big wins or any number of special moments surrounding the game. But Homecoming week mostly reminds me of big hair.
I suspect I’m a product of my raising.
I enjoyed every Homecoming as a young fan and player. I didn’t enjoy them as a coach. The difference is easy to understand. The hoopla, fanfare or “gooblygock” as Coach Scott called it when we were in high school, was sooo much fun as a kid. As a coach, it was just another distraction.
Coach Scott would be mad all week, “I catch you guys working on those floats, strutting around like peacocks or standing within one hundred yards of any girl in this high school, I’m going to run the whole bunch of you till your lungs fall out your navels!”
It took a dark night and three of us to work on the class float. One player got to nail the goal post in place. One player was out front watching for Coach Scott and the third was in the woods behind the barn scouting out an escape route in case he showed up!
The fun really started at noon. School would get out early and the girls would rush downtown to Clyde Phillips’ Style Center. Some would hustle over to Nadine’s Beauty Salon. Imogene’s Shop was also a popular choice.
You couldn’t show up on the Homecoming court, or the dance for that matter, with a pony tail for goodness sakes!
I think it was that Annette with-the-funny-sounding-last-name Mouseketeer that got this big hair trend started in one of those “Beach Blanket Bingo” movies. I know it was a big (no pun intended) deal in 1964 in our little town. The trick for the hairdresser was to tease the hair up and out in every direction as far as it would go…..and then pour the starch to it!
Phillips was on Broadway. We’d pick a park bench on the square across the street and settle in for the show. It was better than a Saturday matinee. If Barnum and Bailey had figured this out, they’d still be in business.
Pam Collins would go in with her locks plastered to her face. It would take a while. But she’d come out with hair stretching toward the sky! It looked like she’d been plugged into an electric outlet. “Little Orphan Annie, with eyes” is the way her cousin Rick put it.
LaRenda Bradfield’s hair wasn’t as long as some. But, I’m telling you, they could grow hair in those places. We thought she was going to tip over before she got to the car but her dad caught her.
The wind lifted Ann Carol McCaleb right off the ground.
We got word that Charlotte Melton had been in Imogene’s since 10:00 AM. We broke and ran across town hoping there were some good seats left.
Charlotte had hair BEFORE she went into the salon. Buddy swore that Imogene had a machine that would blow up each individual hair. Charlotte had to turn sideways coming out the door. She wouldn’t fit in the car. You talk about a memory that will live in infamy—Charlotte tied to the top of a Ford Fairlane, her mom slowly turning that corner up by the movie theater.
The Homecoming parade started in front of the elementary school and proceeded slowly up Stonewall Street. Somehow the Trojan horse on the sophomore float toppled off the wagon as it made that wide curve in front of the First Baptist Church.
Rollin Trull, in the convertible behind, hit his brakes and took a hard left to avoid the mess. A member of the homecoming court riding with Rollin tumbled across the hood and landed head first on the pavement. Her mom got her upright and was asking her if she was alright when Imogene rushed out of the crowd and starting combing out the dent in her hair.
Hey, the girl might be crowned Homecoming Queen and Imogene figured her reputation was on the line…..