Finding My Roots (with a nod to the Bard)
BY IRENE FRANK
As a little girl I was blessed with beautiful
platinum blonde hair. It cascaded down with
undulating, shimmering waves and a natural
dip covering one eye. My mother, a brunette,
enjoyed brushing and fussing with my hair.
As I grew up, she took extreme measures to
keep me blonde. She would use cotton balls
dipped in hot oil to open the hair follicles and
followed that up by pouring lemon juice over
my head. Yes, it was painful, but I’d do anything
to please mama!
For a long time, Mary Clairol was my best
friend. We’d spend one night a month together.
I wanted to believe the old adage, “Blondes
have more fun.” But it was no fun when the
dye dripped onto the towel around my neck. I
could be heard shouting, “Out, out damn spot!”
The pandemic brought with it many crises. I
awoke one morning, looked in the mirror and
actually recoiled from my reflection. There it
was. I saw it. White roots against
blonde hair! On television it was
common to see attractive, slender,
young newscasters sporting straight
blonde hair with black roots, but
I doubted that the fashion trends
would change enough to encourage
people to parade blonde hair with
white roots. That would be asking
too much of the youth-oriented
society. Shakespeare said, “There
is nothing either good or bad, but
thinking makes it so.” I did not
think that was good.
I had a big decision to make:
To dye or not to dye, that was the
question. Whether tis nobler in the
mind to suffer the slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune (white roots)
or to take to the bottle and dye once
Julius Caesar said, “Cowards die
many times, the valiant go natural.”
I didn’t have as much trouble deciding who to
marry or which house to buy or which profession
to pursue as deciding whether to go white.
And then I remembered the Bard’s words: This
above all, to thine own self be true, and it must
follow as the night, the day, thou canst be false
to any man.” That to me was code for “Baby let
it all hang out.” These days I think it is better
to have been a blonde and lost it then never to
have been a blonde at all.
Some say having white hair is hereditary: You
get it from your children. I now have the same
style and hair color I had at age two. Funny the
way things go in a circle. It no longer cascades
or shimmers but the dip will not go away. But
happy am I to have lived long enough to have
seen white roots. Others have not been that
lucky. I am grateful.
and far-sighted complications to
use one pair of glasses instead
How does this all lead to my story
today? Well, I finally ordered a
new pair of glasses. I got tired of
bumping into walls. I have marks
all over them from my Clairol #10
hair dye to prove it. As I’m looking,
you know the pattern the marks
made really isn’t too bad at all. It
kind of makes the wall look more
interesting. Unfortunately, I also
now have scuffs on the tips of my
new shoes where I missed the top
of the curb, and I’ve said hello to
people I don’t know and haven’t
kissed the correct people goodbye.
Lastly, I’m not sure that while
walking the golf course last week,
that cat I saw with the white stripe
down the middle was someone’s
You know, I don’t think Ptolemy
would be happy with my new eyeglasses.
In reality, I don’t know if
any of you will be happy with my
choice. They are fire engine red
with a bit of sparkles added for fun.
All I’ll need is a siren and a ladder
and I’ll look like a fire engine.
Oy! Shades of Sally Jessy Raphael!
What was I thinking? What kind
of a statement will I be making?
What does this color say about me?
According to my research, red is a
statement that says I’m fiery, bold,
daring and confident. Honestly?
My ancestors would say, “Nyet!”
I’d say lively and spirited instead of
fiery. I’d say courageous instead of
bold. I’d say venturesome instead
of daring and secure instead of
Red must be popular these days.
My optometrist said these glasses
sell out as soon as he is restocked.
Really? Were all my sister eyeglass
wearers trying to make some kind
of statement also? Despite the
color this should be the solution
to many of my visual problems.
I can now stop maiming myself
with the help of these new lenses.
Last week I looked like I had the
measles because of all the places I
tried to tweeze and missed. I know
I’m constantly missing the target
when I keep tripping over those six
foot long chin hairs. When I check
myself out with my new glasses I
hope I haven’t been looking like
painter Frida Kahlo all this time.
Worse than that, how about
Labor leader John L. Lewis? Well
at least their brows may have kept
them warm. Eh! I shouldn’t gripe
because they were both brilliant.
I always try to find some comedy
in my complaints. It helps in coping
with things that are bothering me.
Does it make them go away, no, but
it helps me to tolerate them better. I
was once asked by someone, “Why
do I make fun of what’s going on
in my life?” Because I know how
far to go with me.
Reminiscing about happy things
or wonderful future plans are also
fodder for my “mind’s eye” and
sometimes makes it work overtime.
How else can I greet each
day with optimism and be kept
busy with topics to write and talk
about? Fortunately, that “mind’s
eye” doesn’t need corrective lenses.
And to all,
I wish you the happiest and
healthiest of New Years. See you
*Quote from eyeglass fashion
I’m going to share some fun comments I recently came across to help
“feed” your “mind’s eye” and perhaps even put a smile on your face.
••Captain Hook’s optometrist to Captain Hook, after fitting him with
an eye patch. “Next time sneeze into your arm!”
•• Patient to the optometrist: “I’m returning these glasses I bought for
my husband. He’s still not seeing things my way!”
••Monster’s wife talking to the monster, “I think our child has your
••Monster: “Not again! He can choke!”
••Maxine: “I go to the eye doctor just to be alone in the dark with a
man who has a job!”
••Wife to her husband, “I feel terrible; I look old, fat
and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.”
Husband: “Your eyesight‘s damn near perfect.”
January 2022 ¢ NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER 17