Beauty Shop 

Bonnie Boerema

© Copyright 2017 by Bonnie Boerema

Photo of lady in beauty shop.

Mom was a beautician. My childhood revolved around our mom’s beauty shop. When I was five dad and mom bought my childhood home, in Conway, Missouri. They continued to live there until 1981, when dad died.

In 1948 mom opened Juanita’s Beauty Shop in Conway, in our front bedroom. Her beauty equipment consisted of three hair dryers, one styling station with shampoo bowl, and a manicure table and chair. She purchased a Coca Cola machine, with the original tiny green bottles. She dearly loved cokes, and was her own best customer. Dad built her two shelves for her to display and she sold makeup, mostly Revlon lipsticks and compacts.

She had an electric permanent wave machine, with wires and clamps hanging down. To a five-year old little girl, it looked scary. A year or two later it disappeared. They either sold it, or got rid of it. She started giving permanents to her customers with permanent wave solution.

Mom was up at 5:00, then she had to clean her shop, and get ready for the day. At 8:00 a.m. she’d start her appointments, and work most afternoons until 6:00 p.m. six days a week Monday – Saturday.

My sister Connie and I walked to and from school, and we’d come home to the smell of permanent wave solution, chatter and laughing.

Mom and dad both were hard workers, with a strong work ethic, which they passed down to us. Her shop and our house had no air-conditioner until I left home at eighteen.

In the late fifties, dad made her a water-cooler air-conditioner for her shop. Mom was an independent woman, and way ahead of her time. In the forties and fifties, when most women were traditional moms, and stayed home raising the kids, mom wanted more.

By 1951, dad and mom had a much larger room built on adjacent to our house for a new beauty shop. She had much more room for her customers and equipment.

Connie and I were given chores when we were little. We were washing dishes at five. One of us would wash, and the other one would dry. Other chores we had were vacuuming, dusting, and hanging laundry on the clothes line, even in the winter. This was long before electric washers and dryers. Mom washed on a wringer washing machine, with two rinse tubs.

She built up a good business, with most of Conway and the surrounding area. It was a small town, where everybody knew everybody. Hair was important in our house, and most of my childhood memories revolved around that beauty shop.

Dad used to say, “If a woman has a $100 dress on, and her hair looks bad, she looks bad. Appearance isn’t everything, but if a woman looks good. Hair is at the top of that list.

Mom closed her beauty shop in 1970. She had been fixing hair for thirty years and was ready for a change. She later took the Civil Service test for a clerical job at Ft. Leonard Wood, close to Waynesville, Missouri. She passed it, but her typing speed couldn’t have been over 25 words a minute, because she’d never typed. Mom retired at age sixty-two from Ft. Leonard Wood. She remained active until at age sixty-seven, she had a stroke.

In the mid-nineties she started having mini-strokes. They wiped out her memory.

She entered herself into Manor Care Assisted Living in 2000, and died in 2003, after suffering with Alzheimer’s disease the four years before she died.

She was still wrapping her fingers around a bobbie pin until she died.

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