Now, look, before you criticize the style, let me just say that’s pretty dang close to how my hair looks in the morning. It takes a LOT of work to get it tamed, and I imagine that’s why Evelyn Bartkowiak visited Phyllis’ Hair Design in Baltimore every other week. I feel you, Evelyn. Actually, thanks to a quick interwebs search, I was able to see that Evelyn passed in 2016, and not only did her obituary include her work as a welder in airplane cockpits in WWII, but a dazzling smile (thanks to the accompanying 16 minute video included, of all 96 years of her life). Cheers to Evelyn for a life well-lived!
Delta Sigma Theta was founded 99 years ago at Howard University. This chapter of ladies studied as Jayhawks in Kansas. While Greek life itself has never mattered to me, what does matter is pictures. And I love this one. Not just the dresses and the hair and the double strand of something too jagged to be pearls, but I love old people names. Oreta, Betty Lou, Ivor, Cozetta, and even Dymple. Look at them subbing in Y’s 80 years ago, like they do today. (Think Kyndyll instead of Kendall.) And of course, there’s Dorothy Swope. I bet she traded that surname for another in the next five years, but on this day, in that dress, she was a Swope.
Yearbooks offer windows of potential. Young people on the precipice of adulthood, away from home, focusing their career paths, making friends, falling in love. Who knows what these women accomplished, how many people today remember their names? Maybe one reached 100 and still exists. But now they’re on the internet, forever preserved in youth, smiling in a time before Pearl Harbor, not knowing what would come.
“Gibson girl” Evelyn Nesbit poses in 1955 with the 1902 portrait drawn of her by Charles Gibson, reflecting the standard of female attractiveness at the cusp of the 20th century. This included voluptuous curves and, as Judy Garland sang in The Trolley Song, “hair piled high upon my head.”
At 16, she already poses formidably for this portrait by Gertrude Kasebier in 1902, commissioned by architect Stanford White, who was sleeping with the teen at the time.
Nesbit had a storied past, including a love triangle with Harry Thaw, railroad heir and coke addict, who later murdered White in a fit of jealousy, much too complicated for this small blog. We can, however, share the beauty of youth that is timeless.
Everyone knows the manger was lined with marigold silk. It’s just a matter of draping.
Shepherds watched their flocks by night, gripping staffs of Reynolds Wrap.
What do you suppose that fellow on the ladder is doing?
Three-year-old Joyce Bjerk towers high above the ground below in her father Oscar’s barber shop in Karlstad, Minnesota. Pop’s sign above the swanky Maytag washing machine declares a haircut and a shave for a fair price of just two quarters. Joyce seems to be getting the standard kids’ cut of 1934. At least she knows it’s on the house.
Cheryl gets a back-to-school perm in the early 50s, looking positively mortified by the tentacles of the electric permanent wave machine, which brings to mind an early prototype of R2D2. Twin sister Carol had hers done as well, and the results speak for themselves.
In my newer model sensible Camry, I have two inches clearance between my scalp and the roof. I doubt I could have comfortably driven this sedan with my higher volume 80s hair. But this? This is (quite lit’rally) above and beyond.
This hair style was MADE for buses. Buses offer plenty of room for trendy gals to nod and shake their heads. It’s a good thing no one went jogging back then, because these bouffants would have never fit beneath a ball cap.
Now check out this Sputnik style. How would you travel with this thing? By rocket ship?