Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daddy's Toupe(e)

These are pictures of my dad.

Notice the hair. By the time all of these pictures were taken, my dad was completely bald (a little fringe around the nether edges). He lost his hair on his mission. This means that by his early twenties he had no hair to speak of. Legend has it that as a young man he had an amazing head of hair--auburn hair. This was important to me because I was known as a young person as the “red head.”

But by the time he returned from his mission, courted my mother (another wonderful story), he had no hair. In the late twenties, early thirties of the last century, that was definitely not cool. So until well into my childhood, my dad wore a toupe(e)--sort of.

My dad was a farmer, a laborer. He worked in the fields, worked with his hands. He completed high school, but then went to work. So during the work week my dad was a bald man. On Sunday and for special occasions (like pictures), my dad had a head of hair.

I well remember Sunday mornings growing up. My family getting ready to go to church. For Daddy that meant taking the toupe(e) out of the box. I remember that he would cut tiny pieces of white adhesive tape, loop them, set them on the oil stove we had (no furnace at that point) to warm. And the toupe(e) would sit there as well--to warm. He’d pluck the loops from the stove, arrange them on the inside of the hairpiece, and plunk it on his head. On for morning services. Off for lunch and the afternoon. On again for evening services.

Or for funerals, special occasions. On. A fashion accouterment as I think of it now. Like a hat. And for years, lots of real actual hats during the week (I should post another slideshow of my daddy with hats in his early years).

By the time I was in late childhood, my teens, the Sunday ritual was gone. My daddy was a very bald man. Grey hair with blackish highlights (I never saw the red). A tie and a suit on Sunday--that was the end of the dress up.

Those images of the loops of white adhesive tape on the stove in the living room on a Sunday morning. And the toupe by the side of those loops. An image in a child’s memory.