Sharing an early column

I continue to work on my column book collection from 1980-81. I thought I’d share one essay today. It’s about three-year-old Becky (Rebecca).

Why Cut Becky’s beautiful hair?

Farmer’s Friend newspaper May 8, 1980

I am going to cut my three-year-old daughter’s hair! I can’t stand it any longer! Becky’s hair is long, blonde, and constantly stuck to a lollipop or a runny nose.

A nearly bald baby, pink ruffles did little for Becky. Even a bow pasted on her sparsely covered head brought, “Gee, isn’t HE cute,” or “Such a nice little BOY.”

I had one last idea to proclaim my daughter’s femininity. But my husband stopped me. He didn’t like the idea of writing GIRL across her forehead in indelible ink.

I had to wait for her hair to grow of its own free will.

Meanwhile, I washed and brushed the fine strands that appeared. Finally, she could no longer be mistaken for CHARLIE BROWN. She had hair the length of my finger.

But along with the changes in her hairline came a drastic change in her attitude. The comb and the Brush became her enemies. Daily she booby-trapped her head as a defense against these weapons. She stubbornly used her hair as a handkerchief, a testing ground for sailors’ knots, and a hiding place for gum.

Becky even tried to camouflage herself as a straw-headed scarecrow. But her tactics backfired. A flock of birds spotted her and tried to turn her into a large nest.

I didn’t mind our confrontations much. It was worth it to see her bright and shiny, if only for five minutes. But the last straw came when she arrived home after chasing the cat.

Her brother heralded her arrival. “Becky’s got that stuff all over her again.” His announcement could mean anything. In the past, she’d been covered with black marker, mud, and manure. I had to wait for her grand entrance to discover what it was this time.

To my horror, I learned Becky had followed the cat through an old fence row. She stood before me with a halo of burrs.

I was at my limit. I picked up my sewing scissors. My hands were shaking. I couldn’t cut yet. I had to calm down and get most of the burrs out first.

I picked as gently as possible. I now know I should have used the scissors and given her a “butch” there and then. Instead, we worked together and cried together until her hair was picked clean and the scissors were no longer needed.

After the work was done, Becky looked the picture of innocence. Her long, blonde hair pulled out of her face in pigtails—nice and neat. I let my masterpiece out to play where the world could admire her beautiful hair.

I may regret it, but I guess I’ll wait to cut her hair until tomorrow.

Photo of Becky taken a little later but still with pigtails.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved