by Louise Atchison

“Shake , Rattle and Roll, girls! You need to get a move on to be ready for the dance”. The Toni Home Permanent was first on the list for many of us: smelly, stinky, drippy, and not always a success, we endured the process at the kitchen sink in anticipation of the big dance and the possibilities. Oh, the possibilities!

There was not a lot of makeup around- some lipstick, which you had to check frequently that it did not end up on a tooth or on a glass after the first sip. And maybe some mascara. Some of us tried foundation. It might have been better to have chosen the correct colour. But, seeing those surprised, staring faces looking back at me was memorable. Then the dress. Sewing your own, or having someone in the family sew it for you, was not uncommon.

Store-bought dresses were expensive, but good fabrics were easier to find. The night before was wash-the-hair-and-set-it time: picky, wired mesh rollers, with brushes that grabbed the hair and punctured the scalp, were strategically placed, a net to try to corral them next, and then to a fitful, overnight sleep. The next day, the back combing began.

No hat could be considered and, indeed, not needed, such was the insulating factor of the mile high do. Then hair spray. And a bit more. “Don’t even think of running your fingers through this, Buckey!”

Ladies in the upcoming musical, “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, with songs from the 50’s and 60’s, are sharing their memorabilia: picture albums, souvenirs and stories of the dances and romances back in the day at the Lighthouse on the Rideau River near Osgoode. The shows are a fund raiser for Kemptville and District Home Support. Tickets will soon be printed and on sale in September for the November 8, 9 and 10 shows at the Urbandale Arts Centre, Kemptville. More information might be available at 613 258 3203.


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