Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Steel Magnolia

Miss Bernice's home was located at the top of a very steep hill. At the bottom of the hill could be found her place of work which she walked to every day of her working life, Miss B's Palace of Beauty. Miss Bernice had been cutting hair since the age of 17 when she left an abusive husband, her infant son on hip, vowing to make her own safe haven in the world and for any woman needing one as well.

Miss Bernice's shop had but one sink for washing hair and one chair for styling hair, but it had an entire wall of chairs with dryers that could be pulled down low on the head, an enveloping warmth as inviting as the advice her customers came to hear.

It was to this place I came with my mother whether our hair needed cutting or not. It was among these women, at Miss Bernice's direction, that I was allowed to be myself. Installed alongside a counter that held  an ever reached for coffee pot, was a little table that held the things I loved to make. From animals made from PlayDoh to Pom Pom Critters, to Rock People. An envelope would always be waiting my arrival filled with change from Miss Bernice's customers.

From Childhood Days to Newlywed Days to Young Mother days, Miss Bernice would provide the customers for anything my creative heart wanted to share. She also provide the tender advice I was unable to hear from my mother about the affairs of the heart. She would share with me words never spoken to another soul about her struggles as a young woman on her own. Her gentle perspective let me know my blessings were many, my troubles few.

Miss Bernice was a Steel Magnolia before there was a story or a book or a movie about the women who inhabit such a place. It is because of Miss Bernice that all women and men alike are protected from the dangerous carcinogenic fluorocarbons that use to be found in all aerosols. She was the one special woman who cut hair in a shop with only one chair for more than 40 years and who lost her battle with Eye Cancer caused from aerosol hairspray that we are all thankful for today.

Please do not pin patterns on Pinterest.

I forgot to include instructions for tail! A pipe stem is inserted between layers of felt and inserted into a small slit make on the backside of body.


Jenn Bontrager said...

What a cute little bunny and bluebird. Your creations are always so sweet. Thanks for sharing.

Perfectly Printed said...

She sounds like a wonderful friend! And your new creations are darling!


daisydilly (vicki) said...

So loved the story of Miss Bernice. Thanks for sharing that and the patterns

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth! Oh, what a story and I too have similar memories of going to the beauty shop. I loved the McCall's magazines for the Betsy McCall paper dolls. My aunt was a beautician and I loved to go to her shop an get 'fancy'! :)
I love your sweet little felties.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Elizabeth, your heartwarming tale of the saga of women is touching. And by the way Steel Magnolia's is one of my most very favorite movies!

vivian said...

such sweet memories you have.. I wish I had memories like yours! oh well... I hope my kids have lots of good memories!
Your easter friends are sooooo stinking cute. why oh why did god not make us neighbors? We would have so much fun creating together!
have a great weekend Elizabeth!

Musings from Kim K. said...

Another inspiring woman. Another touching tale topped with such beautiful eye candy. Thank you for sharing.

Nan said...

Sweet story. I can't get over your sweet sweet little crafting peoples oh my gosh is that blue one with the pink flowers ever the sweetest I've ever seen. Your hands must have had a miracle done to them as you are crafting up a storm here E. Bless your kind heart and giving nature. I have a Betsy McCall doll I must show you sometime. Nan

Lynn said...

She sounds like a wonderful lady and a special friend to many! How awesome is it that she saw the talent you had to create at a young age and encouraged your creativity! How sweet that she gave you a spot to sell your creations! I am sure the ladies that purchased them were as thrilled as we are today to buy and own one of your awesome pieces of art. Have a wonderful week! That Easter Bunny is soo cute! I love the detail on her sweet face!
Lynn and the wienee ranch crew

syocom said...

I saw the hair pin dolls at the top. I have one, got it from my great grandfather from my great grandmother, whom I never knew. I think they are fascinating and until earlier this year had no idea why there was a hole in the top of the head. Your dolls are very beautiful thank you for sharing them and your story.

E said...

I love to read your stories my aunt did my hair so rarely got to visit the beauty shop but when I did it was a big deal ... Dot was my beautician and she was a gum chewer/smacker, talked about everyone in town "bless their hearts" :) Love your latest creations especially that blue bird and his pastel floral swag ... cute cute cute XO E

Unknown said...

Thank you again for sharing your wonderful stories as well as your patterns. Now I am off to buy some pink, white , blue and yellow felt. trudy

vintage grey said...

Elizabeth, I just adore your sweet bunny!! Too adorable!! Thanks for sharing a sweet post! xo Heather

Holly said...

Very sweet and touching story. Miss Bernice was so kind and thoughtful to encourage your crafting by selling it in her beauty shop. As adults, we never know how much a little kindness can be remembered by children for the rest of their lives.
I love your Easter crafts! Such a sweet little bunny and look at your craft room all ready for Easter! Have a wonderful night, Holly

Anonymous said...

This is such a lovely story! Bernice sounds like a wonderful woman! I grew up in a small town, and my mother often cut ladies hair in the dining room of our old farmhouse. It was fun to listen to their stories. The pink bunny so reminds me of my own "Pinky" - a Pink Easter Bunny that I received at about 5 years old, and I still have her. I may just have to put my hand to the felt and make one!

KC'sCourt! said...

Lovely story
I love the Bluebird and Pink Bunny
Thank you for sharing
Julie xxxxxxxx

sunnyskiesandsweettea said...

Oh they are so cute!! I just love them both!!

Amy Jo

~Damita's Pretty Wrap~ said...

Lovely new creations! I love those cute felted flowers on the blue bird :) Holly

Anonymous said...

Aw, poor Miss Bernice! I wonder if she continued to do hair when her eye site (most probably?) failed her...

I'm so glad for all the wonderful people you had in your childhood.

E, your little people and animals are always so cute but I so adore those little felt flowers! I bet they would look so cute as a garland just by themselves! ♥

Anonymous said...

I recently found your blog and I just wanted you to know that it brings joy to me every time I open it to see what surprises you have for us! You can't help but smile at your lovely creations. You are a real inspiration!! Thank you so much for bringing a smile to my day!


Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Elizabeth-thank you for visiting my blog this morning! Your blog always, makes my day brighter!

Laura said...

Oh Elizabeth what a wonderful story!I love your bunny and that Bluebird!!! You are a big inspiration to Michele and I! I went out and bought old baby hangers to sweeten up just like the ones you did in a few post back!!! I don't know how you accomplish so much!!! I definately have to try to make that bluebird with those beautiful felt flowers...bluebirds are also one of my favorite things to have around. Thank you for the pattern...What kind of felt do you use, any brand it particular?

kimber said...

Ms. Bernice sounds lovely and loving, just like you! I always said that I loved to be in the "Comfort of Women" and what better place than in a salon like your friend's. Thank you for sharing your lovely tale and adorable make my heart happy!!

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GardenOfDaisies said...

That bluebird is the cutest thing ever! God Bless your Miss Bernice. How sad that she lost her eyesight and her battle.

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Scrap for Joy said...

Your Easter Bunnies are sweet but my heart actually stopped beating when I saw that little bluebird. Oh my, she is the cutest one ever!(so far)Poor Bernice! My sister "did hair" in our basement for several years before she married. I loved it when the ladies came (one at a time of course...there was only one shampoo sink and one dryer and one station with a big mirror.) In my mind I can still smell the hairsprays and shampoos and of course the sterilizing solution for the combs. Bristle brush rollers and permanent waves..I was a guinea pig for lots of things! Thanks for the memory today!

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