Ann Farabee: The beauty college
Ahh… it was my favorite day of the week— Saturday. All because we got to go to the beauty college.
It was my mother’s weekly trip to get her hair did— I mean get her hair done— at what we now call a cosmetology school. She would tell us that it was time for her to go ‘get pretty,’ and my brother, sister and I would hop in the car.
We did not mind going, because once we entered the doors, there it was— a big refrigerated box that held bottles of Coca Cola. What more could we want?
Since we were kids, we had to wait in the waiting area— better known as several chairs— and the Coca Cola box. I probably used much of that time aggravating my little brother, but my main memory is not what I did there, but how it made me feel being there.
There were interactions between the customers, stylists and owner. There was laughter and easy conversation. Sometimes, the conversations would become hushed, and I knew that confidences were probably being shared, and encouragement was being given. Then, when it got really quiet, I would look over and see Mama sitting with her eyes closed, as her hair was being styled. It felt odd to see her relax, because that rarely happened at home.
As student stylists worked, the instructor would stop by, call each customer by name, and talk with them. Even as a child, I could sense his sincere caring for them. Then, he would talk softly with the stylists, offering suggestions, guiding them to strive for success.
But most of the time, he went just a little further. He would take the comb or brush into his own hands, while patiently talking with the student on ways to perfect their work.
A subtle change here or there— just a mere touch of his hand sometimes — and VOILA— the weekly masterpiece was complete. I could see the three of them gazing proudly at Mama’s reflection in the mirror, with smiles on their faces. Beauty had come.
They would then hug her, and smilingly say, “Bye, Mrs. Miles. See you next week.” I could almost feel that renewed and refreshed spirit that I sensed in her, as we placed our empty Coke bottles in the rack, and dutifully marched out the door behind her like little soldiers.
She had been to the beauty college— and not only had she received renewal and refreshment, but so had we.
It was a beautiful thing.
She had three children, bills to be paid, was a third shift worker in the mill, and had to deal with an angry alcoholic husband. There had been a lot of hard days and a lot of hard times.
But, at the beauty college, Mama got a break.
As we marched out that door weekly, I believe that even then, God was my instructor, laying the groundwork for my story— giving me those VOILA moments needed for those future days— and future years— that hard times would come my way. They did. They still do.
2 Timothy 2:3 says to endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
When we endure, I believe the results are worth it.
But, in the midst of the hard times, I sure have discovered where the beauty college is located. It’s a place with my Lord where He gives me encouragement, joy, guidance, refreshment and renewal. A place where I can close my eyes and relax, knowing that He is still working on my behalf. It is a place where He makes everything beautiful in His time.
If you don’t know French, VOILA can mean, “There it is.”