My brother just e-mailed me a copy of a note I had written to my mother back in 1960. He called it Donna's Confession. It's one of those stories that we laugh about today, but it sure wasn't funny Thursday night, July 14, 1960.The summer of 1960 - sort of a lazy summer. I was twelve. My sister was five. She had long, thick dark brown hair. It was very pretty and had never been cut except for the bangs. My mother loved brushing her hair and making it curl. I kept offering to cut it, but mother wouldn't hear of it. She was not going to cut my sister's hair.
We lived with my grandmother and my mother worked second shift at a factory. After dinner, my grandmother would go back into her sewing room and sew. There wasn't much to do except watch the boys play baseball across the street, not that I didn't like doing that. I'm not sure why but on this particular Thursday night in July, I decided I was going to just trim my sister's hair. Just a little. We were upstairs in our room. I got the scissors. I sat my sister in a chair in front of the mirror on the dresser and brushed her hair out. It was so long and just needed to be evened out a little. Told her to hold still and began to cut.
I never had any problem cutting my own hair. Her hair was so thick and I just couldn't seem to cut it straight. Kept trying to even it out, but this was not going according to plan. My sister just sat there - have no idea what was going through her mind. Pretty soon I had cut her hair up to her shoulders. Not good. I stopped. It was too late, the damage was done. I couldn't put it back. Mother was going to kill me. And, oh, if Grandma sees this I'm in worse trouble than my mother killing me.
I wrapped my sister's head with a hairnet so it just looked like her hair was up. Put her in bed. Once she was in bed, she didn't move. I wrote a note to my mother and here is what I wrote:
I did a terrible thing to Ann you can possible guess.
I got my wish, but I wish I didn't do it. Ann likes it, but she is afraid she will get in trouble or I will. I know I will but she didn't do nothing except move. I cut her hair! I was only going to even it up, but she moved and then I had to cut more off. I'm sorry, very sorry but don't tell Grandma what I did. I thought I better tell you what I did instead of you finding out about it yourself. You'd be madder if I tried to hide it. I save her hair.
Thursday July 14 - 1960
After writing the note (did you notice how I tried to weasel out of it being my fault and that my sister liked her haircut?), I also got in bed and as far down in the covers as I could get. She was going to be so mad. When my mother got home that night, I was still awake. She came upstairs and into our room. She saw the note and picked it up. She read it. And oh, was she mad. She yelled and cried. I didn't say a word. I think she was afraid to spank me, she was so mad. She would say that this was the worst thing I ever did.
At the time, I knew that I had done something that hurt my mother and I really was very sorry.