My mom rocked her hair old school – every Saturday morning she headed to Palisades Park to get her hair “done” at Lou’s Salon. As gross as it sounds, my mom, in the 2nd half of her life, sort of gave up on washing her hair. I don’t know why and I never asked her. But every Saturday, no matter how tight our budget was, she drove to Lou’s, drank coffee in styrofoam cups and had her hair washed and set.

Lou’s Salon was your typical joint with bad prints of 70’s hairstyles on the wall. It smelled of ammonia, setting gel, and drip coffee. He was an attractive man with dark hair, glasses and a cheesy porn mustache. He styled hair with an up-raided pinky swathed in a cloud of Aqua Net while clad in a polyester shirt and tight jeans. I’m sure 85% of his married, haus frau female clients had some serious “take me while I’m under the dryer” fantasies about good old Lou.

After her Saturday appointment mom would not wash her hair for the entire week. She’d take baths to avoid it getting wet, and sleep on a satin pillow to keep her hair from getting too messed up. In the morning, she would adjust her misshapen dome into a hairdo and blast it with a quart of hairspray.

Saturday through Tuesday, she looked like a million bucks. But towards Wednesday and Thursday, depending on the weather, her hair would take a serious downward spiral. Let’s be honest – you can only maintain a shell of lacquered hair for so long. By weeks end it was time for the big guns.

The wigs. My mom had wigs. Kim Zolciak? Step aside. My mom rocked the wig when you were still walking around in Pampers.

The wig I remember the most was one with tight, red curls. One day mom would have her usual dome hair. The next day? Little Orphan Annie. Twas not the smoothest of transitions. When wigs didn’t work for some reason, she’d resort to the do-rag. Usually it was a bandanna wrapped around her hair – personally I would have rather broken down and washed my hair before resorting to the do-rag, but my mom marched to her own drummer.

I had my hair done TONS of times at Lou’s. He gave me my rockin’ spiked haircut in 1985 – a style which I maintained for at least 4 years after. I’m sure I had at least 25 hair cuts under Lou’s masterful scissors, not to mention my sisters.

And, when my mom died, I walked into his salon to ask if he’d do her hair for the very last time. I had to wait before I could talk to  him, and I sat in a chair looking at the bad hair model photos on the wall – now upgraded from 70’s styles to circa 1988 even though the calendar read 1995. He approached me, and I told him of my mom’s passing, and he said that nothing would give him more pleasure than to send my mom off with a true Lou ‘do.

He made her look beautiful for at least 20 years, and in death he did not disappoint. She was as lovely as ever. And even with the massive amounts of flowers in the funeral parlor room, I think I could still detect a whiff of Aqua Net.

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