by Sandra Pugh
When I worked at Northgate Salon we had lots of kids come into the salon with their mothers or fathers. Most of the kids were well behaved and we usually didn’t have any trouble with the little ones. I could usually give the older ones the look with my big eyes and they would straighten up and behave.
My niece (Megan) practically grew up in the salon her first 4 years. I think she thought of all the women that worked there as an extended family of aunts. My sister went to work at 6:00 in the morning and got off at 3:00. They would stop in almost every day when she picked my niece up at the baby sitters.
One of Megan’s favorite things to do in the shop was; choose one of the children’s books, then pick one of the ladies under a dryer. She was in toddler heaven with 10-12 Grandmas under hairdryers all at the same time. She would stand in front of the chosen woman until she noticed her.
Then Megan would hand the woman the book and wait for the invitation to climb onto her lap. When the lady she had chosen invited her onto her lap Megan would scramble up as fast as she could to hear the story.
It didn’t seem to matter that she had heard the same books over and over; it was always fun to have them read to her again.
There were always purses sitting around on the floor when the customers were getting their hair worked on by one of the 9 hairdressers. The hairdresser’s purses were always in the back room and usually sitting on the floor also. My niece knew not to touch the purses on the floor in the salon because they were the customers and none of them belonged to her mother.
Liz would take Megan to the back room and point to her purse and tell her that she could get a piece of gum. Her purse was always standing open for quick access. The pack of gum was usually lying on the top of everything in the purse.
Once she knew which purse belonged to her favorite red head, Liz would tell her she could go back and get a piece of gum. Megan would race to the back room to help herself. She would unwrap it by the trash can outside the back room door and would be chewing happily when she arrived back at the north end of the salon to talk to Liz and I.
Megan came bounding into the salon one day (before she was 2 years old) and ran over to the corner that Liz and I worked in. She was chattering all the way and was happy to see everyone. I’m sure part of the excitement was the thought of getting permission from Liz to get a stick of gum from her purse in the back room.
The woman that Liz was wrapping a perm on had placed her purse on the floor between our two stations. The purse looked similar to the one Liz carried and it was sitting open. Lying in the purse was a pack of gum, the same flavor that Liz chewed.
Neither of us had noticed the similarity of the two purses until Megan bounded over to the purse and saw the gum. I looked at Megan and said, “NO, that purse does not belong to Liz!” She looked at me and then at Liz and then back at me again while she was standing by the purse pondering the pack of gum. Then she bent over to put her hand in the ladies purse.
Just before the fingers on her right hand touched the pack of gum I grabbed her left hand and pulled her back. My other hand came up and gave her a swat on her behind at the same time. She gave me a confused look and started to cry. I reminded her that she was told not to touch it because it was not Liz’s purse.
She gave both Liz and I a look that only confirmed her confusion. She had been told by Liz she could get into a purse that looked like that one many times. She couldn’t understand why she got in trouble that time for trying to get a piece of gum.
I looked at Liz and told her I should have spanked her instead because she had taught Megan to get gum from her purse. The little hands in a purse had not been a good idea from the start, but she learned the hard way that she should never get into a purse sitting on the floor in the salon, only the one in the back room that belonged to her favorite red head. To Contact Sandy: firstname.lastname@example.org