I was six in 1970 and my sisters were teenagers. I worshiped their flip hairdos, mini skirts, and thick black eyeliner. I extracted attention from them in positive, but mostly annoying, ways. My redheaded, Amazonian, hipster sisters would spend hours in our bathroom, unrolling their hair from the giant soup can size rollers and teasing their hair like a schoolyard bully. After their transformation and departure from the AquaNet fogged bathroom, I’d dig through the little pink plastic trash can that sat next to the toilet with the canister of Jean Nate After Bath Powder on it.
I’d recycle their castaway products on my dolls and me. Eureka! Dried-up mascara in the pink and green Max Factor container, a couple of globs of Dippity-Do left in the bottom of a giant plastic jar, all encased by their birds nest of tangled red hair twisted around all my treasures. I’d sometimes sneak into my mother’s bathroom and dig my little fingers into her messy make-up drawer. I’d experiment with her blue or green eye shadow on different parts of my body. Those were the only two colors available in the ‘70s. I still remember the sweetly tart flavor of her little pink birth control pills neatly arrayed in a swirly carousel of fun.
These women were my icons. They filled the house with aerosol and love. So much femaleness and so much strength. I was a lucky and well-decorated little girl.