I was reminded this morning of a woman I knew as a child. I was a mere 9 years old and in the Girl Scouts, or maybe it was Brownies. It’s been quite a number of years so my memory is a bit foggy.
Mrs. Brown worked at the elementary school as a yard duty lady. She also volunteered to transport us girls when the Girl Scouts (or Brownies) went on field trips. She was a very nice woman and she was easy to talk to. She loved all of the kids and didn’t play favorites. She was very pretty, at least in my 9 year old mind. Maybe she wasn’t so pretty. The memory thing, you know. But there’s one thing I do remember quite clearly and that was Mrs. Brown’s daughter.
I don’t recall the girl’s name but she was a year behind me. Please know that I feel absolutely awful thinking this but that girl was hideous! She was the ugliest kid I had ever seen! She was skinny with crooked legs and crooked teeth. One of her eyes was a bit cock-eyed which I learned years later was commonly referred to as lazy eye. Her long brown hair looked as though she never brushed it, complete with what we called a ‘rat’s nest’. She was so ugly even a 9 year old girl like me recognized it.
Now don’t go being all bitchy at me for this because a) I was just a little girl and b) I was nice to her. I tried to hang with her on the playground because she didn’t have any friends. She seemed to be very sad all the time so I did things and said things to make her laugh. One day, I snuck a comb and hair pick out of the house (because they were my mother’s) and brought them to school so I could comb the ugly little girl’s hair. I shudder to think that we could have gotten lice but I had no idea at the time!
At recess, I brought out the comb and pick and started grooming myself and the ugly little girl said, “Hey, that’s neat. Is it a comb?” She was referring to the hair pick and I told her what it was called. I asked her if she wanted me to do her hair and that we could play hairdresser! She was thrilled. So, I combed her hair…little by little, first with the pick and then with the comb and then with the pick and so on and so on. This took 2 recesses but her hair was combed and I actually had the forethought to grab a rubber band out of my desk before the second recess so I could braid the ugly little girl’s hair. She was so proud of her braided hair and I told her she was pretty; I think she felt pretty, too.
I snuck the comb and pick back into the house when I got home from school that day and put them in a weird place so my mom would find them and wonder how they got there. I found out my mom went nuts looking for that hair pick because that’s what she used on her permed hair! I laughed to myself because I visualized my mom frantically looking for that damn pick and most likely all day long! I could tell when she found the comb and pick because I could hear her laugh from across the house. I pretended to not have a care in the world and ran outside to play!
Anyway, this morning I heard this song on the radio as I skipped through the channels and I couldn’t help but think of Mrs. Brown and her ugly little daughter. Of course, the words I heard in my head as the song played were, “Mrs. Brown, you’ve got an ugly daughter!” Enjoy the song!