Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

The ‘Fro

My Senior Picture

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

― William Saroyan

When I was young, I loved the works of William Saroyan. He was an Armenian immigrant who wrote of the things I love: stories of families, rich characters, loyal and loving friends, close-knit communities, love and laughter! I guess I love them still.

I think an explanation of my hair do is in order. When I was a Junior, my hair was kind of medium short and as always very straight. My mom and I thought a perm was in order. So we gave me a Super Curl Lilt Permanent Wave. I thought that was what the situation called for when I picked it out. My hair was very straight, not a bend it sight. It was also very fine. And I had a LOT of hair back then. For those of you who know permanent rinses and hair types, you are probably guessing the outcome. Not us, mom and I were never more surprised: Instant Afro! Well, we LOVED it. We thought it looked great. We didn’t know that it would instantly change my social status from straight to freak (or hippie). We didn’t know the type of backlash is would experience in my conservative High School.

I washed it, let it air dry. Put on big earrings and a pair of jeans and a top, my usual school fair since they abolished the dress code and off I went. Of course, my mom, President of my fan club thought I looked beautiful. MY girlfriends concurred. They said it made my eyes look HUGE and my cheekbones stand out. I do wish I had a picture of it! My Senior Picture was taken at the end of the summer and I agreed to go to my grandmother’s hairdresser for a hair straightening. But let me tell you a bit more about the ‘Fro first.

It got some violent attention. One of the older boys at lunch threw and apple at me at lunch and tore the earring off my face. Then a food fight commenced. I didn’t participate. It scared me. I ran out of there and went looking for a counselor. He told me that I shouldn’t be too surprised. I said what did he mean. He said, “Well, you’re not exactly keeping a low profile.” I was never so angry. I ran out of his office.

Then one of my “best” girlfriends said she heard a rumor going around the school that I was pregnant and the baby would be black, so I had done this so the baby would identify with me. Oh my goodness! High School is so silly. Where do they come up with this stuff? Then I remembered what the counselor said about my not so low profile.

The greatest things started happening. The biggest freak we called them (hippies) at our school, Michael came to Christ. He wanted to have a bible study…I volunteered our house after check with my Mom + God who said of course. Suddenly we had a houseful of hippies coming to know more about Jesus every week and I know they identified with me more thanks to my Super Lilt! That kept up through my senior year because we got a great guy from a new church to lead it. He was older and very grounded in the faith and word.

Before my senior year, as I said I agreed to get my hair straightened. Summer weekends at the pool with my grandparents and my ‘Fro were about all the family could take…so I was happy to do it. The only bummer was, he did a beautiful job straightening my hair and it was quite long under all that curl. I asked him just to trim it and he scalped me. Way too short. So in my Senior Year Picture I have flipped my hair back trying to give it some volume because it was short and sticking to my head.

Mike thinks it looks like some old ladies hair-do, not a child of the 70’s. I agree, it does rather stand out among all the long hair. But I don’t really mind being a stand out!

I had a lot of fun my senior year with a nice boyfriend as I’ve said. I let my hair be short and straight. I only flipped it for the picture. I tried to lived as we were learning in our bible studies and as William Saroyan said:

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

― William Saroyan

And as Mother Teresa says: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
― Mother Teresa


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8 thoughts on “The ‘Fro

  1. Libby, I wish you had a picture of that fro. Very 70’s. I can remember some people getting fro’s and the platform shoes that both women and men would wear. Somewhere, I have a picture of myself in a blue polyester suit for prom. Thanks for bringing back some memories and sharing. It’s obvious that even as a teenager, you had your head on straight. Keep up the bio writing.


  2. I sure wish I had a picture too. I will put out an SOS among my High School friends to see if any of them have one. I’ll post the plea on our class Facebook page. Those were interesting times, but this is a Brave New World too! 🙂


  3. Lovely photo! One of the ‘fro would be fun to see, if you do manage to find it. I’m sure your mom and girlfriends were right.

    I’m a child of the ’80s and remember the ozone-depleting hairspray-skyscraper ‘dos. The girls wore those leg warmers and we guys wore all denim. Ah, the good ol’ days! Oh, wait — these ARE the days. 🙂


  4. 80’s was big hair time for sure! I loved it. Had my little girl Abby and my hair was growin’ like a weed and the shoulder pads: totally awesome! Great times! Yes these are the good old days. Every day is if you let it. Treasure your comments and your friendship Mark, don’t ever change!:)


  5. Ok, I have to agree with Mike. That does look like my grandma’s hair-do. LOL As for those stupid high school kids, every generation has them! It’s so crazy how people make up these wondrous stories that are nowhere near the truth and that counselor…ugh, would love to wrap my hands around….oh never mind. =)


  6. Well when it takes a whole chapter in your book to explain your high school picture hairdo you know you’ve got an issue there, bit in all fairness, I have to say, it was grandma hairstyle or drowned rat so I went for the former. And of course my mother loves this picture :). Some comfort in that.:)


  7. So now you have brought me to tears from laughter!!! 🙂 I have always had very natural curly hair & although I did not get my 1st haircut till I was 10 yrs old, but after that I had some cuts where a fro would appear!!!! Thanks for the laugh, I love you !!!!!!


  8. I love you Mary and glad you got a good laugh out of this one. I was actually quite regal in my fro, kind of like an Albino African Princess, but not everyone saw me this way 🙂 LOL!


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