A Wig and a Promise


Earlier this week I was commenting back and forth with Autty Jade about the wig she is wearing in her new grivitar picture.  One thing led to another, and I made her a promise to tell her the story about my wig.  So here it is.

Marsha Lee and Randy skating in a safe place.
Marsha Lee and Randy skating in a safe place.

I’m giving away almost the whole story, but I can’t write unillustrated stories.  This WAS a wig, a fall actually because the front part of the hair is mine, but not THE wig.  I had several because my boyfriend at the time didn’t like the way my hair was cut – way too short.  It grew, and grew, and grew.  It grows fast, too fast, and out of control.  Actually I hated my hair – long or short it was always thin and always straight, and never smooth or in place.  By the time it grew out I enjoyed wearing a variety of different colored, inexpensive wigs.

Our mother worked in the largest mall in the Northwest at that time.  We often went to work with her where there was more to do than at our house.  Our favorite recreation at the mall was ice skating.  Lloyd Center still has a large ice rink at the center of the mall surrounded by shops and the largest department store in the city on the top floor.  A railing prevented people from hurling themselves from the top level onto the rink and getting a free skating session.  But people stood around the perimeter of the high railing and watched the skaters whirling around below.  On the lower level, where the skating rink was, people sat in the upscale restaurant and watched the skaters.

On this particular night I prepared hurriedly, pinned my hair up, and hastily threw on a wig, similar to the orange wig in the picture, but frosted gray – which, for some STRANGE reason, must have been popular at the time.  No make-up and I was ready to go.  Mom didn’t want to be late to work!

Like we did about most things, Randy and I competed about who would sit in the front of our little VW Beetle.  I usually won.  I was the oldest, the bossiest, the ..ok it ends about there, but I liked to win.  While Mom scuffled off to work, we ran to the ice rink, and bought our tickets, anxious to get on the ice.  Randy beat me onto the ice, but I was close behind him, and soon we were doing what we did best – competing.

The weirdest thing had happened to Randy that year.  When we moved to Portland I was 15 and stood a proud 5 feet 4.5 inches tall.  Randy topped out at 5 feet 3 inches.  (ha ha) The way younger brothers are supposed to be.  He started growing when he turned 14 or 15.  He stopped one year later at 6 feet 3 inches tall.  I didn’t make the adjustment immediately, I was still older and bigger in my mind.

Equality had always prevailed between us.  Two only children parents didn’t know how to differentiate between their children except to make everything the same.  If I got 10 French fries, he got 10 French fries on his plate.  If I stayed up until 8:00 p.m., guess who else stayed up?  If I went skating… You get the idea.   All of the sudden Mom was telling him to be careful with me because he was stronger than I was.  GRRRRR.  Equality was no longer a given.  Sometimes he could do things I couldn’t do.

Like I said, I didn’t change well with the changing times.  I bought the tickets and we raced to the side of the rink.  I’m sure I laced my skates faster, but he still beat me getting on the ice.  At any rate we got out on the ice the same as usual, and I challenged him to a race, the same as usual.  And I was doing well.  We were neck in neck all the way through the first corner.  Then he put his giant legs in gear and with one easy stride glided past me like I was standing still.  I couldn’t take that, and I dug in and raced harder.  As I crossed my legs around the last stretch of the corner for just one more great push, part of my skate stayed cemented in the ice.  Just one little prickly pointy part of my skate refused to budge, and the rest of the skate decided to stay with it.

That left me in an awful fix because the top part of my body was going at full speed down the final stretch of the race, and the very bottom of my body was glued somehow to the rink below it.  So that’s what happened.  The top part of my body kept doing what it was doing and the bottom part did it’s own thing, and I lay stretched out prone on the ice between the two parts.  That would have been fine if only I’d been wearing my own hair.  I was accustomed to falling.  Skaters tumble constantly.   But my wig was still racing, and it kept going across the ice beyond my head about 30 or 40  feet before spinning to a complete halt.  Randy gracefully rounded the next corner before he noticed that his spunky sister was MIA.

He was the only one who didn’t see it, however.  The floor guard instantly sped to my aid, spraying ice chips in my red face as he turned to make the rapid stop to help me up.  “Are you OK?” he asked politely.

Of course I was OK.  I was just mad, and my wig was out of my reach, and my hair housed 100 bobby pins all sticking in different directions along with the mess of dirty hair under them.  I ignored his outstretched hand to use both of mine to crawl invisibly over to my wig and get it on as fast as possible.  Which I did.  Even so, I could still see the guard bent over double laughing after he was sure I was all right.

When you know that everybody shops at THAT mall, and any one of them might be someone from school, there is no time to waste when you have lost your wig.  I shoved that brown-gray mass on my head as fast as I could before anyone on either level could notice that it was missing, then I jumped up, and raced to the bathroom.  I couldn’t see.  Something was terribly wrong.  I kept brushing the hair out of my face, and skated for an eternity.

The bathroom – at last –  I looked in the mirror.  My wig was on backwards. I never wanted to go out again.  I took it off and threw it in a locker.  I sat for a few minutes debating about what to do.  Mom would get off work at 9:00.  It was only minutes after 6:00.   The night was young.   I proceeded to unload my hair of bobby pins.  Style was a moot point.  Fine hair blows around anyway.

I still had a race to win.

Featured Blog

The Eternal Traveller

The Eternal Traveller http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/ may enjoy preparing for the holidays, but she schedules in time to travel during the rest of the year.  When she travels she likes to take her time exploring.  “It’s a lovely way to see what lies beyond the tourist strip and spend time with the locals.”  Her photographs are outstanding.  If you enjoy castles, her Bus Trip Through Bavaria is a must read.  Even her Photo Challenges offer more than a picture of a green romanesque cauliflower.  Some people travel alone, some take along a little something extra.  Where do you think this traveler is headed?  Find out on The Eternal Traveller’s blog.

Where to?

Do you have a moment in time where you wished you could disappear forever?  I shared ONE of my many embarrassing moments.  Now fair is fair.  It’s your turn!

  • Two shoes, two different colors to an interview?
  • Something broke?
  • You fell off when you were standing on the table?
  • You patted the wrong girl’s tooshie?
  • You were onstage when…



Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. For thirty-five years, I lived in the most beautiful area in Central Valley of California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains minutes from the Sequoia National Park. As a child I moved from Indiana to Oregon. With my first husband I moved from Oregon to Colorado to California. Every time we moved, it hurt so much to leave friends. I never wanted to move again. After Mark passed, I married again. I told Vince that I could never budge from my roots in California. He said he loved the high desert. I don't think he ever thought he would realize his dream. In November, 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

60 thoughts on “A Wig and a Promise”

  1. Thanks for featuring my blog today. I’m so glad that you enjoy my writing and my photos. I also enjoyed reading this story and even laughed out loud when I got to the part where your wig kept on going without you. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.


  2. It was the early 1970’s I was a commander of a detachment of British Army vehicles moving our communications from one mountain top in Germany to another. It was a normal exercise to protect Europe from the threat of a Russian Invasion. So we had been to these mountain tops many times before. It was an icy cold night driving through the slushy snow on the Autobahn. I told the driver to pull in at a service station/restaurant an hours drive ahead. I was frozen as there was no heating in the Landrover so I got myself warm and fell asleep as we had been awake for 3 days solid, communicating, moving, communicating and so on for days. All the vehicles pulled into the service station for a welcome cup of tea. I woke up to find that we had stopped and my team were milling around the Landrover waiting for me to tell them to go into the warmth of the restaurant. I opened the door and stepped out, not quite, for I fell flat on my face in a foot of wet slush. What I had forgotten was that I had zipped myself in my sleeping bag to keep warm and my legs were in fact tied together by the sleeping bag. That made my troops very happy and I had the nickname of Slushy for a while.


    1. Well Slushy, that is a great story. It sounded so official at first. It couldn’t have had a better red-faced ending. Sounded pretty uncomfortable as well. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂


      1. Nowadays it is the reverse. I spend ages trying to get out of the car forgetting that my seat belt is still clamped around me. 😀


          1. Or leaving my sunglasses or a small bag of shopping on the car roof while I try to find my keys. Then drive off losing them. 😦


          2. Now. That is sacrilege ! 😀
            Or not closing the hatchback rear door properly which decides to open itself in a stream of traffic in the rain 😀


          3. Yikes!! You’re one up on me with that one, Ralph!!! That sounds awful. One time, we were moving from one house to another a few blocks away. We rented a uhaul truck because Mom had a piano, and a few other big pieces. For some reason my husband, Mark, wanted Randy to ride in the back to make sure the piano was secure. Only it wasn’t. Around each corner, the piano moved, Randy dodging it, trapped in the back of the trailer. It’s amazing that we didn’t kill him!


      2. Wow. It’s a shame you didn’t have a video camera in the trailer as your story is better than a Buster Keaton movie 😀 Ralph x


        1. Haha! Randy didn’t seem to think so at the time, although he WAS the one to tell it and he was hilarious. When he told a story he used his whole body to act it out as he told it. I’m actually NOT the funny one in my family.


  3. During my senior year of college I spent part of spring break with girlfriend’s family. I was going to school in Maine and my family lived in California, so heading home wasn’t an option. This was the first time I’d met her family and she’d warned me to lay off the shenanigans. Her father and step-mother were, shall we say, older and a bit more reserved than yours truly, who was living in a fraternity house with a group of semi-evolved males. I had managed to acquit myself relatively well for most of the week I was at their home (staying in a separate part of the house, of course) until I decided to give my girlfriend a good scare one afternoon. Her bedroom was downstairs and I had ventured down to get something. While there I heard the creaking of the stairs and quickly moved into the shadows, ready to pounce. As a figure moved into the light of the hallway I jumped out – and found myself face to face with my girlfriend’s 55-year-old step-mother. As I stammered apologies and turned ten shades of red from embarrassment, she fixed me with a stare that would have withered Queen Victoria. Needless to say, the girlfriend was less than impressed with my antics as well when she found out.


    1. Not so amazing when I was living it, but many, many years later it’s just that – story. That young girl grew up and turned out just fine in spite of many embarrassments throughout her life. 🙂

      BTW, I’m reading your newest book. Just started it last night, and could hardly put it down to go to sleep. I’ve been out all day, so I can’t wait to get back to it!!


    1. It is now! It was over 40 years ago. Boy that seems impossible that I could be so old!!! But I’m classic, for sure, and well-maintained, as my now husband told me when I was dating him.


  4. This was TOOO fabulous. I was astounded just imagining that mall…I don’t think I’ve ever beheld such a thing! Fascinating. The bit with your wig still racing reminded me of another story from a friend of mine’s dear old mum. My friend’s name is Ken.

    Well, Ken and his mum were bustling about, running a wee bit behind schedual to catch the bus into town. In a flurry, at last, they meandered out the door, only to notice the bus was already beginning to crawl away. So they broke into a run. Ken’s dear ol’ mum was huffing and puffing, running as fast as she could go. They were nearly there, the bus driver noticed them, was stopping, when suddenly, Ken’s mum stumbled, huffing madly, and out flew her teeth. Though Ken’s mum was no longer in motion, her teeth were sailing and sailing, and went skittering to a stop right in front of the doors as they swung open- the first to arrive. Can you imagine what bus-driver and riders were thinking??

    Thank you for this story, I was enthralled, well written, and I love that it had a frost of grey, just my thing!! Absolutely glorious TOO funny! This line was too good, “When you know that everybody shops at THAT mall, and any one of them might be someone from school, there is no time to waste when you have lost your wig.” 😀

    Love the featured blog as well, GROOVE!

    Cheers and myriad grins and guffaws,

    – a smiling toad


    1. Oh my, that would be worse. Under normal circumstances you wouldn’t dare put dentures back in your mouth after they hit the dirty sidewalk, or landed in a mud puddle. But outside a bus you are planning to board?? Stuff them in my pocket or my mouth, that would be my dilemma! I can’t bear it! So what DID she do? I think I would have wanted to wave good-bye to the bus, and slink on back home!!! Too, too funny!

      Another great story, my amphibious friend.

      Marsha Lee 🙂


  5. P.S. I LOVE what you did at the end, you pulled a “Ralph” and it has worked most swimmingly- he’s brilliant, what a way to draw in the readers and invite them to interact and become a part of the blog entry itself, enhancing it ith every comment left- you do this too, so inviting, draw in the reader, make them feel comfortable and at home, ready to share stories with our favourite blogger!


    1. Awww Of course, I HAD to copy Ralph because I had at least ONE more story to tell. I thought his post was brilliant as well. He is amazing the way he reaches out and people just step right into his blog. I am overwhelmingly complimented that you think I can invite people in as well. I do not have his talent. I don’t even pretend to understand what he does with a few simple words he snags them into revealing the most amazing things! I only succeed because I have my lovely friend Autty, who augments my posts with posts of her own. I have to commend Ralph again for telling his Slushy story on my post. and I loved Cotton’s scary story as well. I have to say I was thrilled with the responses, but look at the wonderful story tellers who are my readers!!!

      Ever the grateful blogger,

      Marsha Lee I offer to thee and others who love me
      Just plain Marsha in my normal world before blogging. 🙂

      BTW is it snowing on your blog? It is on mine, and I love it. This morning my eyes were so blurry that I thought I was seeing things. Maybe I do have cataracts.??


      1. I didn’t !! Honest !!! Lord Word Press and Lady Dot Com sent me a couple of emails about you two and what you were gossiping about. Even whispers in the corridors of this blog are recorded and emailed to the ends of the world. They will be on Wikileaks tomorrow. 😉 Ralph x by the way, thanks 😀


        1. Hahaha, and here I thought we were having a little private chat!!! You mean that everyone in Bloggerland now knows about your brilliant post? Get prepared for a tsunami of blogger visitors to see this great post! Maybe you will get 300+ comments!!!


        1. 🙂 Get those fingers crackin’, and in shape for the onslaught. I had a record-breaking 237 visitors yesterday, and no telling how many Smiling Toad had. I’m telling you, you’d better watch out. You’d better not cry, cause Santa Ralph is comin’ to town!

          And since that’s you, you are going to have a lot to do this month!


          1. Sorry, that sounded curt! Just because someone is historic doesn’t mean they are automatically beyond reproach. …But Santa! Well, Santa is somewhat sacred – of the motion of him anyway!!!


        1. Third base. It’s an old old old American joke meaning we’re all mixed up here and no one knows which end is up. Blame it on my iPhone. Hard to keep track of comments!!!! Sorry! 🙂


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