Thursday 13 February 2014

My Disastrous 1970's Shaggy Haircut: May 1975.

Last month was a heavy month for me. I was relentlessly bullied and bashed, and my period arrived for the first time, giving me more than one grossly embarrassing public moment. But this month I am tormented by something much worse  – I get a disastrous new 1970's shaggy hair cut! 
The 70' s was as much about hair as it was about  crazy colorful kitschy clothes .  Looking at photos of Mum when she was younger, her hair was always fashionably styled and she was ever impeccably groomed.  Mum was determined that I was going to be fashionable too. Last month she suggested that I get a 1970’s shaggy hair cut. I wasn't overly excited by the idea but Mum was determined, so she  took me to the hair salon during the school holidays for the first time in my life,  to have my hair styled into a shag
A shaggy hair cut is a layering of the hair to create a voluminous crown which is thinned out around the edges and bottom. It is usually meant for short to shoulder length hair. I had long thick wavy hair.  When I emerged from beneath the hairstylists scissors to evaluate my new look, I was mortified. It looked  like a soup bowl  had been placed on the top of my head while three quarters of my hair's thickness had been hacked unevenly off around the bowl leaving long threads of hair to my chest. Where was my layering? The top of my head looked like an above ground nuclear test -  a fat mushroom cloud perched upon my long neck with the taper of the cloud stringing down my
My shag-heavily tamed
for school photo
shoulders and 
straggling down my back. Only the tapered bits weren't wispy and sleek because I had fine thick curly hair so those bits just swelled and crinkled up. It must have been the ugliest haircut in the history of Springwood High School. My son laughed at a class photo saying that I looked like one of our Chinese Silkie Chickens. Hardly a day goes by at school this month that I'm not cringing over my hair. My hair is such a disaster it spawns a whole new raft of nicknames I didn't have before : frizzy, curly locks, steel wool,  and worst of all Cow, as in 'as ugly as a cow'. And it would take forever for this cut to grow out.

At the same time I had my hair cut, Mum put some clothes on lay-

by for me – finally something I didn't have to make myself! In honour of Mum,  making my own clothes was Mum’s way of dutifully  teaching me to sew, knit and crochet, which she was taught all women should know to do when they go out into the big wide world to wed. Coming from a disciplined family herself, she was draconian about it too. If it wasn't perfect, which it frequently wasn't - even though I am a Virgo - I had to undo every stitch and start all over again. So you can imagine how excited I was when I got to go clothes shopping on lay-byLay-by was the best because Mum could buy me clothes by paying them off over time, a little bit every month. That's  how people bought things in the 70’s if they didn't pay with cash outright. Lay-by was as common as credit cards are today except no interest was charged on lay-by. You paid the price that was marked at the time of lay-by, even if it was on sale. The problem with lay-by  when it came to  buying clothes was, by the time you finished paying them off, the season you needed the clothes for was almost over.  Credit cards didn't exist in anyone's universe I knew. There was just cash, lay-by and store cards like the card Mum gets this month for the first time. Diners Club, American Express and Bankcard, which only arrived in Australia in 1974, were sparsely distributed, and only to a few of impeccably risk free financial means.
Apart from paining over my hair, I am nauseatingly pining for Mark. The longing is so pathetic that as my children were typing this months' diary entries up with me, my daughter said "Mum, what the F"!! My middle eldest son said " Yeah Mum get over him already" and even sweet my youngest 11 year old said " I think its time you moved on Mum".

Front Inside Cover of 1975 Dairy

The World in May 1975
I have been fascinated by space since I can remember.  My two favourite cartoons in primary school were Astro Boy, a space flying robot, and Prince Planet who came from the planet Radion – both of them more or less save us miserable earthlings from ourselves and ward off alien evil. They were such handsome heroes with big dark eyes, dark hair, and happy reassuring smiles - and they could fly. I wanted to fly! I can still remember the catchy theme song to Astro Boy. 

Then I graduated to Lost in Space  a sci-fi series about the Robinson Family lost in space with a robot who cried “warning! warning!" while flailing his fat extensible robot arms around the place, and a conniving snivelling cowering  Dr "Never Fear Smith is Here" Smith, who continually sabotaged the all American Robinson family's attempts to get back on their previously chartered course to explore space.

I loved staring into space. When you lived in the Blue Mountains you were as close as you could get to the stars it seemed. Our night skies were so clear I was sure I could see every star that ever existed - I could even go sliding along the milky way if I just jumped high enough!  

It's no coincidence that my imagination flew wild through space because it was the incredible time of pioneering space exploration. That USA-USSR ideological rivalry inflicting unfettered terror,  torture, mutilation and brutal death on so many millions of people down on earth, went out of the earth’s atmosphere and into space in the form of a technological  race. But up there, cold war jealousies produced leaps and bounds in technology of a magnitude that changed the world, albeit at the cost of many astronauts and cosmonauts that crashed to death during flight training or who were asphyxiated or burnt to death in their space vessels.  The Soviets called their space pilots cosmonauts, Sailors of the Universe. The Americans called theirs, astronauts, or Star Sailors. The Space Race  began

in October 1957 when the USSR launched the first artificial satellite into space, the Sputnik 1. Three and a half years later, to the shock and humiliation of the USA which was still reeling over Sputnik 1, the USSR sent up Vostok 1 carrying Yuri Gagarin,  the first man to ever be sent into space.  He orbited 109 times around the Earth before making it back to our planet alive. Two years further along, in 1963, the USSR - again - killed 2 milestones with the one Vostok by putting the  first woman - who was also a civilian - into space (Valentina Tereshkova).  Even though the USSR was racing well ahead of the USA  in space, the cost was vertiginous for both sides. Feeling the pinch and swallowing national pride, US President John F Kennedy, proposed to the USSR President Nikita Khrushchev, that they join forces to land men on the moon. Khrushchev agreed. But when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 the two blocks recoiled into their respective bunkers and returned to their own efforts to be the first to land a man on the moon. The USA triumphed this time when pilot Michael Collins flew Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to the lunar surface where they made that " small step for man and one giant leap for mankind".  The USSR never did put a man, or woman, on the moon.
During the 1970's, while I was at high school, the USA and the USSR pursued different aerospace technologies - the USA focused on the airplane looking and behaving Space Shuttle while the USSR continued with the traditional Soyuz rockets supporting their Salyut and Mir (Peace) space station programs. The Space Race officially  ended in April 1972 when the two parties agreed  on a co-operative Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which would see an astronaut crew from the USA join up with their Soviet cosmonaut enemy of the past 30 years, in Earth's orbit in 1975. How beautiful was that to a world that had been trembling in fear for so many decades.

Space was now available for other countries to explore. Europe had already launched 7 satellites into space by this time. Last month in 1975, India sent up a satellite  with the help of the USA. This month in 1975, on the 31st day, a 20 member European Space Agency was born with the mission to explore space.

Apollo 8's 'Earthrise'
Apollo 17's 'Blue Marble'

One of the Space Race's unintended legacies for humans and our survival on earth, were the photos taken from Apollo 8 and Apollo 17 which showed how beautiful , fragile, and unique our planet earth is compared to the black endless stretch of an uninhabited cold space of nothingness - as far our technology could see anyway. For the first time we saw what our planet looked like from space. The images of our magnificent continents of green, flanked by oceans of blue, all swaddled by clouds of white storing the life supporting water that enables a spectacular diversity of plant, animal and microbial  life that doesn't exist anywhere else in the universe that we have discovered as yet, woke many homo sapiens up. These photos became iconic to the environmental movement that was beginning to build.

My Disastrous 1970's Haircut 

Thursday May 1 -   “The School Bully was suspended for 6 months! Isn't that great!”

The School Bully was suspended for 6 months ! Isn't that great ! She’ll probably come back for another fight. We are back in our usual place. The stairs. HURRAY! Ian’s got the shits with Debbie and he reckons Debbie’s got a crush on Martin , which she hasn'tThe trouble is Ian cant trust Debbie as far as he can throw her ( which isn't very far), only I’m scared because so many kids want to have a bitch fight with me. Especially Amanda and all them cause of Mark. I said hello to him today, and saw him several times. P.S Not going to school tomorrow. I’ll miss Mark though. Seeya

Friday May 2 – I Get An Ugly Shaggy Hair Cut

didn't go to school today (an excuse to rest for the netball rep). I went to the plaza and Mum went berserk on clothes. She was bringing millions of clothes in the change room that the sales lady must of gone nuts. Anyway I got a new green surfy skirt with buttons, and a beautiful jumper to go with it. AND another jumper, which did go with other jeans, but Mum wouldn't let me have it cause she didn't like them. I also got my haircut. Sharon and Glenda reckon it looks better, but I don’t know. Oh yeah, I got Denton’s other card he sent me in January. It took long enough, but it was nice. Seeya

Saturday May 3 - Some people Like My Hair Cut

I got up early to play netball. Boy I am tired. We drew one game, won one game and lost the rest; we lost 3 games by 1 point. Some of my opponents were really nice, but others were really bitchy. Misses Howe liked my hair cut, and other people said it was nice and looked better than before. I better go to bed now, I’m getting pretty tired. Seeya

Sunday May 4– Day Two of Netball Rep 

Got up a bit late this morning so I had to rush, and I only just made the bus. We played pretty hard but Andre and Joanne didn't come to a court when they were told to, so Mrs Pittman wouldn't let them play for the rest of the day, and we had 5 more games. Anyway Pittman told Mrs Stephens and she got mad, and took Andre out of the team, and the Tigers. GOD. Joanne and I reckon she isn't coming back. We won the last game. AGAIN. We also had some fairly close ones.

Monday May 5– "The Colourful Kid"

Well this was the last day. It’s been fantastic, it really has. I wish it would last a week. I don’t want it to end. We had a draw with City, who we should have beaten, and we nearly beat Grafton and Lismore. But the closest one was against Penrith, where we lost by one. The Penrith scorers had 13 -15, while we had 14-15, the cheats. It was a good game, only we should have beaten them. We are going bowling with the team on Monday night. One girl I met there called me ‘colourful kid’. We did better than last year anyway, but it’s a shame it’s all over. It went so fast.

Tuesday May 6 – “A rapist has been sighted around here”

Boy was I tired last night. It was Dad’s birthday and Mum cooked a special meal, and I nearly went asleep in my food. Mum gave me another beautiful massage. Yesterday when we got off the bus we saw 2 police cars, then one police car stopped as we crosses the road. When we got on the other side there were two other police cars and a bloke was getting a rifle out of the boot because a rapist has been sighted around here. Jenny said she saw a police car stop at the ‘mysterious neighbours’  place and Dad said they were after ‘John the mysterious neighbour’. I saw him today talking to a girl.

Wednesday May 7 - "Mum's got the shits"

Not doing very much these holidays. It's very boring. Mum's got the shits. I asked her if I could go to Sharon’s to have lunch and she said “ you can do what you want”. I had a guilty feeling so I tidied the house then went up. We had toasted sandwiches. I wish the money from Holland would hurry up and come.

Thursday May 8" You should be grateful I'm doing the other gardens!" 

Mum's weeding the garden (thank god) and she had jobs for us all day weeding the other gardens. “ You should be very grateful I'm doing the other gardens” ,she said. Boy! She promised to keep on weeding them after the 4 times we did them. I've got a nasty cut on the bottom of my foot. We've been discussing our clothes on lay-by. Its going to take ages. By the time we pay them, off winter will be over.

Friday May 9 – "Bought Mum nail polish remover for her birthday but I kept it" 

Went shopping today. Put more money on the clothes, and I looked for some jeans. I finally found a pair I like, but it was one size too big. So we looked at patterns and materials and found something, but Mum won’t let me have it. Bought Mum a dictionary, pad holder, set of pens, pad and pen for the telephone, and nail polish remover (but I kept it). I nearly lost my purse. We were looking for it everywhere and couldn't find it, but we did later.

Saturday May 10I Can Umpire Much Better When I’m not With Anyone.

didn't play today, I only umpired. I made some bad mistakes and I wasn't umpiring by myself. It’s not fair, I can do much better when I’m not with anyone. But Mrs Goetze was running me over. Went to Aunty Mary’s for the eggs, and stayed for a cup a tea. I cooked some biscuits and cakes, and when I was showing Dad I knocked  them on his knee and they all fell out. Seeya

Sunday May 11 Mothers Day: “Dad went and bought a winter nightly instead of pyjamas, the goon”.

Well it was Mother’s Day today. I think she was happy with them. Dad went and bought a winter nighty instead of pyjamas, the goon. Mum played golf today, and when she came home, we had a surprise tea at the new table, which I have to wash the dishes for tomorrow, which I dread. I started to watch a naughty movie, but Mum and Dad wanted to go to bed. Worst luck. Seeya

Monday May 12 “We had a good old nag”

Went to the plaza to get Mrs Pitman a present and saw Debbie. Ian’s back with Debbie, he phoned and apologized, Jo’s going with Stephanage ( how could she!) She’ll dropped him in a couple of days just like she did with the others. We had a good old nag, and I’m looking forward to school ( I think). We went bowling with the Rep. I went really well in the second round. Mrs Marsh got all shitted up cause we didn't get her a present. Sharon was there; she’s a good kid.

Tuesday May 13  - Everyone Was Kissing on the Brady Bunch and Happy Days  and it  Made

me Want Mark

We went to the dentist for my sister, which is the 3rd time. Went to a beautiful little boutique shop, which is very expensive though. Then we went to another shop and found a pair of baggies for $8.oo , but i don’t like them. Mum does though cause she was upset that  I  didn't. On the Brady Bunch, they had a program about Bobby kissing, and so 

did Happy Days, and it really made me want Mark with me, doing the same thing. I miss him but I don’t want to go back to school cause of my hair. Seeya

Wednesday May 14 – If You Dob On Me For Shaving My Legs, I’ll Dob On You For Smoking.

Mum went to golf today, and I finally had the chance to shave my legs again. My sister heard it and found out, and she said she was dobbing. So I said if she dobs on me for shaving my legs, ill dob on her for smoking. And to think that I used to sneak down the bush with Cindy to have a smoke. I gave it up though- then my sister started started. She reckons shell give it up. Mums in a shitfull mood cause my sister put the chops away, so Mum blamed me that I didn't cook the tea, and she wont let me watch TV. God shes shitfull.

Thursday May 15 -"Thank God I gave it up though it's such a dirty habit”

All I did today was do homework, and I still haven’t finished it. Something I meant to tell you. You know what started me off the smoking? Bloody Cindy. When I went to the lakes with Cindy, she started smoking matches, which then lead to us buying packets to smoke them. God I'm ashamed. I remember I used to run and put perfume and scrub my fingers so hard to get the smell off them. We even smoked upstairs. What a risk. Thank god I gave it up though. Its such a dirty habit.

Friday May 16  - Stalking Mark - "I made an excuse to leave Mum and I tried to follow him"

Went to the plaza today, hoping id see Mark, and i did !
Hes just as beautiful as ever, and I'm just as ugly as ever, even uglier. How could someone as ugly as me like someone as good looking as him. Ill never know. Anyway I made an excuse to leave Mum and I tried to follow him, but I lost him. Blasted nail polish. If i hadn't been trying on the stuff I would have talked to him. Ill probably be too scared to at school cause of my hair. I HATE IT!! By the way I got one jumper off  lay-by. Seeya

Saturday May 17 -" I got an A Grade for my umpires"

We played Debbie's team today, and guess what? We lost 5-12. Bloody Van Dyke didn't turn up, so we were short one player, and it was windy and we just lost. We were stirring this bunch of boys, and there were crabs everywhere. I got an A grade for my empires. 87/100 I got. Seeya

Sunday May 18  -"I don’t want to go and guess why. Yes. MY HAIR".

Mum and Dad played golf today and I had to cook, so I cooked Chinese, it was quite nice. My sister was a bitch and I even wrote a note to Mum and Dad how sick I was of it. She then started crying and carrying on, promising she wouldn't do it anymore and I forgot to show Mum and Dad. Well school's tomorrow, I don’t want to go and guess why. Yes. MY HAIR.

Monday May 19 -  First Day At School With My New Hair Cut 

I got stirred about it today, some kid said it looked nice, but others said it was up the shit house. I walked past Mark and when he saw it he looked really surprised. And I bet he hates me now too ! Billy gave me a terrible eye today cause of my bloody hair, and ever since I've been avoiding them. I told Denton about the card. Everyone had a lot to say. Bloody sister was cranky again today, and because of her I cant watch TV and Paul Hogan. AGAIN ! God I hate my sister.

Tuesday May 20 - Jo and Debbie were looking up Dirty Words in the Dictionary

Everyone hates my hair the way it is. Mark walked past me and he sort of said hello, but he gave me a horrible look, and I didn't even smile at him. He was looking at me too in assembly. I said hello to Denton and I had a feeling he didn't like me, but later he said “ Hi Petra” ( he actually said my name, that made me feel a little better), then Craig had a couple of  looks at me then stuck his thumb at me in a friendly way, so I stuck my thumb back. I think Mark likes Colette cause both times he picked her for dancing. She picked him once, I don’t know about the second. God I’m cranky. I want to cry because I luv Mark and I want to go with him but not the way my hair is, he won’t even talk to me. The School Bully came up to us twice, but we went up to the library. Jo and Debbie were looking up dirty words in the dictionary, which lead us on to the party, and Jo admitted about Glen, which then led on to our periods. Oh yeah Glenda’s going with Peter, but she wants to drop him. I wish now I had of gone with Denton. I really miss those boys, especially MARK. Why don’t they like me now? Just cause of my hair. I wish it would hurry up and grow back. I suppose I shouldn't groan about my hair, cause there’s nothing I can do about it.

While I'm writing this  under the covers of my bed something is happening outside:

I hear noises outside. There’s someone out there and I’m scared. First of all there’s whistling, and when I looked out he stopped, then branches cracking, and footsteps, and bottles going, then doors slamming. I’m scared.

Wednesday 21 May - Frizzy Is My New Nickname

All today Billy and Mark kept on calling me “ FRIZZY” ooh ! When I went to netball they were in front of me and called me 'frizzy' again, and I said “ right I’m not talking to you anymore” and Mark goes “ who?”. Billy had a needle injector in his hand, and I thought it was a lighter for smokes. I was walking home from netball and Craig and Billy ambushed me and were riding their bikes with me all the way in to my place, and I said Mum will probably drive past and give me a lift. And she did. Anyway they were asking me who I liked, and Craig was saying he could ask me now. Thank God he didn't. And Billy was going “ Have we got time?” and then he started to go on about how they were going to rape me and that where he lives you could rape a Sheila on the road. An old lady gave them the eye. They asked why we were up in block E, and then they started going on about my hair and how red I was on my legs, I might add ! Takes them to perve.  I got the dirty dentist poem. I showed Mum and Dad. Mum reacted badly. I've now got the nicknames “cow and frizzy and passion fruit the curly locks”.

Thursday May 22  - Now They’re Calling Me a Cow - Mooooo

Craig and Billy came up to me and asked what Mum said about yesterday and I said nothing, then Mark came up and said “ G’day puss” and ruffled my hair. And I said “ Oh don’t!”. Jason gave me a dirty look. Stephanage and Salmon were calling me a cow and going “ MOOO” and all that - all day. And they kept on teasing me.  Mum won’t let me out on the road because she thinks I’m going to meet some boy or something. Seeya

Friday May 23 - “I’m thinking of leaving the group”

Well I didn't meet Mark on the way to Commerce today. I saw him though. He kept looking at me though. I think. And I looked at him back. I smiled at him but he didn't say anything. Salmon and Stephanage were calling me Cow again today and hitting me, so I stomped off to the library and Debbie says “ Good now I got Petra back.  All I have to do is get JB too". I’m thinking of leaving the group. But where can I go? 

Saturday May 24- My skirt and top will soon be out

We won 16-7 and Boardman’s team won by 4. Geez. I got my periods one day earlier than I’m supposed to have. Oh yeah, I didn't tell you, Mum opened a credit  account, and my skirt and top will soon be out. Isn't that great! We went to Dawns and had some tea. Went to Aunty Mary’s to get the eggs.

Sunday May 25 - " I didn't bleed much today"

didn't bleed much today and it’s supposed to be the worst day. I made two cakes and they were delicious. Finished a play we were supposed to do, but I haven’t finished writing it in cause I've got 15 pages to write. I don’t want to go to school tomorrow cause of everything. No matter where I turn someone wants to fight me. Everybody hates me. It just isn't fair. Seeya.

May 26 Monday – He Wanted to Show Me his Pole Collection

They were calling everyone Cow today. God they shit me. Saw Mark and said Hi. I know I can’t get him, so I may as well forget him. At soccer Craig came over and said Billy wants to see me, but I wouldn't go. I eventually did. They reckoned he wanted to show me his stamp album, then his pole collection. Anyway they wanted me to sit in a tiny space with all these boys around. I didn't though cause Michelle G.  and all them were in front. And I’m scared there going to bash me up. But Mark wasn't there- worst luck. I was getting worried and I really miss them. They reckon they were going to come around this arvo but they didn'tWouldn't it be fantastic if all of them came around. I’m losing Mark though. When I was sitting down they waved for me to come over. I told them I was freezing and they said if I sat next to them I would be warmed up in 2 seconds flat. I should have sat there. I wish I had have, if it wasn't for those girls. And my periods didn't help. If they had have tried something woo hoo well ? seeya

Tuesday May 27 - Still Hung Up on Mark

I was hoping I’d meet up with Mark on the way to assembly. I’m loosing him really fast. I luv him and I really miss him. I remember the time I was going with him. I want to go with him. OH LORD PLEASE! I was just passing Craig’s gang when bloody Gunner started talking to me. Geez did I get frustrated tonight. I had to go to bed at 7 and I really WANTED MARK.

Wednesday May 28   – "I wrote a long letter and they just tore it up".

Oh boy Deb and Jo got shitted up with Ian and Mick. And they were writing notes and Stephanage wrote that I was no friend if I got them involved. I tried not to too. But Jo wouldn't listen, and he said he hates my guts and that I’m a bitch, and they’re not apologizing to me - when they started it. So I wrote a long letter to them and they just tore it up. So I’m leaving the group.  Denton came up to me in woodwork and wanted to see my hammer. I like him too. I missed Mark coming out of English. He hates me I know it. He likes that bloody Collette . It’s not fair. We asked Paul Short if his name is Paul Short and he asked “ why”. We told him. He's quite nice.  Oh yea Peter Yates gave me some grass seeds, and I threw them all over him. Seeya

Thursday May 29 - Our faces were so close I could have kissed him”

Well Jo’s back with Michael, but Debbie and Ian aren't. Debbie apologised and you know what he said? “ Its not good enough. She has to say it to my face”. And she hasn't done anything! It was Salmon. They dragged him up to her for HER to say sorry. God!  Well so far we’re back on the steps but we will soon be back on E block. Those boys hailed me back again but I pretended I didn't see. I said Hi to Mark and our faces were so close I could have kissed him. You know what he said ? “ Hi Frizzy”. Jesus. I was still in maths when Billy and all the rest came in. God I felt embarrassed. Boy do I want Mark. Boy do I want him. Seeya

Friday May 30  - “Hi Frizzy”

Debbie’s back with Ian, worst luck. They met half way and apologized. I didn't meet with Mark again on the way to commerce, but I passed him and he goes “ HI FRIZZY”. Oh Diary, I want so badly to talk to him. So badly I wanna cry. The last time I talked to him was the last Friday we met. I’m so lonely diary. I want so much to have Mark. I nearly had him when we moved to E block. God damn. Oh what am I gonna do? Everyone hates me even Mark. And I luv him so. Oh Mark I want you so much.

Saturday May 31 - Devils Hand, the Movie – Boy Was it Sick

We won netball, 17 – 4 . We had to beat them by a lot so we could show the Viscounts we can beat them. I felt I played fairly well. My joke didn't get in the post. Worst luck. Watched a movie called Devils Hand about voodooism. It was really sick. Boy throughout it, when the boy and girl started kissing, I felt like kissing and letting myself go with Mark. The only trouble was Mark wasn't with me. Seeya

Written By Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau


  1. Reminds me a little of my teenage diary - lol!

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