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Ducktail haircuts — which had previously been a hallmark of rebellious male teens — came into their own with females in the early half of the 1950s. In August 1954 three La Cañada girls, sisters Kathy and Ginny Hairgrove and neighbor Cindy Hill, posed for the cover of the Valley Sun to show off their stylish hairdos.

As a child, I always had long, blonde curly hair. I never liked it. As a matter of fact, I wanted a ducktail /duck’s ass. One day while playing in nursery school with my friend Dena Kaye (Danny Kaye’s daughter), we decided to have some extra fun. Dena knew I was unhappy with my long hair and asked me if I’d like to play “beauty parlor.”

So off we went by ourselves to the large crate boxes that were on the far corner of the playground. I don’t know where Dena found a pair of scissors — maybe I did then, but that was in 1951. By the time the teacher found us, Dena had managed to cut off a quarter of my hair.

It was Dena’s mother’s turn to drive carpool, and when she arrived to pick us up, we were both terrified. I sat in the front with a big smile on my face trying not to laugh, while Dena sat in the back crying her eyes out. Her mother drove in silence with both hands on the wheel and her eyes straight ahead on the very long, twenty-minute drive home.

My mother was waiting for us as we pulled into the driveway. As soon as she saw me, she began to cry. She didn’t really seem angry, just very, very sad. She only spoke a few sentences that I can remember. “The teacher called to say there was an accident. She said, You will notice a difference in Danna’s hair. It is much shorter. When I asked how short, she replied, a quarter. I thought 1/4 meant 1/4 shorter not 1/4 of your head, darling.”

That afternoon I got my wish. My mother took me to the hair salon, where I was treated to the style I always wanted — a ducktail. The only hair design that would work with my crazy-looking, chopped-off head of hair.

The ducktail became a stereotypical style of rebels and nonconformists that gained popularity after the rise of rock ‘n roll legend, Elvis Presley. Although the ducktail was adopted by Hollywood to represent the youth of the fifties, it never gained much popularity.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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