June Bugs and Other Memories Readers Share Their Stories

Article excerpt

Nicole McGill began writing her column for Family two years ago

this week. Each week, readers have responded, often telling

their own stories.

One writer identified with McGill's plight as a single mother.

Another commented on a column about researching ancestors. And

one woman commiserated about the trials of growing up with hair

that is tight and kinky instead of smooth and silky.

This week, Family features stories from our readers.

Bad hair days

"My hair is too coarse, thick and nappy. When I was little my

classmates would call me `Brillo head' and tell me I had Negro

hair. [I'm white and Jewish.] My mother didn't know about cream

rinse. Or maybe there just wasn't any in the '50s, I don't know.

I too went through the weekly torture of the comb after

shampooing.

"In high school I rolled it on orange juice cans and chemically

straightened it until it finally broke off in clumps. . . .

"I have a 16-year-old son whose thick hair, to his chagrin,

changed from soft to coarse to unruly as he hit adolescence.

"In the best of all worlds, your daughter and my son, and you

and I would celebrate our nappy-haired heritage and free

ourselves from trying to control hair that has a long history of

wayward independence."

Gail Meltzer, Jacksonville

June bugs

"I remember June bugs and how we used to tie a string to their

back legs and watch them fly round and round. I knew you would

know about June bugs, and sure enough you did.

" ... We wouldn't have hurt the June bugs on purpose. Strange, I

don't remember what happened to them after their performance.

"But then, we would not have purposely hurt lightning bugs

either, and yet we did catch them and put them in mayonnaise

jars with little air holes punched in the lid. And we did

persuade doodlebugs out of their funnel-shaped houses by

stirring them slowly with a stick while warning them that their

houses were on fire, urging them on by chanting, `Back, back

doodlebug. Your house is on fire!' "

Jerry Shaw Starling, Jacksonville

Faded memories

"Last fall my older daughter asked me to write a family history

so that she and her children ... would have some idea of their

heritage. While I might not have a high school named after me, I

can leave them with some memories... . After all, I am 80 years

old.

"I was born in the middle of one World War, . . . fought in

another, survived the Depression . . . then lived through the

many problems and challenges that brought us on the threshold of

the millennium. …