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
"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
Gail Meltzer, Jacksonville
"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
"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
"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. …