Saturday Morning Hair Salon
The Knox County Baptist Mission was supported by area churches, and primarily First Baptist Church, in Knoxville, Tennessee, where we were members. Daddy had been called to be the pastor for the mission. He and Mother wanted us to enjoy the advantages of being a part of a large church, so Suz and I went to the main church, while Mother and Dad were ministering at the mission. Nene played the piano for their church services, but joined us on Wednesday and Sunday nights at the main church, as did Mother and Daddy. To leave Suz and I to our own devices, probably wasn’t the wisest decision, but that’s another story for another time.
Our parent’s work at the mission was hard, and often discouraging, but they persevered and had an impact on many people’s lives who passed through there. They picked up children on the way to church, so our car was full every time we made the trip. We didn’t have seat belts. They hadn’t been invented yet. We crammed as many people in the car as we possibly could, and then some. It was a happy time. The car was as full of laughter as it was people. For these “underprivileged” children, it was quite probably the only lighthearted time of their young lives, to that point. They faced such hardships with alcoholic parents and/or abusive parents, that they were hungry for attention and love.
On Saturdays we went to the mission to help get the women and children ready for church on Sunday. Daddy cut hair. Mother, Nene, Reva, and I washed and rolled hair. We had two or three hair dryers that we brought along with us. Do you remember the ones with the caps? They had a hose from the cap to the motor. The motor blew heat into the cap to dry the hair. We taught them how to style their hair, how to apply make-up, and how to act like a lady.
Minstering to the physical needs of the people was vital. It boosted their self-esteem. They learned skills that would serve them well when they went to apply for jobs. We were doing something for them that would have a lasting impact.
I was fifteen years old at the time. I had grown up learning to serve others. It came naturally by the time I was fifteen. The compassion that was taught to us by our parents’ example will never be forgotten. I was thinking today how the past couple of generations haven’t had the privilege to observe or practice serving others. I feel sorry for them. They have missed so much, mainly the purpose of living!
Our parents taught us well how to look out for our brothers and sisters. Not just the ones we had by birth, but the ones we met along the way. For this I am thankful!