Madame Ilonka and the Hairdresser

There was nothing worse than having to go to posture classes with Madame Ilonka.  Her studio was in a building next to where my mother had her hair done.  My mother had beautiful hair and she took very good care of it.  While my mother’s hair was being washed, then rinsed with beer, rinsed again, conditioned, and then styled, I would have to go see Madame Ilonka.

You see, my mother had scoliosis as did both  her parents,  and although she knew that scoliosis was an inherited trait, she hoped that by sending me to posture class it would increase the chances of preventing scoliosis in me.

I felt even smaller than my 9-year-old self,  when the redheaded Madame Ilonka would come to the door in  her black leotard top and black pedal pusher pants.  I hated going to posture class and had to keep from rolling my eyes when she would say “ it’s now time for us to do the camel.”   She would make me get down on all fours on a thick rubber mat, and say in Spanish accented with her heavy Hungarian accent, “uno dos y tres, espalda abajo, uno dos y tres, espalda arriba como un camello.”  This all meant “one two and three back down and arched, one two and three back up like a camel.”

Looking radiant and beautiful, 

my mother would come knocking at the door as I was on the verge of running  out of there before class was over.  My mother with her fresh hairdo would pay Madame Ilonka, and would mix Hungarian with Spanish and say  “visontlatash, hasta la proxima.”  Goodbye, until next time…and I would be thinking oy vey,  HELP!

8 responses

  1. I was sent to Hungarian folk dancing classes – which I hated. I think I twisted my ankle at the recital and (thankfully) couldn’t perform. That’s an old, old memory. Thanks for taking me there.

  2. I also went to the standing shabbat hair appointment with my mom. It was boring and I often wanted something else to do. Although comparing out memories, maybe boredom was not so bad. My mother often nagged me to stand up straight with shoulders back. I guess that was the same in Polish, Yiddish or Hungarian

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