Thrash seeks to brings back

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 17, 1999

the old days for her customers


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Dec. 16, 1999 10 PM

Years ago when a woman wanted to get all prettied-up, she would take a stroll down to the local beauty parlor and get her hair done.

The beauty parlor was almost always located in the parlor or the beauty operator’s home where she doubled as a housewife and the community beautician. Going to the beauty parlor was much like visiting a friend – warm conversation amidst the coziness of home.

More often than not, the shampoo bowl was the kitchen sink but the pen curls and fingerwaves were done in the parlor so the women could see out the front door. Hair was dried by either the ceiling fan or a stiff breeze blowing through the window. One thing that was never lacking, though, was "newsy" conversation.

Judy Thrash didn’t experience those days of beauty in the parlor but she wanted to bring back those days for the pleasure of her customers.

Thrash has been a beautician for 30 years and recently opened a parlor – Judy’s Parlor – off Main Street in Brundidge.

"I wanted my business to be more than a beauty shop," she said. "I wanted it to be a parlor – like in the old days. And, too, a beauty parlor would be in keeping with the Antique City theme Brundidge has adopted."

Thrash remodeled one of the cubbyhole shops and magically brought back the days of the beauty parlor. The shop has hand-stenciled walls and is artfully decorated with antiques and family memorabilia that give the shop a friendly, family feel.

Hats that belonged to Thrash’s mother and "a" hat that belonged to her grandmother are part of the decor.

"My grandmother came up from Louisiana to visit us and she wasn’t one of those prim and proper women who wore hats to church," Thrash said. "So my mother bought her one to wear while she was here because women didn’t go to church without a hat on their head. When my grandmother went back to Louisiana, she left the hat here."

Ladies’ hats and parlors just naturally go together and they are both a natural fit for Judy’s beauty shop.

"I’ve always wanted a shop in town and I’m pleased with the way it has turned out," Thrash said. "I enjoy my work and I know it will be even more enjoyable in the parlor."

Thrash can’t remember when she didn’t like to "fix hair."

"Every time my mother would get me a doll, I would cut on its hair until it couldn’t be cut anymore," she said, laughing. "My granddaddy was a barber, so I guess he’s the one who influenced me."

After high school graduation, Thrash said she knew without a doubt what she wanted to do. She finished cosmetology school and worked with Rachel Rodgers at Rachel’s Beauty Shop for two years before opening her own shop at her home between Banks and Brundidge.

Around beauty shop circles, the rule of thumb is if an operator likes a customer, she should keep the hair brushed out of her face. If she doesn’t like her, let the hair fall in her face.

None of Thrash’s customer find hair falling in their faces because she considers each one a special friend. There is a lot of sharing that goes on between a beautician and her customers over the years and Thrash said she has made many friends "in the chair."

And, in the business of beauty parlors, there is little room for error "in the chair."

Thrash prides herself in her work but she has sent a few blue hairs from her shop – but by design.

"I had some ladies who wanted that Wicked rinse on their hair and it would be as blue as could be but they thought it was beautiful," she said, laughing. "As long as the customer is satisfied …"

And every now and then, she might get the water a little too cold or a little too hot and when she does, her customer friends don’t hesitate to let her know.

"One day, I put some very hot water on one of my customers," Thrash said. "She came up out of the chair in a hurry and said, ‘Well, damn, are you gonna pluck me!’ I started laughing and then she got tickled. We laughed until we couldn’t."

Just like two friends in a parlor.