After that eventful camping trip which included a wonderful weekend at Lake Tahoe as well as an incident with town police, I finished the month of my schooling required to take the cosmetology exam for a California license. There were four students including myself who had just missed the exams in San Francisco by two weeks. Fortunately, the state board offered the exam in other cities.
The four of us decided to take the exam being offered in Los Angeles and Hollywood. The exam took 12 hours to complete. The first eight hours was for the physical part: hair cuts, facials, manicures, and the procedure used with perms. The second day was the written exam which would take four hours. So far we had only practiced on each other at school and were anxious to style hair in a salon.
Jane volunteered to drive seeing she was the only one with a car. The remaining three of us would pay for the gas. All of us were living in San Jose and met for the trip at the school parking lot. The morning was warm and sunny. We were in for a long ride, about eight hours to Los Angeles where the first part of the exam was being held. Part of the trip was pleasant as we drove along the coast looking out the window at a beautiful view of the ocean.
After four hours of riding we all needed a break to stretch our legs and use the restroom. Once in the restroom I laid my purse on the sink and went into a stall, on coming out of the stall I proceeded to the sink to wash my hands. I looked over in disbelief at my open purse. Everything was there excepted my money – every last cent was stolen. Lesson learned; you are not in Vermont anymore Patricia!
As we approached Los Angeles the traffic became horrendous. Thinking back, I remember six lanes with cars passing us left and right at speeds faster then we ever experienced. The three of us were the lookout team to let Jane know when we were approaching our exit. We all yelled out at once there’s our exit and there goes our exit! Jane had her blinker on to move over to the right lane and no way was anyone going to let her merge. People were honking their horn at us.
It was many miles to the next exit where we would turn around and head back to the freeway and hopefully find our exit again. Everyone was exhausted when we entered the hotel and found our room. Nancy loaned me money until I got a job. I am forever grateful to her for that act of kindness.
The next morning was our practical exam in Los Angeles. We headed for bed before it was dark but no one could fall asleep so we talked for hours.
Early the next day our little group headed out to find the building for our exam. The school provided volunteers for us to use as models. In the eight hours we gave a facial, manicure, demonstrated our knowledge in giving a permanent wave. Then came the shampoo, finger wave, pin curl and then the hair dryer. There were no blow dryers or curling irons in the fifties.
After eating dinner at the hotel restaurant we went back to our room to study for our written exam in the morning. Earlier when walking through the lobby I noticed a large poster advertising the Ink Spots would be performing at a local nightclub at 8:00 pm. After studying for a half hour we closed our textbooks and changed into evening dress with high heels. Now out the door to the nightclub to listen to the Ink Spots sing the old fifties songs. It was the fifties so I guess they were not the “old fifties” songs.
It was a fun night out. The Ink Spots were the highlight of our trip. The elder of our little group was 19. Needless to say our beverage for the night wasn’t any stronger than a coke! To this day I still listen to the record with their top hits, what a precious memory.
The next day we easily found the exam room for our written exam in Hollywood. The exam took four hours to complete. We didn’t stay around to sightsee; there was too much traffic to contend with. Once in the car we headed to San Jose with only one quick break. That night I was back in my apartment. It was time for a little celebration with my roommates.
If I remember right it took three weeks to receive out licenses in the mail. Much to our delight we all received our cosmetology license. The same day my license arrived I hit the sidewalks downtown and visited every beautiful solon I ran across.
By the end of the day I was hired to work in a small quaint shop and I could start the very next day. There were three hair stylist including me plus the owner of the shop. We each had our own cubicle to work in. The patrons had privacy while having their hair done.
I was so thrilled with finding a job I ran all the way back to my apartment to tell my roommates. We were in agreement that this night called for a party and yes with something a little stronger than coke!
Until we meet again!