Normal Beauty Memories from Ann Utterback

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Photograph by Jeremy Greene.

Photograph by Jeremy Greene.

The salon was called “Normal Beauty” not because that was the kind of style they aimed to execute but rather, this was the salon located in a neighborhood once known as Normal Station. “As I remember it, it was right out of Steel Magnolias. Ladies would sit and gossip while they got their hair permed or styled. That was the day of ‘ratted’ hair so it took a while!” Ann Utterback holds a great number of Normal Beauty memories because this was a place she received hair cuts and the place where her aunt worked. Today, we share a couple of her memories.

Photo courtesy of Ann Utterback.

Photo courtesy of Ann Utterback.

I had never had my hair cut until I was in the 9th grade. I had been attending Training School at U of M, and it was a small school. At White Station, where I went in the ninth grade, NO ONE had a long pony tail so I insisted I had to have it cut. Mother took me to Normal Beauty Shop (NBS), and they cut and styled my hair to look more like the other girls. It was a big move for me to have it cut.

Photo courtesy of Ann Utterback.

Photo courtesy of Ann Utterback.

One other memory of the beauty shop is that when I was in a high school sorority (Sigma) to raise money we often made sandwiches on Saturday morning and took them to beauty shops for the women who were there over lunch getting their hair done. I remember making Mrs. Weaver’s Chicken Salad on white bread. We went to Gould’s at Poplar Plaza and NBS. Can you imagine that now??? No one would feel safe eating the sandwiches, but that was in the mid-sixties when people trusted others….

Thanks to Ann Utterback for sharing memories of a Memphis landmark with us! Utterback is the granddaughter of John Wright Johnson, an architect and builder of many historic Memphis homes and mansions (1920s-30s) that still stand today. You can visit her website which holds a collection of her grandfather’s work, history and images at johnsonarchive.wordpress.com.

John Wright Johnson worked closely with the architect, Bryant Fleming, during the construction of “Carrier Hall.” He not only oversaw the building of the home, but he worked to incorporate imported items into the home.

John Wright Johnson worked closely with the architect, Bryant Fleming, during the construction of “Carrier Hall.” He not only oversaw the building of the home, but he worked to incorporate imported items into the home.

Rebecca Phillips

I am a female born in the United States though I generally fear the border patrol. Buy me an ice cream cone and maybe I'll paint you something.

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