Monday, May 23, 2011

armpit hair and fainting

Vera at about the time she
began shaving her armpits
The practice of women shaving their armpits came into vogue in the mid-1910's in the US.  My great-grandmother Vera Merriman of Medford, Oregon was then a teenager and began to follow the trend.  She started to shave her own armpits but was unsuccessful because she would faint whenever she tried to do it herself.  Her remedy was to have her younger brother Sharon (then about 12) shave her armpits for her.  Thankfully, her brother shaving her armpits kept her from passing out.

Vera's propensity for fainting was apparently a genetic trait that she passed to both of her children, and several of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her son Ben (my grandfather) was apparently diagnosed at one point with "borderline epilepsy" because of his fainting problems.  Our family has a variety of humorous stories of family members fainting at inopportune times, such as when Vera's daughter Mary Jo fainted onto the steering wheel while sitting in the driver's seat of her (parked) car, thus continually compressing the horn; or, multiple occasions when my mom or her sister would faint during Catholic church services and had to be dragged or carried out out of the

Most of the above comes from Vera's granddaughter Maggie.

My descent from Vera:

Vera Merriman
->Ben Plymale
--->Barbara Plymale
----->Ryan Wadleigh

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