Emily Leatrice Serrapede started paying attention to make-up and hairstyling more seriously after she turned 14 years old. She remembered the first lipstick she bought. It was made by a company called Milkmaid. The lipsticks were very creamy and the colors very soft. Her favorite shades were rose red or a deep rose pink. She also liked to set her hair in pin curls and brush it out in the morning into a side parted, shoulder length hairstyle that flowed freely without many clips or barrettes to hold it in place. While she enjoyed the hair care products and cosmetics she used Emily wanted to try more high end cosmetics as well as the services of the well known salons such as Elizabeth Arden, Charles of the Ritz or Helena Rubenstein. She had to find a way to gain entre to that world of glamour and artistry.
When Emily told her parents she wanted to attend a course to learn hairdressing they were not enthusiastic at all. Her parents were first generation Italian-Americans who aspired to see their children move upwards in educational and occupational endeavors. For Emily, this meant that her parents wanted her to pursue high school coursework in business studies so that she would have a broad skills set and the flexibility to consider employment in a variety of businesses.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede circa 1944.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede was born in 1931 to Sam and Josie Serrapede. The family lived in the Italian-American community of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York. Emily was:
- Sister of Junior (Sammy)
- EmilyAnn’s Mom
Family Story: Deciding on a profession
Emily was very restless. She rarely shared her thoughts and ideas about the kind of life she wanted for herself. Everyone around her seemed satisfied with staying within the same world they all knew. This meant dating boys from families who were close to your parents and relatives. It meant you would marry someone from the same background. It was an easy way to stay close to the familiar and comforting world of family, friends and community. Many young people bought houses near their parents and sometimes lived with them in a two family house. Emily questioned if this is what she really wanted for herself. Was doing what everyone else did the best way to a happy life?Continue reading “76a-Serrapede Family in the 1940s – Pin curls and lipstick vs. Typewriters and Steno”