Evelyn Anderson lived by an adage that served her throughout her long life: “Work, work, work, work,” said her daughter, Bonnie Anderson.
“My mother grew up with that farm ethic.”
Evelyn Anderson was born on her family’s farm in Nebraska. She died on July 2 at her home in Boise. She was 97.
She built her own business, Evelyn’s Salon, at a time when many women of her generation didn’t work outside their homes. Anderson combined the best of both worlds. Her salon was adjacent to the house she shared with husband Carl and daughters Carolene and Bonnie.
Evelyn’s was open from 1961 to 1978 on Overland Road, across the street from what is now Overland Park Plaza. At the time, the area was mostly fields.
Anderson didn’t go in for flashy Hollywood styles.
“The classics were her specialties,” said Bonnie Anderson.
If customers didn’t tell her exactly what they wanted, Evelyn decided for them.
“She thought every kid should have a pixie cut,” said Bonnie.
Anderson was a savvy business woman. Before email, websites or Facebook, she built her client list through Welcome Wagon. The company contacted new homeowners and passed along coupons and information about local businesses. Anderson subscribed to the Welcome Wagon list. She’d call or write newcomers, offering discounts on her services.
Bonnie Anderson still owns items from her mother’s shop — styling how-to books featuring Annette Funicello-esque bouffants, assorted wigs on styrofoam heads and tools, including a special iron for making the flat, undulating marcel waves emblematic of the 1940s.
Evelyn Anderson was elegant. It ran in her family. Her own mother was never photographed without a hat and was known for wearing high-heeled “wedgies” on the farm. Evelyn grew up wearing overalls, but when she could make her own choices, she favored gabardine slacks.
“It would remind us of Katherine Hepburn,” said Bonnie.
In keeping with her profession, Evelyn never left the house without her hair done and a good-looking pair of shoes.
When she worked — even at her own salon, where she was the boss — she wore a pressed white uniform complete with white shoes and nylons.
“Nylons were like gold for anyone who lived through World War II. She took care of hers,” said Bonnie.
Evelyn Anderson attended beautician school in Nebraska. That’s where she met and married Carl.
They fell in love with Idaho when they were traveling through in the summer of 1948 on their way to California on vacation.
The Idaho weather closed the deal, said Bonnie. Her parents wanted to escape the extreme cold of Nebraska. By the winter of 1948, the Andersons were Idahoans.
When they moved west, Evelyn brought a huge supply of hair pins with her. In the days before hairspray, pins were a must for keeping ladies’ hair in place in the Nebraska gales. When she got to Boise, people told her she wouldn’t need the pins.
“Because the wind doesn’t blow here,” said Bonnie.
Before opening her own shop, Evelyn worked for a time in the celebrated beautician’s school owned by Catherine Anacabe on 9th Street in Downtown Boise.
Anyone who cared for Evelyn through her later years — nurses, attendants, therapists — heard her stories about doing peoples’ hair. She loved her profession, said Bonnie.
Evelyn kept her beauty cart set up, piled high with permanent rollers, until the day she died.
In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a Treasure Valley resident who has recently passed away. To recommend a friend or loved one for an In Remembrance, email email@example.com.