I showed Maggie a picture of my second grade class. I asked her to find me. She pointed to three of my friends. But not me. Then she pointed to four other girls, two of which were black. Then she pointed to a boy and then the only other remaining girl, also black. Then another boy. No lie. She never picked me.
I had red hair when I was young. Maggie doesn’t believe this. In fact, my husband just said something to her about mommy having red hair (he fondly remembers the days before my hair turned brown and then, eek, grey.) She laughed and basically told him he was nuts, though not in so many words.
Growing up a redhead was not all laughs. In fact, it was mostly all tears. These were the days before Julia Roberts. The days before Julianne Moore. The days before red was “in.” The days when redheads played only witches and gypsies in movies and on TV. Of course, like most things in my life, I look back now at all those wasted years and tears and wish I could have a crack at some of them again.
I recently hit the bottle – the color bottle at the salon. It’s a wash, because I’m a chicken. But it’s making me a bit more spunky. A bit more daring. A bit more carefree. And I like it.
I have seen a lot of photos lately of friends I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years. Some have changed so much. Others not at all. I wonder what people think about me? Have I changed a lot? Or not that much? I still think of myself as the high school senior with long, curly, thick red hair flowing down my back. Right about now I can say it’s red (with help) but that’s about it. It’s short, wavy (sometimes we call that frizzy…) and I work hard just to get a little sassy style going, on occasion.
But being a redhead is part of who I am. It goes nicely with the ultra-pale skin that is my other trademark. And even if my own child doesn’t believe it, I have albums of pictures as proof. I just need to remember where I filed them. Here. Somewhere.