“Where did you get that red hair?”
My brother and I heard the question over and over growing up, since we sported identical shades of dark red hair–mine curly, his anything but.
“From both sides of the family,” we’d explain. We had three great grandpas with red hair, only one of whom we ever knew. Great Grandpa Roberts didn’t have any hair left by the time we were sitting at his feet, listening to stories while he cracked walnuts and smoked a pipe. But in his younger days, he’d been known as “Red Roberts”.
“When red headed people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.”
-Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
My brother called our hair “the color of a year-old penny”. It was always more copper red than carrot red. And now, age has darkened it to that “handsome auburn” Anne Shirley coveted. So much so that not everyone even thinks of me as a redhead anymore.
“There is so much more to being a redhead than the color of one’s hair.”
–G. Adam Stanislav
I never minded being a redhead, but I think it was my beloved Anne of Green Gables that taught me to love it. I read the series by L. M. Montgomery when I was seven years old, and couldn’t have been prouder to be wearing the freckles and carrot-colored hair of the heroine. Even if it meant guilt by association with a quick temper.
“Please just call me red-headed and forgive me.”
-Anne to Gilbert in Anne’s House of Dreams
We’re in the minority, we redheads are. And the brunt of almost as many jokes as blondes.
“I would always hesitate to recommend as a life’s companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.”
-Jeeves in Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
But despite warnings from wits like Wodehouse, literature and the silver screen have continued to write redheads into many a happily ever after. Sean Thornton loved Mary Kate Danaher in “The Quiet Man” (with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara). The Swamp Angel loved Freckles. Charlie Brown was always in love with the mysterious “little red-haired girl”. And Gilbert loved Carrots, his Anne-Girl.
“When a fellow has a home and a dear, little, red-haired wife in it what more need he ask of life?”
-Gilbert in Anne’s House of Dreams
So we hold our red heads a little higher, as the red thread continues to wind through generations of our own real life love stories. Sometimes that redhead gene skips a generation or two, but considering the number of redheaded grandchildren and great grandchildren my great grandpa “Red” had, we’re not extinct yet.
Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt: “red“