When my parents married—more than sixty years before he developed Alzheimer’s and she slipped into dementia—they were both vibrant and creative people. They both were also attractive brunettes, and their first child, David, was also an adorable brunette. In fact, in college when my roommate met my brother, she swooned and said, “Wow! He looks like the actor, Tom Selleck.” Then she paused, looked at me and asked the usual question, “So where’d you get red hair?”
Growing up, I got that question a lot. My brother had me convinced I was adopted until my mother put an end to that. Then as we got older, he answered the question with a zinger: “We’re not sure, but our mail man has red hair.” That got him some laughs, but was more than a little awkward for me because my boyfriend was the son of our mailman. As it turned out, it came from my paternal grandfather and my great-Aunt Addie Lee, who both had wonderful red hair.
Redheads account for 13% of the population in Scotland, 10% in Ireland, but worldwide less than 2% and predicted to eventually disappear. Bees have been proven to be more attracted to redheads; and rumor has it that Hitler banned marriage between redheads to avoid “deviant offspring.” A Russian proverb states, “There was never a saint with red hair.” BUT according to the British Journal of Cancer, men with red hair are 54% less likely to develop prostate cancer than brown- and blonde-haired men.
The beautiful and talented actress Julianne Moore is a red head. Among her many movie credits and awards, she received the Best Actress Oscar for her role in STILL ALICE, inspired by the true story of a woman’s struggles with early onset Alzheimer’s. Moore also wrote a fun, triumphant children’s book in 2007 titled FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY. Boy, do I wish that book had been around when I was a child; I would have used it to smack my brother! Fortunately, I learned to love my red hair, and as it turned out, our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren all have beautiful red hair.
Yesterday, November 5th, was National Love Your Red Hair Day. Actually, I think the entire month should be a Tribute to Red Hair, but here’s a compromise: Nov. 7th is Book Lovers’ Day, and Nov. 10th is Young Readers’ Day ~ in both cases, you might read Julianne Moore’s book for a fun crash-course in freckles. Spoiler Alert: No, you don’t have to cover freckles with a Magic Marker or a body stocking, and it’s true that A face without freckles is like a night without stars!
“Ruadh gu brath!” (Scots gaelic for “Red heads forever!”)