One of the movies that my mom always mentioned as I was growing up was “The Boy with the Green Hair”. It’s a rather obscure movie from 1948 that starred 12 year old Dean Stockwell. Yep, the same Dean Stockwell that grew up to star in movies like Blue Velvet and Married to the Mob, as well as the TV show Quantum Leap.
Anyway, The Boy with the Green Hair is certainly about having a really bad hair day. But, it’s also about the intolerance of people who are different, as well as about self-discovery and making a difference. Although, this movie is over 60 years old, it has some pretty modern-day themes.
This week, I was recognized by the Huffington Post because of the challenges that I overcame several years ago, and what I’ve been able to accomplish since then. I’m doing my best to make a difference in my community and to help others. Our family went through a series of life-altering situations in a really short span of time, but we made it through them. These were the types of problems that could have hit any family.
So, after the story was published, I began to think about the people in my life – who supported us during this tough time and who bailed. And yes, there were a number of so-called friends who bailed. Although I didn’t chat openly about what was happening to us at the time, it was impossible to hide the fact that we were hit with a layoff, a child in the hospital, and my need to return to work. Those who bailed on us weren’t the individuals with whom I shared a strong bond or much in common. No, it was the neighborhood group of moms who turned out to be the fair weather friends. Three years later, I can’t say I miss their friendships. However, I do miss the opportunity for my boys to be in a cohesive community.
That being said, I am extremely grateful for the friends who stuck with us through the difficulties and for the many new friends who we have met since. I see former friends every day as some live nearby. With some, I can share pleasantries, and with others, it’s more of a cold stare. Yet, I look at them now and feel no anger. Rather, I am sad that they have such limited acceptance of others. I was apparently worthy when I was a stay-at-home mom who didn’t work, but when our situation changed, I didn’t meet their qualifications.
So, like the boy with the green hair, I had to accept being different in a community where diversity isn’t particularly appreciated. Now, the irony is that I’m being given publicity because of it. So, I’m happy to be free of the fair weather friends. Like us, they too will have times in their lives when they are challenged and could use the support of friends. And when this does happen, they might have a change of heart about tolerance.
And now the theme song from The Boy with the Green Hair – Nature Boy. Sung by Nat King Cole for the movie, this version is by Pomplamoose – a duo from the Bay Area. Take a listen.