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Kindness Makes It's Mark
A Patch of Blue - The Characters
Blind, abused, molested, and alone, a young teen has somewhat resigned herself to a life of stringing beads and being a personal servant to her abusive mother and alcoholic grandfather.
In 1965, a racially tense year, the movie, A Patch of Blue, was the depiction of a geniune and innocent relationship between an older black man and a young white girl.
Selena, played by Elizabeth Hartman, has never beeen to school. She has no friends. She has very little contact with people except for her mother's friend, Sadie, her mother's boyfriends, her grandfather, and the man that she string beads for. At age 5 she was raped by one of her mother's boyfriends. Selena was blinded when her mother threw a liquid chemical at her husband and the liquid splashed Selenia in the face. Being slapped, hit and yelled at was the norm for Selena. Her world was dark in many ways.
Selena's mother, Rose-Ann D'Arcey, played by Shelly Winters, drank too much. She had a dismal view on life and shared that view with her daughter. She was verbally and physically abusive especially to her daughter and her father.
Selena's grandfather, played by Wallace Ford, was called Ole Pa. Ole Pa was an alcoholic who sympathized with Selena but was too drunk most of the time to help her or make some kind of difference in her life.
Selena strung beads for a man who had a bead business and gave the money to her mother. The man was somewhat kind to her.
Gordon Ralfe, my hero of the movie, is played by Sydney Portier. One day while walking through the park he notices that a young girl needs help. He stops to help her, not recognizing that she is blind. This is the begining of a life changing relationship.
Kindness Takes Courage
I am sure that Gordon recognized the danger of befriending a white female, especially a young white female in America during the 1960s. Losing his life was a very real possibility for this.
Gordon did not know Selena, where she lived, or who her family was. What started out as a friendly hand turned into an opportunity to relieve some of the darkness from someone's life.
After seeing Selena in the park several times alone, Gordon recognized that she needed a little more assistance. He would share his lunch with Selena and spend a little time talking with her. Gordon taught her some basic life skills such as how to find her way home and how to use the pay phone.
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What does Gordon's courage cost him?
What does it cost Selena?
The two of them chose to be vulnerable to each other. How did there lives change because of their vulneralbility?
According to Dr. Brene Brown, "Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen."
I believe that both Selena and Gordon started with this facet of courage. Their paths crossed and each of them took the risk. Gordon stopped to help a young whit female and Selena, not being able to see him but surely could hear that he was a grown man, accepted his help.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Dr. Brene Brown says, "Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness."
Gordon and Selena's lives did change. In order to get a good understanding of how, rent or buy the movie. It periodically plays on Turner Classic Movies, a cable station.
- A Patch of Blue (1965) - Overview - TCM.com
Overview of A Patch of Blue, 1965, directed by Guy Green, with Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman, at Turner Classic Movies