Hats. I grew up wearing hats. Not just for protection from the elements but for making a fashion statement. There are even photos of me (somewhere) wearing whatever was handy as a hat if one could not be found. Diapers, shoes and pillows were all fair game. Keep in mind that I was only a child with a wild imagination.
As I got older, my mother saw to it that my sister and I were decked out with special shoes, purses, gloves and hats for Easter Sunday. What with our frilly little dresses and lace trimmed anklets, we looked as though we had stepped out of a Sears and Roebuck catalog. It felt good to be so fancy. We were excited to be dressed up like human dolls.
Easter was about candy to us children, but to our mother, it meant dressing up in your best and topping it off with an Easter bonnet. In fact, it was the only day of the year she went to church. With us in tow, dressed to the nines, we’d walk to the church at the end of the street to not only be a part of the Easter parade but to check out everyone else in their finery. She had such a good time nodding with approval and nudging me to agree. If someone dared be caught without proper millinery, she’d give them the stink eye. Looking back on it all, I don’t know how I got through it without laughing. But mother took it so seriously, that I was caught up in the moment.
As I became a teenager, was earning my own money by babysitting, I would buy the occasional hat. I had a little white leather cap that I wore when I hung out with my friends and wanted to look cool. Of course, I did have the white go-go boots too, but it was the cap that made the outfit! Then there was the charming, burgundy felt number with a decent brim. I decorated it with statement pins that told everyone I believed in love not war, peace and flower power. When I wore that hat with my burgundy skirt, burgundy crocheted vest and light pink blouse, I felt beautiful. Of course, not everyone loved my hats and that burgundy hat got me into trouble one day.
A friend had not only gotten tickets for us to attend a concert that night, but she arranged for us to have a ride with her older sister and her friends. Naturally, I had to be looking my best, so I rolled my hair before I left for school and simply put the hat on over the sea of pink sponge. None of my friends cared, my folks didn’t care (none of them knew what the hat was hiding) but one of my teachers was fit to be tied. She demanded I remove the hat in her classroom. What? No way! My hair was damp so if I took out the rollers, I’d be a laughing stock. I not only couldn’t finish the rest of the school day looking like a drown rat, but I could NOT attend that concert in that condition. She stood her ground and since I would not remove the hat, she had me removed from her classroom! That resulted in my folks being called and that resulted in me being grounded for the night. Missed the concert and I never wore that hat to school again.
I still have hats, but they are more for protection from the elements than anything else. Soft and warm for winter. Plastic bonnets that tie under my chin in case it rains. I make no major fashion statements. My appreciation for hats has shifted to practical. But I still give a nod of approval when I see a beautiful Easter bonnet. My mother would be so proud.