My first store bought hat was red felt, bowl-shaped with a bow on the side. Riding along in my father’s car one day, motion sickness came on and so as not to soil the car I pulled off my hat and threw up into it and never saw the chapeau again.
In the winters when I worked downtown and stood for long spans waiting for buses, I wore knit caps pulled down over my ears and when I got to work other girls would ask if it was a one, two or three hat day, depending on how many of them I nested on my head to fend off the chill.
The red hat I wore to the Yankee Peddler’s fair one year so my cousins could keep me in view somehow failed me and I ended up walking back to the car and waiting for them in the parking lot.
When I was thirteen I had a wide black picture hat with a white rose pinned to it and a black veil which came down my face to my chin.
At nineteen I wore a little black velvet pill box hat which also had a black veil.
My gloves were always the same color as the hats and I never felt dressed up without both. For me these were required items for going to church or shopping downtown.
The babushka was always a reliable head cover for less formal occasions. While it offered no warmth in the winter, it was at least a thin layer between weather and the hair that the wind would otherwise muss.
My favorite picture hat had a soft pink velvet top surrounded by a tray of ostrich feathers that flounced as I walked along in an hour glass black wool coat. To my great dismay, my mother did not save it for me, when I moved away it disappeared and though I looked for it high and low, never found it.
Another favorite, which I do still have is a white marabou fuzz covered lamp shade shaped hat with a red velvet bow on the front. A tiny wrinkled lady once genuflected to look at my face under the hat.
My mother crocheted me a stocking cap with a tassel on the end. It was the same color as my ice skates and my friend, Dick said it was ugly. I defended it saying, my mother made it for me! He was unimpressed and still said it was ugly. He didn’t like the orange woven straw hat I wore for many summers either.
On a bus ride to Washington D.C. a decade or two ago a young lady sat next to me who had an assortment of piercings, eyebrow and lip that I could see. She was trying to get to D.C. but accidently got on a bus to New York first and was now on the right road. I do not remember her name, but I thought it was nice that she lived with her grandmother and took care of the house and yard for her. She was wearing a soft velvet beret of a deep red violet. I asked her if she would make one for me if I gave her a check and she said yes, so I wrote her a check for $10.00 which she said would also cover the shipping cost, and a couple of weeks later the lovely hat arrived.
The year I turned 50, my cousin Theresa bought me a great sturdy red hat and stuck a comical angel pin on the side.