Mad Hatter?

There's a play, the name of which I can't remember, in which the characters include Mommy, Daddy, and their son, who is a grown man clad in diapers. There is a line in that play – an entire scene really – in which Mommy describes a new hat she bought, and Daddy does typical male fake-listening lines like, “Yes, dear,” or “Wheat colored.” I'm not a particular fan of this particular play, I merely remember that we did the scene for an acting class my junior year of high school. And it's at the front of my brain just now because:

I bought a new hat last week.
I didn't particularly need it, as I already own a black fedora, a black flat-top hat with an attached scarf (not unlike the one worn by Fr. Guido Sarducci in classic SNL), and another black felt hat, the name of which I am not sure. Not a bowler. Not a fedora. This one isn't a bowler or fedora either. I suppose it's a sort of feminine derby. Black wool felt with a nice stiff brim, a flat top, and a short crown decorated with a black beadwork flower. It's pretty basic, really, as hats go, but it was on sale, and it had been a long time since I'd added to my hat collection.

Yes, I collect hats.
I was going to take pictures of them, but I put the camera somewhere safe, and now can't find it. So I'll talk about some of them instead.

The felt hats include the afore mentioned trio of black hats, as well as a brown bowler, a red roundish hat with a feather that my grandmother gave to me a few years before she died, and a hunter green fedora.

Then there are the velvet hats. One of them, a sort of dressed up Fez, was made for me by my mother. She also made me a crushable velvet hat with iridescent satin flowers – that was the year we /all/ got hats for Christmas. A third “made by mom” creation is a black velvet baseball cap with purple and gold flowers. I have a 2nd black velvet baseball cap with no permanent decorations. Depending on my mood I'll put different pins on it when I wear it. The same goes for the purple and white painters hats that are part of my collection.

The rest of my velvet hats are all from craft fairs. They include a forest green and eggplant purple plaid golf cap, and an embossed black crushable tophat with a midnight blue iridescent velvet brim, as well as a more conventional flapper hat in brown velvet and faux leopard, and the hat I'm wearing today, a canvas crushable hat with a velvet paisley crown in autumn colors.

I had a cowboy hat once, with a rattlesnake hat band, but it got lost between moves at some point. And I still have an old NY Yankees cap, just because. The rest of my baseball-style caps include the a Gateway hat (no, it's not cow-spotted), a J. Crew hat, and one from MBARI.

I have a velvet hat that looks sort of like a beret with a bill, but is decorated with African colors and shapes that I picked up at a craft fair here in San Jose, and a leather musketeer's hat with actual peacock feathers that I bought at a scifi convention in LA, as well (it came with a rapier).

And, for those days when I just want a color accent, I also have berets in several colors – red, indigo, black, blue, and cream. I need one in mustard to match my favorite turtleneck, and have never been able to find the right color.

And now that I've highlighted my collection, I've realized that I've been a hat-person for my entire life. When I was thirteen, I had an extensive collection of sun-visors. At eight, when I lived in the mountains of Colorado, and we owned a craft store, I wore home-made sunbonnets, just like the ones on “Little House on the Prairie.”

Before that though, so far back that it's accompanied by my grandmother's voice shouting “Suzie, put a hat on that baby!” I remember my first hat: It was red, it was calico, it had ruffles.

It was the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl's hat.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Mad Hatter? by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.