March 2021


Hang on to your Hat


As a little girl I always felt my Easter outfit was incomplete without a hat, and every year I begged my mother to buy me one. Though she was a tough sell, she usually gave in to my badgering. Hat in hand, I would happily anticipate Easter Sunday. Only on Easter Sunday would I remember the idea of wearing a hat, and the actual wearing of said hat are two completely different NO ONE WILL BE WRITING A SONNET ABOUT MY EASTER BONNET.

he was learning to talk. He said it with authority, in the way babies do when they know for sure they’re pronouncing something correctly. He hit the final T hard, as if he were from Jersey. He also pointed out every hat he saw on a stranger, which could sometimes be slightly embarrassing. “Hat,” he said loudly one night in a restaurant, pointing to a woman’s headgear. I apologetically explained that he liked her hat; she was very sweet and offered to let him try it on. When he shied away, she asked, “Can I put it on your mommy’s head?” Though I demurred, I did consider it a red-letter day when someone—anyone— thought I was young enough to be the mother of a toddler. She probably just had poor vision. Between the boys-have-cooties days and the dating years, there was a time when boys would “come over” to visit if they liked you. One day one of those boys and I were listening to music in the living room when my father came home from work. I do not remember the boy’s name, or even what he looked like, but I remember what my father said to him. “That’s a nice hat; do you always wear it in the house?” I was mortified, of course. I do not remember how the boy, whoever he was, reacted. It made an impression on me, though; not being male, I had not been taught to take off my hat indoors. Now that I knew, however, I would forever be

things. I kept trying, though, and even took a few stabs at wearing an Easter hat as an adult. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I do not like to wear hats. Lots of people do, though, and here it is hat season. Easter approaches, soon to be followed by Derby Day parties. Sunhats

at the beach and baseball caps at the pool loom in the very near future. It makes me think of our first grandchild. “Hat” was one

of William’s very best words when



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