March 26, 2013

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it...

I, my friends, have a 'thing' for hats.  I adore them. I'd wear them every day but I think I would freak out my work colleagues. My fascination with hats started when I was a young girl because my mother wore beautiful hats with swooping feathers that sat at a rakish angle on her lovely hair.  I wanted to grow up and be just like her.

Mother and I, Easter 1958
I adore big, gorgeous hats like Marian's in The Music Man,
or Judy Garland's in Easter Parade:

or more recently, Theodora in The Great and Powerful Oz:
But my love affair with hats didn't have an auspicious beginning.  I was ten and very eager to enter the Easter Bonnet competition at our local Carnegie Library, pictured below.  It was a wonderful old building, and the children's department was the entire basement.  You had to go behind the large, imposing front steps and there, tucked away behind the stairs, was the door to the basement.  Once you were safely inside, a world of books waited to whisk you away to any continent you dreamed of, or even into another galaxy if you preferred science fiction.  But that particular spring it wasn't books calling my name, it was the dreams of glory of taking the coveted first place for most beautiful Easter bonnet.  And these weren't just any old bonnets, oh no! They had to be completely handmade, from items around your house.
So with youthful optimism I sat out to craft the most splendiferous hat imaginable, and my dad was my willing accomplice.  To this day I have no clear recollection as to why my dad was helping me with the bonnet, as he worked very long hours and was seldom home, but home he was on that important Saturday morning.  We were excited and optimistic and rather giddy about the whole process.  But the one thing we were not, was crafty.  We used a yellow plastic wash tub (yes, we did!  why we thought this was a good idea, I have no clue) and Dad drilled little holes all over the tub (did I mention it was yellow? and plastic?) and we stuck artificial tulips in all the holes.  And somehow rigged up a green velvet bow, ala Scarlett O'Hara, minus the winsome charm.

What I thought I was wearing:
What I was really wearing:
except this image looks better, I think.  A little less garish, a little more refined.  I couldn't find any yellow tubs and plastic red tulips on google--even the internet knows it's not a tasteful combination.  Long story short, I did win a ribbon that long ago day at the library's annual Easter Bonnet party!  It's still tucked away in a scrapbook....first place for funniest hat.  Not exactly what Dad and I had in mind, but it's a precious memory all the same. 


Easter Parade

In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.
I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I’ll be the proudest fellow in the easter parade.
On the avenue, fifth avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your easter bonnet,
And of the girl I’m taking to the easter parade.


  1. That is such a sweet story. The important thing was that had an opportunity to be creative and you got to build a memory with your Dad.
    Wishing you a very happy Easter!

  2. This work colleague would love it if you wore hats everyday as I also adore them!