... Count 'em, see how many you've got ...
Hats, Man, I seem to have gone crazy over hats over the past eight decades.
Would you believe I could count over some 70 hats??? Of course I couldn't save
those from early school years -- those that my mother picked out for their warmth and
I mean, hats that I've collected during my grown-up years. No one seems to
realize the strange collections we ancients have made over those precious years.
I still have, in its original oval-shaped box, a straw hat that my father wore to
work in the 1930's. I remember going to lower Manhattan to his office as a kid,
and it seems I was in a sea of straw hats. Those were the days ...
I got a couple of hats from the Boy Scouts -- hats that resembled formal U.S.
Armyhats, brown with a broad rim. But then hats went out of style during my
school years, in the forties. No kid would dare to be seen in a hat, in high
school. In the winter, hoods were acceptable, but NO hats.
But then I joined the Marine Corps, where the work uniform included a green
cap with a visor. Would you believe, I still have, and wear frequently, that
green cap that I was issued at Parris Island?! In 1952! It's a favorite, and it
encourages friendships when another ex-Marine walks by.
Being married meant I had to wear hats any time I went out-of-doors. And so I
began picking up visor caps, everywhere we went -- Florida, Texas, California,
New Jersey. What I don't have is a hat from Ohio, for my first civilian job out
of the Marines was with BF Goodrich in Akron. I got a new cap there, but the job
only lasted six months; Lorry and I didn't care for the job, the place, so we
just picked up our new daughter, and went back to New England. Both of us, Lorry
and me, grew up in Jersey, then met on a blind date in Boston.
I got into playing volleyball with Don LeSaffre of the Daniels-LeSaffre Chrysler-
Plymouth shop on Main Street, and so, eventually, I took up after the high school
girls volleyball team, for which service I was given a red "Melrose Volleyball"
cap. It's one of my favorites.
The one hat I miss is the'80's business hat, with slightly wide brim -- I wore
that hat the year we spent in a motorhome, touring the forty-eight. One had to
wear a brimmed hat out west, for the sun was stronger there. We walked across the
border into Mexico one day, and I was the only guy wearing a hat; all the people
there, it seemed, had healthy, heavy long black hair.
I had a Melrose baseball hat at one time, and perhaps a dozen caps that we bought
while travelling through New England. I spent six months in Puerto Rico, with the
Marines, but never bought a hat down there. I had to wear standard issue Marine
But after all these years, I have collected about 50 caps, mostly stuffed into a
drawer or hanging from a hatrack I built in our "new room". I reckon I will not
get to wear all those hats, so I've made it a point to donate them, and a zillion
pieces of seldom-used clothes, to the needy. They call twice a year now.
So much for hats. So much for life. It's been a good time, a productive time, and
a new-hat time. Always.
June 2, 2017