Hats are surprisingly complicated things.
They keep their wearers warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and sometimes function strictly as fashion accessories. (GARY WARTH, Staff Writer North County Times Escondido, Californiahttp://www.villagehatshop.com/hat_etiquette.html)
In the early 1900’s no respectable lady was seen outside her home without a hat and a gentleman used his hat to greet, flirt and show respect to others. This resulted in, as Gary Warth stated, a propper topper protocol and even unique words, which were lost when wearing of hats became unfashionable about 40 years ago.
The words I liked most are these: A gentleman “dons” a hat when he leaves or “doffs” his hat to a lady ( tipps it slightly when meeting her.) These words are the contraction of the British words to do on meaning put on a hat and the words do off meaning take off or tilt your hat.
This brings me to the day when we donned and doffed hats untill they were old hat and discarded.
It was 1992 and my mother and father had to move out of the home where they had lived for 40 years.
We were commanded to come and sort out our childhood belongings which were still in the house, although both my sister and I have been married for a long time and had children of our own.
Early that morning we reported for duty. My two year old twins were the only grandchildren not yet in school and were thus part of the workforce.
After many hours of sorting, throwing out and deciding where each item should go, everyone was tired and bored with this tedious, but necessary task.
Then we came across the hatbox and all the old hats in the cupboard. My dad who was always the instigator of fun and mischief “donned “ a lady’s hat causing much laughter and comments. Not to be left out , all of us joined in and the sorting and packing became a Mad Hatter Teaparty.
Someone grabbed a camera and captured these very special family moments. I came across the photos when packing up my recently deceased parents’ house and was again reminded of the wonderful family life we enjoyed for many years.