A few years back some lady friends of mine went out to Laughlin, NV, to vacation and came back all excited about Red Hat Ladies and how we all should put on the purple shirts they brought back for us and don red hats of our own choosing and join the ranks of the Red Hat Society....so we did.
There were seven of us, all long-time friends close to the same age and willing to look a little silly out in public for the sake of sharing fun times together. We even joined the national society and gave ourselves a name, The Red Hot Hatters, if I remember correctly.
Over the next few years we attended several musicals and plays, ate in good restaurants, toured the Molly Brown House in Denver, and painted ceramic frogs, owls, and tea pots. We wore those red hats and purple shirts at each gathering but after the novelty wore off a few of the ladies admitted they felt conspicuous and a bit silly wearing hats of any kind so we stopped wearing them. I was disappointed but knew it was more important to continue to meet as a group of friends than to wear silly red hats.
Looking back on that time when I was a Red Hat Lady I'm so glad we did that, thankful to the ladies who brought those shirts back from Laughlin, and pleased that most of us still get together occasionally for a good time. I'm also grateful to Jenny Joseph whose poem "Warning" provided the philosophy behind the Red Hat movement. The first two lines of the poem read "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me." But, truthfully, my friends and I found it difficult to kick over the traces as Jenny Joseph suggests. I know I am not "making up for the sobriety of my youth", or "picking other people's flowers", or "learning to spit." But inside of me I feel more free, less self-conscious when I go to town in my crocs using a walking stick for support. I like to think being a Red Hat Lady did that for me.