Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Millinery: WWLD?

WWLD...What Would Lucy Do?

Lucy being Lucille Ball, naturally. Now there's a key to solving many vexing enigmas: Merely imagine how Lucy would handle the situation, and follow her lead.

Things might get a tad crazy, but fun is bound to be had.

I learned about WWLD from a gal I'll call Jane. She was a vivacious red head, with a figure like a Barbie doll, and a bank account that made just about anything possible. Jane was a judge's widow. WWLD was her mantra. And at the time that I first met her, she was 80 years old.

It was she that popped for a dozen hats in New Orleans, taking in the millinery shops at a gallop that left us younger women breathless. That's what happens when you don't work out for two hours every morning like Jane does.

In New Orleans, Jane requested that veils be added to all the hats she purchased. Not that she need to hide anything. She was just fully aware of the effect that veils have on the opposite sex.

At eighty, she was still interested in that effect.

(Photo of my daughter Laura, another vivacious red head. For her, WWLD is What Would Laura Do. And IF you follow her version of WWLD, you WILL be in for some excitement.)

This hat is just the kind of hat Jane would wear to a Country Club event. Or to a party in the "Old Money" part of town. Just to liven things up a bit.

Myself, I haven't have many opportunities to wear this hat. I made it to wear to a Kentucky Derby party at the local race track, stitching dollars amongst the roses, just for the event. The dollars were removed soon afterwards.

Now once in a while I get in a blue mood, and as generations of hat wearing women can attest, millinery therapy can be quicker fix than a trip to the psychologist.

I was in exactly such a mood one day, when I decided I would wear this very hat to our local mall, mid week, mid morning. It cracked me up to see shoppers studiously keep their eyes forward as they passed me by. My mood was already lifting when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

Turning, I peered through my veil into the face of an elderly man. His face was a study of mixed emotions that puzzled me.

"I love your hat", he said.
Then he added plaintively, "Why don't women wear hats anymore?"
He stopped and stepped back just a bit.
Then he leaned forward, putting his face closer to mine.
"My wife used to wear hats with veils. She was so beautiful. She died a few years ago. I still miss her".

I got a lump in my throat. His eyes looked a bit misty.
"You sure look pretty. I'm glad to see a woman wearing a hat with a veil again".

I managed to murmur something of appreciation for the compliment and my condolences. We went on our separate ways, but his words haunted me for days.

The Houston Hat Net was gathering for an event a few weeks later. And as is our usual fashion, we shared experiences. Jane was standing next to me as I shared my encounter. Everyone was clearly touched by this tender story.

Jane, however, had a WWLD moment. Without missing a beat, she swooped up her handbag, and fixed me with a sharp look.

"Did you give him MY name and phone number?" she asked.

"Ah, um, noooo...I didn't have your number on me" I replied weakly.

Jane fished into her hand bag.

"Here. Here's my card. Take a bunch. Now the next time you run into a widower who admires your hat, for heaven sakes, GIVE HIM MY CARD!" Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

WWOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I made the blog!!!!! Woo-Hooo00000!!!!! And by the way, I DO look fabulous!!! We will have to do more photo shoots. I will make "Jane" look like the dull, lifeless bust she is. NO PERSONALITY!!! Love you mom!!!!

Anonymous said...

....and thank you for not listing my singleness and how much you are dying for me to produce grand-babies....husband first! Laura

Ladygrande said...

The hat is fabulous, of course! And looks fab on Laura......


Chun Liu said...

Great looking hats. What a wonderful thing to wear. It is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
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