Ellen sent me an email back in February:
My parents have always helped older widows/spinsters in their Russian Baptist church who had no one else to care for them. My dad was in charge of the estate of 2 older spinster sisters who just recently died.
I have a few of their hats that I saved from the trash heap and was wondering if you'd like me to send them to you. You can do whatever you want with them including getting rid of them if you want :0)
Seeing how you are the one person I know who is very much into hats I wanted to offer them to you free with no obligations...
When I get back to Seattle I'll mail them off.
The little Spinsters (and they were little) were Russian Baptists. I saw these sisters every Sunday at Bethany Baptist Church in Los Angeles. They wore hats every Sunday. They both had sweet smiles for all of us young people.
One of the sisters was born with a Club foot, Nina. The younger sister, Nezzy had a young man interested in her and he wanted to court her but Nezzy's Father said no because he wanted her to be around to care for him, his wife and her older sister they considered was a cripple because of her Club foot. Yikes! I can't imagine how one deals with that but she did and she cared for her sister till she couldn't anymore.
Nina and Nezzy's mom died first and then several years later the dad died. Nezzy died before her older sister Nina in 2006. Nina died in 2007.
The family was Polish but they ended up in Russia and were educated in Russian Schools.
During the war they ended up in Deportation camps in Germany and after the war they immigrated to the U.S.A. to the Los Angeles area.
Nina and Nezzy's parents worked cleaning offices in the Los Angeles area.
Nezzy worked in a Card and Gift shop.
Nina never worked.
They drove some cool old Plymouths!
That's what I know...ellen
I wrote Ellen:
Oh those hats have arrived and they are just FABULOUS! I've had a ball trying on the 23" ones as that is my own hat size.
I'm sharing her story via her hat.
One of my favorite things about hats: they often come with a story about an interesting woman.
I can't help but notice that interesting women in every era seem inclined towards hat wearing.
Sometimes I wish that hats could talk.
Thanks to Ellen, today these hats do.
And since Nina and Nezzy were both believers, I suppose one day I will be able to chat with them about their hats in person.
Wonder if there will be hats in heaven? If there are...will they all be white?
(PS: Several of the hats, including the one I was modeling, had the label "Valerie Modes", a hat manufacturer who mass marketed hats between 193--1960's. Google the name, and you can see other hats by Valerie. If you are thinking of venturing into vintage hat wearing, this is a label that is well worth exploring.)