Talking out of My Hat

As predicted in last week’s blog, I got my Dickens copy to the Sun Journal editor on time.  It ran almost as delivered, with just a few editorial improvements.  The finished piece was artfully embellished by senior designer Heather McCarthy’s work.  McCarthy’s additions are like the glaze on a donut hole from the Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth.  Just enough sugary sweetness sinks into the fresh fried donut hole, but not enough to rattle the metal fillings in your mouth.  I never see McCarthy’s work until the paper arrives, so it’s always a fun surprise.

I am still reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of the great writer man and I recently ordered Jenny Hartley’s Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women in preparation for the Pickwick Club’s April 28 meeting.  The Pickwickians will discuss the latter book and although I have never been a “book club person,” the reading schedule is manageable and not overwhelming.  What do I have to lose?

Today, I’m chasing another story idea.  It’s due on March 26, a feature or “front” for the Sun Journal’s Sunday “b Section.”  I’ve promised Mogensen something on Easter bonnets.

Since the due date is still 12 days out, the story currently rests in a loose outline in my mind.  I’ve written a letter to my friend Sherry about it.  Another good friend in California found some archival images of Lewiston churchgoers in Easter finery.  I’ve got a line out to the Androscoggin Historical Society, looking for some information about Star Millinery, formerly located at 234 Lisbon Street and Vida’s Hat Shop, location unknown.  My mother is scribbling her recollections.  I’ve found an expert milliner to interview and a local woman who still wears hats.

And here’s an ad for Zelia Robie-Roy, “chapeaux de distinction” formerly located at 173 Lisbon Street.

I love hats.

Not the kind of hats women wear for political demonstrations, virtue signaling, elderly clubbing, or any other type of theatrical presentation.  And no odes to Auntie Mame, either.


In Gotham, the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy hosts the Frederick Law Olmstead Awards, more affectionately called “The Hat Lunch.”  It’s a major fundraiser and everyone wears hats.  Some are campy, but many are breathtakingly beautiful.

You can read more about it here.

We can’t forget the Royals, either, who still wear hats from time to time.

So you see, there’s a lot of ground to turn over in the next 12 days.  Right now, though, it’s time to don an old knit hat and head out to turn over the snow from yesterday’s storm.

Here’s a hat song to enjoy this fine Wednesday.

“Fare thee well, cold winter!”

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