My obsession with hats by (4 Stories)

Prompted By Hats

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I am the proud owner of many a hat.
There is something to wear for wherever I’m at.
A hat for the summer,
A hat for the fall,
A hat for nary a reason at all.
I have one with big bows and one with a feather.
There is one I can wear when there’s inclement weather.
A hat made of rhinestones,
A hat made of fur,
A black one, a white one, and a red one for sure.
I’m told that I am quite a vision in hats,
And I am not too shy to agree about that.
Hats for excursions,
And some just for play,
My hat is my crown, and I like it that way.
        By Pamela J. Randolph

I can’t believe I sold this

I would eagerly marry into the British royal family just so I could wear hats.  I’ve always swooned over them, but I could never wear them because of my glasses.  No matter how many different styles I tried on, none of them ever looked right.  To my great disappointment, the glasses just ruined the effect.

Then around 20 years ago, I had lasik surgery to correct my vision, but it was badly botched.  Very badly botched.  At the time, I was on my way to becoming a professional travel and nature photographer, so this was a devastating development and caused me to sink into a severe depression.  The only compensation was that while my vision was not good enough to tell if my 35mm slides were sharp, I no longer needed glasses for distance.   Eventually I told myself that even if I couldn’t see well, I could at least look good.  So to cheer myself up, I bought a bunch of hats.  Glorious hats.  I even had a few chances to wear them although ladies in hats were not common in Toronto.

My favorite – sold also

I’m very far from being religious, but I seriously considered moving to the South and joining one of the African-American congregations famous for ladies wearing “church hats”.  I think I would have fit right in.  The book Crowns is a marvelous celebration of these ladies and their (multiple) hats.
I would eagerly marry into the British royal family just so I could wear hats.


Fast forward to 2019 when we prepared to move to Mexico and had to downsize our possessions.  I sold or gave away most of my nice shoes and, I’m sad to say, a number of my more elaborate hats.  A church-going lady in Toronto bought several of them.  I never dreamed I would have any use for them in Mexico, but now I’m kicking myself for getting rid of them.  Because of Covid-19, our wonderful classical music organization has been holding its concerts outdoors during the afternoon, and it has been warm and sunny.  A perfect opportunity to wear fancy hats.  I’m very glad I kept a few of them, and I’ve been delighted to show them off to my fellow concert-goers.


Profile photo of Cynthia Blanton Cynthia Blanton
Walter Johnson HS, Harvard undergrad, Harvard MBA, corporate strategy consultant, bank VP, jewelry designer, photographer, retired. Lived on a farm in Oklahoma; Granada Hills, CA; Bethesda, MD; Cambridge and Boston area; San Francisco and Bay Area; Incline Village, NV at Lake Tahoe; Westport, CT; Pelham Manor, NY; Toronto and Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and now I live in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico! (In my photo, I am dressed for a Great Gatsby party)

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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    I love the pictures of you in your hats, but the one in the featured image is beautiful. Wish I looked good in hats like those.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Well, Cynthia, you certainly look great in hats now — and those hats are real beauties, too. And I seriously doubt that glasses would somehow lessen the presentation, though I do understand the self-consciousness that they bring (the glasses, that is.)

    I am beginning to appreciate the lifetime love many women have for hats by reading the stories on this prompt. The Pamela J. Randolph poem you include nicely amplifies this and I now see that Ms. Randolph, the “Arizona Poet Lady,” has written several other lovely paeans to hats. I also love the idea of “church hats” that you discuss and was reminded of them last July watching the services for Rep. John Lewis.

    I trust you will bring and model several of your more favorite chapeaux at our class get together in ’22.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    What FABULOUS hats, Cynthia! Oh my goodness! And in the photos you’ve provided, you really carry them off! You could go to Royal Ascot any day! Those are gorgeous creations. The only terrific hat that I own was the one in my Featured photo. I didn’t even bother to take it out of its hat box this past season, since, with the pandemic, we hardly went anywhere. Thanks for showing us what true artistry is all about, where hats are concerned.

    • Thanks, Betsy. The pandemic took a long time to get to San Miguel, so we were able to go to outdoor events and concerts until recently. Sadly, the outdoor concerts where I was wearing my hats have been cancelled for now. We can still go to restaurants because with the wonderful weather here, most restaurants have outdoor courtyards or rooftop eating areas and everyone is observing safety precautions.

  4. Marian says:

    This is wonderful, Cynthia, and I totally concur with everything you wrote. Love the poem, too!

  5. Suzy says:

    Cynthia, I can’t begin to tell you how much I love your story! I totally agree about marrying into the British royal family just for the hats. Prince Charles was just the right age to fantasize about when we were young, though I don’t think it would have worked out with him despite the hats.

    The hats in your pictures are so amazing, I am coveting all of them. I would have bought every one if I had been in Toronto with you. How great that you now have outdoor concerts where you can wear the ones you kept. They do look fabulous on you!

    Now I’m feeling an urge to go out hat-shopping. I guess I will have to wait until the pandemic is over, but not a minute longer!

  6. Wow, your life trajectory prepared you well for this prompt. You’ve got the hats, and even the books to prove it! INteresting–given the photo you show on your bio–to think about where “headbands” fit in within the hat matrix.’

  7. Wow Cynthia, so glad to meet such a well-travelled and adventurous gal and see some of her fabulous hats!

    I know the book Crowns, and such fun to see how you referenced it. Looking forward to reading more of your life stories on Retro!

  8. Risa Nye says:

    Love all the hats! It takes a certain person to carry them off, and you are one of those people! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the story. It’s wonderful that your hats are enjoying a second life!

  9. You do carry off the hats beautifully, Cynthia! I also love “church hats,” and that book is a marvel. Although I wasn’t able to see any previews via Amazon, I was able to see quite a few pages thru Barnes & Noble. Now those are hats!

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