Saturday, 9 January 2010
When I lived in bed-sit land in Balham in the late 1960s my treat of the week was gathering my laundry together on my Monday day off from hairdressing, as I didn't have a washing machine, getting the train to Croydon and meeting my Mum at West Croydon station at eleven, leaving my laundry in her original Mini ready to be laundered and dried at her home and we'd go to the Lyons Cafe, eat an iced bun with a milky coffee and then we'd Go Shopping. But this was no ordinary shopping. It was Trying On Hats in C & A Shopping. We did this every single Monday for years. We did this when I got married and then pregnant with my daughter. We did it when my daughter was in a pushchair (not called Buggies then) We did it together when my daughter was pregnant with her first child but in Tunbridge Wells, not Croydon. We did it because it was the funniest shared time we had together as Mother and Daughter and then as Grandmother, Mother and Daughter and the Great-Grandson safe in my daughter's womb.
We tried on every hat in the store. I loved wearing hats then and I still do but Mum never though they suited her. I have a large head, my Mum had a tiny head and my daughter is somewhere inbetween. So a hat that fitted me would slip down over my Mum's eyes, hit her nose and drown her so we would cry with laughter at her image in the mirror. My daughter pulled funny faces and made sure her ears stuck out when she tried a hat on so by this stage we were rolling on the floor knicker wetting with laughter.
After an hour of this we sensed the sales assistants were watching us. Quite rightly because we had made a mess of their orderly hat display. We were obvious time-wasters. My concience would kick-in and I knew I had to buy a hat whether I wanted to or not. No chance of Mum or Daughter buying one. I've kept all of these hats. They are stored in chests, black sacks, ottomans. I have panamas, berets. cloches, fedoras, straw hats, sequined, trilbys, waterproof, fur, animal print, fascinators but I've never bought a Funeral Hat.
My dear Mum passed at four o'clock 8th January 2010 aged eight-nine.
I spent this morning searching on eBay and found and then bought my first Funeral Hat, pictured above, as a tribute to wonderful shared memories of Hat Shopping with my dear Mum. We shared many other things together. Our relationship with Hats represents our relationship as Mother and Daughter and then Grandaughter.
Mum loved to laugh and I imagine if she could see me in this Hat at her own funeral her eyes would crease then twinkle, tears of laughter would form, she'd ask me if she could try it on and - the result would be historic.