A few years ago, I moved from the Bay Area. It was a hard move for me; I’d lived my whole life in the East Bay and the Peninsula. I had family there, lifelong friends. My husband and I moved to a town where we knew no one beyond our real estate agent. We endured some struggles getting through escrow (what do you mean, the showers only have lukewarm water? How could you repair the garage wall in such a way that the garage door won’t close?). After moving in, the first time it rained, our new roof leaked, and whenever we ran our microwave, a fuse blew.
All of these problems had easy fixes, but dealing with them made me feel even more uncertain that we had made the right change.
Within a week of my move, still up to our eyebrows in boxes, we showed up at the first rehearsal of a local community chorus. Unlike my last chorus, this one did not require an audition, just a voice check. I wasn’t nervous (or not very) when the director took me through scales to find out my range.
But one element was the same in both choruses: the friendliness of the group. The singers in this chorus were so uniformly welcoming that for the first time since the move, I felt like I had found my place, my people.
Recently, another alto, Lee, came up to me at rehearsal with a grocery bag. It contained a red hat that was too small for her. Would I be interested in it? Of course I would!
The hat worked well for winter trips to the farmer’s market, when my usual straw sun hat wouldn’t be warm enough or suited to potentially damp weather. So here I am, wearing the red floppy hat on a drizzly farmer’s market day.
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and nonfiction and collects hats. In this blog she vows to wear (not just model, but wear out of the house) every one of her hats, blogging about their histories and their meanings for her.