I bought this hat while visiting Mendocino, just as I bought the blue Parkhurst hat and the gray Parkhurst hat there. I don’t wear a lot of brown, but I make an exception for leopard print.
I took this cozy hat to Washington state when I visited my mother over Christmas. In this picture, I’m posing with a view of a wintry Mt. Rainier.
At my mom's house, I encountered pieces of my childhood everywhere—those bird ornaments that I unpacked and hung on the tree every year, those plates that witnessed so many family meals, that battered metal loaf pan that held so many batches of molasses oatmeal bread.
My husband found a leather sun visor in the bottom of the coat and hat closet. I recognized it immediately as one I had made during a junior high art class' leather working unit. How it ended up in Washington is a mystery—I suppose my parents must have boxed it up with all the other hats in the closet when they moved from California, years after I had my own apartment.
Why I decided to make a sun visor, out of all the leather choices I had, is no mystery, though. Even then, hats interested me. I remember stamping the visor with the acorn pattern and working to get the colors just right. I wore the visor a lot after I made it.
However, as for many people, for me seventh and eighth grades were a dark time. When I saw this visor, I did not want to wear a hat that reminded me of those years, however much I loved wearing it at the time. It seemed haunted by that girl with big glasses and acne and wavy-soled Earth Shoe knockoffs, who hid in the science room at lunch and wrote science fiction stories on college-ruled paper. I didn’t even try the visor on, just slipped it back into the closet after snapping a few photos.
As I’ve been working on this project, I’ve had to stare often at the photographed signs of aging—the crease between my eyebrows, the puffiness beneath my eyes, the multiplying strands of gray hair. Sometimes I succumb to vanity and photoshop some wrinkles out. But for all time’s depredations, I wouldn’t be thirteen again for anything. I’m quite happy to be wrinkled, in my fun leopard print hat, enjoying a beautiful day at my mom’s house.
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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.