Tucked away in the eaves of this 70-year-old log house we’ve taken on the job of making inhabitable are a half-dozen hat boxes, filled with vintage ladies’ hats.
Now I will tell you that in the basement is every glass jar this family ever used, saved in boxes. There is an old table, missing a leg, that I’m sure was a “project” that was never finished. There are pickles canned in mayonaise jars, jelly in recycled mustard jars. Boxes and boxes of saved baby food jars; three (3!) Speckleware canning pots on a shelf.
But. In the eaves above it all are the most beautiful hats I’ve ever seen. A delicate white straw summer hat with hand-sewn silk roses in reds and pinks and peaches. A blue felt fedora with a matching silk ribbon trailing from the hatband. And a black hat with two black feathers lifting into a perfect V, a dramatic, surprising exclamation point to any woman’s face.
Inside the hats are the labels: from hat-makers in Seattle, San Fransisco, Chicago, New York, even Paris.
I can’t make sense of the woman of this house, who saved bread bags and old furniture and scrimped on canning jars, but splurged on these hats, which are each of them, works of art.
Or maybe I can. Maybe she’s just like me.