Hats in the attic

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.


16 thoughts on “Hats in the attic

  1. Being the visual person I am, please post a picture or two of the lovely attic finds.

    My mother in law was very business like in her disposal of her mothers things when cleaning out the old homestead. I could have spent hours running my hands over old quilts, noticing what would have been old shirts and kids pjs, and reading newspaper clippings and admiring the lovely items a lady might have in the 40’s and 40s.

    I didn’t get to have such fun, but those hats in the attic…I bet there’s a story contained in those boxes.

  2. I scrimp on some things so I can splurge on others.

    Clothes are not a priority; I’m happiest in jeans or sweats. My high speed internet is.

    And music of course.

  3. I get it. I’d eat peanut butter for a month to help me afford a much loved book.

    Of course now a days we are eating beans several times a month to afford Parker.

    But he is sooo worth it too!

    Tammy and Parker

  4. That’s so neat! When they were high school age, my mom and some of her siblings has after-school jobs working for these sisters who were hatmakers. Talk about a lost art.

    (And that really sucks about the lilac!)

  5. Oh I am very envious! One of my secret fantasies has always been to go back in time to the “old west” and see what it was really like.

    Can you tell from the hats how old they are? Or how old the wearer may have been? What if they were all gifts to the woman from her husband who had to travel for business? Or, memories of trips they took together before he died…or…or…oh the fodder for such stories in and about that house and its inhabitants! Positively makes me salivate!

  6. It IS a mystery. I don’t know who she was, or what happpened here. The ranch was sold by a trust, to a trust. And before us, there was a temporary renter who chopped down a lilac and installed a satelite dish by drilling a great hole in one of the old logs. Before him, it was a bachelor rancher, I think, but I’m not sure.

    Never fear, I shall stay on the trail, until the mystery is solved! I feel like a female Sherlock Holmes (in a cowboy hat!)

  7. Fascinating, isn’t it? Will you tell us what happened to the family who lived in the house before you? It’s like a wonderful mystery. I really can’t wait to hear more.

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