I’ve added FALLING…because without it, you would immediately think of drinking and this blog is not about alcohol or anything harmful. There are so many other ways we can become influenced! And adding a touch of wisdom always spices up a story.

For starters, I thought I’d humor God today. I revealed to Him, my idea for this blog!

Commencing with the title. “Under The Influence!” Since I am not a candidate for the alcohol industry, He just howled! I begged for His ear and He listened! I love life and all the good things that make me happy and in return, put a smile on my fellow earthlings faces!  

God is well acquainted with His Universe’s sadness, turmoil and latest unrest! He, too, agreed that laughter and lightness would be a welcome change. Go for it, He commanded! I used my imagination and rummaged through my walk in- closet to find something pretty, colorful, old, different and interesting! Well, I did! My dazzling hat box! Why they call these circular hat carriers “boxes” is a mystery to me! All my hats are round and these particular hats are made from straw! Living in Florida denotes the material one wears!


My old hat box is designed with magnificent large flowers, like wallpaper, in and out! It’s vintage and just as lovely as the hats it holds. Perhaps, far more interesting! Like me, very vintage!

Under one’s hat lies a mystery and much history! So, hats do influence thinking but

for the better! Even though it’s Spring-time, the sun in S. Florida is fiery; therefore straw hats prevail! My hats seem to stir and create an outer effect on others; they put a smile on their faces! And I approve! Hats are for any age. Also, hats are a great way to hide a bad hair-do! I’m sure many women, during this confinement time, agree!  Maybe, some men as well!

The point is I needed a cheer-up feeling on this particular May, gray morning. I can usually entertain myself with a good book, writing, poetry, listening to my favorite music and singers, praying or just sitting outdoors and being a part of the universe and absorbing all of  the colors and sounds. My hat box was perfect. Quaint, colorful, in and out, with huge floral impressions. Even the ‘box’ alone makes one feel light hearted!

After opening my elaborate ‘hat box’ and touching each hat, a torrent of yesterday’s memories

flooded through my brain. When I was sixteen I worked, part-time, in a hat factory located on Irving Street In Port Chester, NY. I was surrounded by older women from all walks of life. In summer we worked on winter hats; wool and trimmings of velvet. In winter, we worked on straw hats! Always preparing for the following season. What I remember vividly is how much it hurt my fingers sewing on all those fancy bands and flowers. Hard straw is not easy to work with! Hats, then, took on a new meaning for me. In those days, we wore our hats to Sunday Mass as an expression of our faith!  Which was a must! Ironic, isn’t it? With each new season comes change. Some, we are not prepared for! Especially now! A very quick moving and killing’ flu’ season. Topped with universal unrest in our people.

The first person who comes to mind when I think about hats is Queen Elizabeth! Each of her hats are magnificent and she dons them so well! Her highly stylish colorful hats and outfits always grab my attention. To me, she is the icon of hats!  

Hats, throughout history, have been and still are a means of identification. For example, a person in uniform; nurses, police or firemen. Our women and men in our services, sports, and many famous award winning movies, the “hat”  has played as big of a role as the story itself!  One such example, The Wizard of Oz featuring Margaret Hamilton.

“Somedays you just have to put on the hat to remind them who they are dealing with.”

Margaret Hamilton

Throughout history, the ‘hat’ has a dominant reason for existing. Dr Suess’ A Cat in the Hat

has its place in libraries and children’s book shelves the world over. If you look carefully and

listen with a third ear, my hat, your hat, or hats, in general, have a story to tell. And always

worth reading or listening to. Oftentimes, especially for me, a hat carries history. Have you ever asked yourself, why men no longer wear hats?  Three reasons; changes in transportation, hygiene, and after the wars ended  and our servicemen returned home, they preferred not to wear a hat. The day of the hat is back!  Let’s not forget the parade of hats that

are displayed at our Kentucky Derby! Which do you view first, the hat or the horse?

So, on this particular day, I gave me and my ‘hats’ freedom to be just what they represent! Beauty, love and understanding the right to be free!  

Exotic fine straw hats, blowing in the wind.  “I love the drama of a hat” Phillip Bloch  

What are your thoughts about the ‘hat’ now? I hope my brief history of hats has painted a  bright hue for your day and these many days of shut-in! My hats have swept away my blue Monday but so many will never get the chance to know a blue day. It is to them that I take my hat off! Those that have fallen to this virus and unrest. I’ll always remember the importance of the word vintage. To all who don the hats that identify you, as true healers, God Bless, and thank you. So, if you are a wearer of hats, wear your chapeaux with pride! You might just turn a frown into a smile.  

Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.

Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!

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