Friday, July 27, 2007

Red Hat and Purple Dress

Image from Red Hat Shopping.

Here's a little something for your Saturday morning pleasure.

Sometimes when I'd think (with no small regret) about getting old, T. S. Eliot's words from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" would come to mind:

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

But those words never really satisfied me, because I wanted something more appropriate to an aging woman. I've been searching, and I've found it!

From "Warning" by Jenny Joseph:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

Suits me better than Eliot, don't you think?


  1. Grandmère Mimi, this has been one of my favorite poems for years, and I finally grew into it. Hah! Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor. Of course She does!

  2. When I turned 30, my best friend and my ex threw me a surprise birthday party. They made me dress up like the woman in your photo and do a dramatic reading of the poem.

    It was funny at the time, but now---nearly 14 years later---I look back on it and think "What idiot EVER thought that 30 was old?!?!?!" ;-)

  3. Doxy,

    perhaps the same that thinks (doing the math) that 43 is getting old: a thought from Mr. 62 on Monday.

    And anyone who looks like that (and don't try to hide it with a joke, Mimi; we ALL know that's the real you) has NO business trying to pull age on anyone at all. "Age cannot wither..."

    I feel relatively safe in the absence of photographic evidence, and am attempting to keep it that way.

  4. Doxy, they were mean.

    So y'all like how I look, even if my hat and dress don't match. Well, thank you.

  5. When I hit sixty I got a t-shirt with lettering adapted from on a running gag on a 60's British radio comedy. It reads "Over-Sixties Nudist Leapfrog Team".

  6. Oooh, Lapin, do folks give you dirty looks when you wear it?

  7. Disgusted, more like. Lots of folks want to take my photograph when I wear it to street fairs and the like - I'm agreeable on condition that it does not show up on the front page of the local newspaper.

    I alternate it with this shirt -

  8. oooooo! Lapin, I want one! In pink, I think, or maybe a nice lavender. Maybe sleeveless: heh.

  9. ooops, missed the body of a god link; OK, two shirts.

  10. Not the justly infamous Goon show, was it? Did that run into the Sixties; I didn't think it did.

  11. So now y'all are buyin' and sellin' t-shirts on my site. I want my percentage, ya know.

    Not that I want to discourage potential purchasers, but I don't think I'll be buying any of these for Grandpère.

  12. I've always loved this poem, too...(late to the conversation tho I am...)
    I'm trying hard to think of the riskiest t-shirt I have ever dared to wear...

  13. "Round the Horne". It's currently in rerun on BBC Radio 7. Just click the appropriate "listen again" button and if you have a fast internet carrier it should come right up.

    Mimi, I've emailed this photograph to MP, but I just can't control myself -

    Don't you love that tail? Always knew it!

  14. I bought one from that I wear only in the house when I row: WTFWJD.

    I can't quite see wearing it when I am out gardening. Not. But I do wear other shirts like,

    The Episcopal Church Welcomes You...
    the Anglican Communion not so much


    MDGs -- the real Instruments of Communion

    and so forth.

  15. ps "Round the Horne", which featured Kenneth Williams, was the first BBC show to feature heavy duty "camping" - "Are You Being Served" couldn't hold a candle to it. Even today amazing to the ears of a US resident. Check "Julian & Sandy", a weekly regular, about 2/3 through this show. The nudist leapfrog team ("over 80's in reality!) is in the opening segment.

  16. As I said, I generally don't do bumper stickers, but now my car is sporting a "BRING THEM HOME" sticker. Likewise, I don't generally do message t-shirts, but since I've broken my bumper sticker custom, you never know. It could happen.

    Diane, risky t-shirts! What's my blog coming to?

    Caminante, about your first-mentioned shirt - naughty, naughty, but I like it.

    Lapin, the tail in the picture is something else. I suppose that the hat hides the things on his head. But I must say that I adore the lace - so delicate and beautiful.

    I'll give a listen to "Round the Horne" later.

  17. Caminante, where can I get your welcoming teeshirt? I need to wear it to our next dio. convention.

  18. Many of my friends and my sil belong to Red Hat Societies. It has been a godsend for an elderly friend who loves to laugh.

    Meanwhile there are wonderful tees at And of course CafePress. I bought "Neither death, nor life, not angels, nor Bishops, nor the Anglican communion can separate us from the love of Christ, Episcopal Church USA". I wear it on special church occasions.

    I have many tees that I don't wear. Among my favorites are one from the royal wedding with Charles and Diana in bed, one that looks like a wet tee (I'm not that well endowed) and one from when Menotti left the Charleston Spoleto Festival. I don't remember what it says because it is locked away.

  19. Muthuh+, go to and there should be an ad for them (cafepress) on the left sidebar.

  20. But red hats go perfectly well with purple dresses!


  21. Kate, I guess you're not old enough to know that a red hat and a purple dress don't go together - at least, on women of a certain age. You will know. ;o)

  22. Love the Red Hat it.

    Wish we could learn to do it before we get old though.

  23. Eileen, here's a bit of advice from an older woman. Just do it!

  24. There's a Red Hat group that's very active in my community -- I frequently see them in their red hats and purple dresses or 'Red Hat' t-shirts. I decided I would join them. I think I'm just about old enough, now!

  25. Pat, I just found out this morning that there is a Red Hat group here in town. If I were a joiner, I would consider it. The only group that I belong to is my church.

  26. I've always had odd opinions on what goes with what, Grandmère; I remember in fifth grade asking the teacher (surely the highest authority on such things!) to adjudicate a dispute between me and a fellow student. I held firmly the opinion that green and purple could be worn together; my fellow disputant claimed that this was nonsense.

    The teacher (a man in his forties, the sort who wears slacks and one of five plaid button-down shirts to school every day) was, in hindsight, clearly out of his depth. And more so than we could possibly have recognized -- he begged out of a decision, as he was colourblind.

    A wise decision, colourblindness aside; the learned man does not get between two women in a quarrel such as this, even miniature ones. I still think green and purple look good together, though. Perhaps taste will come with age, but it hasn't come with anything else yet. I can but hope.

  27. Kate, purple and green go very well together around here at Mardi Gras time. Just throw in some gold and the match is perfect.

    So you asked your fifth grade male teacher about color coordination. I asked my fifth grade teacher - a nun - where babies came from. I said, "I know they come from the hospital, but where are they before that?" She told me she would talk to me about that later.

    We just did not discuss these things in my home. We were told pregnant women had "tumors". I am not kidding about this. I was that clueless about the birds and the bees in the fifth grade.

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  29. She might have put you off but at least she wasn't making things up -- tumors! Really!

    Whereas, me, I was so disturbed at the concept of sex when it was explained to me (at age six or so, in age-appropriate terms of course, or at least what's considered that these days) I declared that I would have nothing to do with it. I recall my mother smirking, and I hadn't the faintest idea why...

  30. Kate, the nun did make things up later. She spoke of God putting a box in the heart of every woman, and then told me to ask my mother to tell me the rest. My mother never told me, but I never asked either. I found out from my friends, by listening and pretending I knew more than I did.

    The adults were so very creative.

  31. I don't know how we got from red hats and purple dresses to pregnant women - except maybe that's what happened to the kind of women who wore red hats and purple dresses some years ago - that and STDs.

    My original comment was going to be that I have a purple hat - ancient, soft, felt, that I wear when I am on the treadmill. It makes me feel young. And, a picture of me at age 10 in a red cowboy hat.

    What's the world coming to?

  32. Sharecropper, a purple felt hat on the treadmill? Oh, please post a picture. Since it makes you feel young, do you go longer on the treadmill when you wear your purple hat?

    I don't know how we got from there to here either. I'm feeling a little silly today.


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