At last - here we are in 2018! So, what do you get when you subtract 1998 from 2018? 20 YEARS! I know - we’ve already mentioned this about 100 times, but, in case you’ve been living in a cave, I will mention it again: 2018 marks the twentieth year the Red Hat Society has been in existence. And we think that’s a milestone to be acknowledged with a capital “A!” If we’re being exact, the precise date that marks 20 years to the day from the first five-woman gathering (that very rapidly became the Red Hat Society) is April 25. That will certainly make this April 25, an extremely special birthday. But this year we consider what we call “Red Hat Society Day” as a high-spirited warm-up, because we plan to celebrate all year, in all kinds of ways - and we are delighted to do it!
The biggest birthday party in our history will take place this August in New Orleans! This city really knows how to party, as you know, and it’s also widely known by its nickname - the QUEEN city. Where could we possibly go that would be more appropriate? If you have never made it to one of our international conventions, this is the one! Judging by the number of Hatters who have already secured their reservations, this is definitely going to sell out; so, if you’re thinking about coming, please get yours as soon as you can.
Whenever a person or (dis)organization reaches a landmark point in its history there are two natural responses:
I have been indulging in both responses and both bring feelings of deep satisfaction and joy. The future looks exciting - but it’s impossible to know with certainty what lies ahead. The past is so full of beautiful memories that there would be no way of enumerating them all. Here are three of my personal favorites, just off the top of my head:
At one of our Nashville conventions, one Pinkie wore a highly elaborate Dolly Parton get-up. What bystanders thought of her can only be imagined. But when I approached her with curious interest she told me that, in “real life” she was an Air Force colonel, and had just returned from a second tour in Iraq. In her words, “I really needed this!” So, she had dubbed herself Queen of a Chapter (“The Bubble Butt Brigade”) and gotten herself to Nashville in a sexy gown topped by an enormous pink hat.
At a Texas convention, I was returning to the bleachers from the restroom when a Red Hatter approached and asked if she could have a moment. She threw her arms around me and, through tears, told me that she had lost her 27-year-old son earlier that year and that - without the love and support of her Chapterettes and the RHS in general - she would have been unable to go on living.
While on a train trip to one of our Hoots, a quiet woman (in her Red Hat) confided that she had been suffering from agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house) for years - but she SO wanted to be a part of the RHS that she had found the courage to join us that day - and she planned to keep coming.
It is not a stretch to say that stories like these are countless, and there have to be a great many of them that haven’t reached the ears of Hatquarters. Could you please share a story or two of your own, either on our website or on social media? I have no doubt that a great many Hatters’ hearts will be warmed just by hearing them.
Sue Ellen Cooper