Hat Blew Off and Almost Landed in a Mud Puddle

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, December 14, 1913:  Went to Sunday School this morning. My nice new hat blew off. By good fortune it didn’t land in a mud puddle, but on the grass. Came back and pinned it on for I hadn’t gone very far. Mother doesn’t know it.


Grandma probably used a hat pin similar to this one when she pinned her hat on after the near catastrophe.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Whew, thank goodness it didn’t fall into the mud puddle.

It’s probably the hat that Grandma bought on November 15, 1913:

 . . . I went to Milton this morning on a shopping tour. I got the daintiest hat I’ve ever had for a while. It is black velvet, trimmed with old rose ribbon and pink velvet flowers.

Sometimes I wish that I was an artist. Somehow the picture I used to illustrate this diary entry seems particularly lame when the descriptions were so vivid.

I can picture it in my mind—the beautiful black velvet hat trimmed with ribbons and flowers, the expression of horror on Grandma’s face as a gust of wind tore the hat from her head (and then the look of relief when it landed in the grass), ominous black clouds, the trees with bare branches (and Grandma’s coat and skirts) blowing in the wind. . .

24 Responses

  1. I remember my own Grandma having a very similar hat pin. I had forgotten all about it. Thanks for stirring that lovely memory.

  2. Hat pins always look both beautiful and dangerous!

  3. I have the pins twin. Mine was used to pin shawls. Perhaps Grandma had the same problem I have, my head is too small for most hats!

  4. Between Helena’s words and your vivid description, I can just see all this in my mind’s eye!

  5. Hmmm…my grandmother used to have her mother’s hat pins on her dresser…I wonder if she still has them somewhere? They fascinated me as a child – I couldn’t quite figure out how one would pin at hat on without pain and blood ;)

    • You put the hat pin through the hat and your hair — then back through the hat. I do stab myself sometimes by accident. It was the kind of thing your lady’s maid should do for you! I don’t understand why hat pins have all but disappeared when they are so useful. We still have windy days and I still wear a sunhat to protect my skin — more than ever actually. But even the hat store near me barely sold any!

  6. Like you, I’m not an artist. But you painted the picture perfectly with your words! I just know it was a beautiful little hat.

  7. I agree with Dianna here, you painted it so well, but someone with an artistic mind would surely have fun illustrating these posts. It’s wonderful to read this blog!

  8. Another wonderful post. Hat pins bring lots back to me about my Grandmother.

  9. My mom tells a great hat story of her time in NYC when she first immigrated from Ireland. Walking in the city with a cousin, my mom’s hat kept blowing off and gentlemen helped her retrieve it a few times during the day. The way she talks about it makes it sound like she and her cousin had a great time getting all the attention.

  10. They used them at least through the 40s because my Mom had one similar to the picture. I always thought they were so pretty.

  11. I’m struck with how valuable their possessions were. I remember this even from my childhood; the instruction to take care of our shoes, clothes, etc. Now a days people have many of hats, shoes, coats and if something falls in the mud – whatever…

  12. Helena’s mother likely would have given her a lecture about making sure the hat was pinned properly. Don’t worry, I will not tell your mother about the hat incident. I’m glad it didn’t fall in a mud puddle.

  13. My grandmother also wore hats and I remember her hats pins.

  14. Hats are coming back! My teenage grandgirl just bought a red beret to be worn slightly back on the head. A good wind would definitely whip it off.

  15. Nobody I know wears hats, unless you count Chicago Bears pullovers.

  16. Hi Sheryl. I have my mother’s hats saved in hat boxes. I remember her wearing them in church. Jane

  17. I collect antiques. Have a few hat pins and a hat pin holder. The hat pin you posted with the pearl is lovely!

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