There is something so amazing about some of the hats that I find. Maybe I am drawn to hats because my great-great-grandmother was a milliner. I’ve heard the story passed down from my mom and my grandmother that she used to make hats in a little shop near the railroad in High Springs, Florida. Years later when I started selling vintage clothing I asked my mom if I could see the hats again that she had in a storage box that I remembered seeing for years throughout my childhood. I remember seeing them as a little girl and trying them on and playing with the feathers on the hats. My mom confessed that she gave the hats to a donation center but still had the feathers and some of the pieces. Noooooooooooo! I think my heart stopped a beat but I was still happy to see that she had kept some of the items. To be able to touch and appreciate something my great grandmother made is incredible to me. If only I could have met this obviously vivacious woman who put cobalt blue, tiger & orange feathers in this headpiece. I don’t think I’ll ever sell these because they mean too much to me but oh, how I wish these feathers could talk.
Each and every time I go out vintage shopping and I see a facinator or a hat I stop to check the label. I am not even sure if she had labels in her hats but still I check. Her name was Martha “Mattie” Guy but back then people came up with other labels too so I know my chances are somewhat slim in finding one. I do remember some of the hats from memory but to be honest so many look alike that I don’t know if I did indeed find one that I would know for sure it was one of hers. I think I keep looking as a reminder to myself that she is still with me along my vintage journeys. I have never met the woman because she had passed long before I came along but I am sure we would have loved one another dearly.
By now a lot of the feathers from her supplies are brittle and falling apart so I don’t bring them out often. I keep them in a little clear case on a shelf in my office so I can look at them often and think of her working in her little shop. I think she would be happy to know that they are now surrounded by vintage garments, hats, and accessories and that I am keeping her dream alive by rescuing hats and sending them out into the world to be loved by others. I hope one day I can sit down and make a few hats from her supplies or at least add her curiously wild looking variety to another hat I find so I can keep her spirit alive in the world. Of coarse, that hat would have to stay with me!
Does anyone else have anything they inherited that brings them a little joy like my vintage feathers do? I’d love to hear your stories about those things that sit in closets, shelves or displays that remind you of your loved ones. And if you have any vintage hats in your closet please check the label for me for my grandmother’s name (Martha “Mattie” Guy). I’d love just to be able to see a picture of her hat and label. Thanks!