I think it was the hats that finally clued me in.
I own thirteen hats, and as I walked to the yarn shop to obtain materials for the fourteenth hat, I brooded. More than that, I mused, I prayed, I meditated. On such subjects as simplicity, the significance of hats, and the wisdom or unwisdom of buying yarn for another hat.
And this is what I realized: the reason I have so many hats – the reason why I have trouble getting rid of any of these hats – is that they represent the people I could be.
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(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.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Or if that’s too hard a question to ask, the future being a far and mysterious place, who do you think you’ll look like?
I myself expect that when I get well and truly old I will look like Nanny Ogg, of whom it is said in Lords and Ladies that “time had left her with a body that could only be called comfortable and a face like Mr Grape the Happy Raisin.”
Except I hope to have a) more teeth and b) fewer husbands.