Today is my Mom’s 90th birthday and I’ve spent the day thinking and laughing about some of my memories. Mom was a Katie Gibbs graduate, a hat and gloves kind of lady. She could also swing a hammer, run like the wind with her long braids flying out behind her and had more stamina than anyone I knew. When she was 8 months pregnant with me she took a bus from New York City to Mississippi to see my father before he shipped out. It was a trip of several days, standing room only and with her long coat no one knew she was pregnant until 40 miles from the fort. Then everyone jumped up to give her a seat, but she gave it to an elderly woman instead.
We never knew what prompted the Blue Hat days but we’d pull up on the school bus and all the venetian blinds would be up, the windows open and Mom would be at the front door to welcome us home…wearing the Blue Hat. Metaphorically and literally the Blue Hat meant we were cleaning house; from top-to-bottom, from clothes closets to bookshelves, from refrigerator to moving the piano and more. Which job would we get? Cross your fingers and get to clean the refrigerator or dust the books and shelves. Those were the neat and nifty jobs for me. Not so hot was cleaning the drip pans from under the stove with those funny Brillo pads. Through the next few days Mom was never without that Blue Hat. Once we got the idea to hide it on her. That didn’t work out very well. for us.
When the house was bright and shiny the Blue Hat would disappear until next time. Then we were free to run and play, read, do whatever kept us busy and happy. I never knew what happened to the Blue Hat although I suspect somehow that she still wears it.
I think my siblings and I have our own Blue Hat days – those days that you take a look around and see what needs to be cleaned or tidied up whether it’s the house or a sprucing up of your soul. I think Mom would like that.Harriet Bell MacDonald Lenski July 4, 1921-April 4, 1988