Red Hat Society members escape the ordinary

Red Hat Society members escape the ordinary by Bob Karolevitz Phyllis belongs to the Red Hat Society.

That�s a group (if you�ll pardon the expression) of mid-life women who have acknowledged their ages and have given the old heave-ho to convention.

The society has no dues and no bylaws. The closest thing to an officer is the Queen Mom of each chapter. I don�t know how she gets elected because they don�t have a system for that.

I think they operate with Robert�s Rules of Disorder!

Actually the only rules to govern them are that there are no rules � except that all members must wear a red hat and something purple when they meet for one of their happy-go-lucky luncheons or for some other informal occasion.

It may be one of the fastest growing �disorganizations� in America, having been started in Fullerton, CA, not long ago. Today there are some 4,000 charted chapters in the U.S., with more coming every day.

Rapid City got the first unit in South Dakota, and a Yankton contingent � headed by Kay Jameson and Kathy Gerstner � formed the River City Red Hat Society, the initial one in East River. Now there are more than 30 in the state.

Ostensively, the gals have joined one another for the sole purpose of fun and frivolity � and to heck with fashion and the conventional.

Being sort of a rebel myself, I like that!

The idea behind the whole thing, as I understand it, is good-humored acceptance of the passing years and that �we are all in this together.� The concept has to do with (again, pardon the expression) of growing older and throwing normality to the wind. It is best captured in an anonymous missive which states:

�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 learn to spit�

According to another note (author unknown) Red Hat Society women will promise each other never to wear plastic rainbonnets or nylon knee-hi�s with a dress � although they sound like rules governing apparel which true members frown on.

Unfortunately, I suppose there�ll be some officious gals who will try to spoil a good thing. They�ll want to look pretty, have fancy teas and write a constitution. If that happens, the Red Hat Society would become just another club of which there are already too many.

Frankly, I hope they keep the silliness and the bizarre. We can all use some of each instead of the dull and commonplace.

It just seems to me that most women want to escape the ordinary, and this is their chance. That�s why the RHS keeps growing by leaps and bounds. (The don�t mind cliches either.)

They also are currently considering the kazoo as the official Red Hat Society instrument, and that speaks for itself.

Of course I don�t want Phyllis to get too carried away with that unconventional spirit. I�d hate to cook my own meals and wash my own clothes while she sits around in a purple dress or a chenille robe.

Incidentally, she�s already learned the words to the group�s marching song, which go:

Red hat, red hat,

Red Hat Society.

All my life I�ve done for you,

Now it�s my turn to do for me.

Red hat, red hat,

Red Hat Society.

I�m just as proud as I can be

In my purple dress and

Red, red hat.

The Red Hat Society!

� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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