Twenty-five years ago, a friend of mine named Michelle bought me a plaid wool hat with a faux sherpa lining and earflaps, for which the whole thing stays put with shoestrings. She bought the hat as a joke, thinking I would never, ever wear such an ugly, ugly hat. She purchased the hat at an outlet store in Birch Run, MI called John Henry (which I do not think is open in this location anymore). I guess the gift was a “going away to college” gift for me? I really don’t remember.
Well? The joke was on her! Because not only did I wear that hat on cold winter days in 1994 when I was a student at Central Michigan University, and walked to classes – but I STILL wear it now! Back when I was a student, there were some very brutal winter days of walking to class, over wide open areas unshielded from winds. Fast forward to today, the area in which I live is expected to have temperatures dip into negative integers over the next couple of days…we’re talking NEGATIVE DOUBLE DIGITS, when windchill is accounted for (up to negative 40). Needless to say, I’ll be skipping outdoor walks the next couple of days, and will be taking indoor walks while temperatures are this brutal. I’m a pretty tough “cookie” when it comes to the cold, but I ain’t risking frostbite – and my life! I only hope my car can take the punishment (I’m actually a bit worried…my car hasn’t seen the likes of temperatures like these). It’s staying in the garage until it absolutely HAS to come out of there.
I’ve had to make a couple of “repairs” to the hat since then – reattaching the shoestring to the earflap. But it has remained an essential wardrobe piece, especially when it’s really, really cold. I’ve even tried out other hats since I got this hat, and I like this one the best of them all. And this might be worth noting – it was made in the U.S.A!
Here are some photos of me in “the ugly hat” from over the years – there are four ways to wear the hat – front facing with earflaps up, rear facing with the earflaps up, front facing with the earflaps down, and rear facing with the earflaps down. It’s versatile! It’s ugly, there are spots of wool that have been bleached by the sun from sitting in the car, and nobody is likely to steal it (except maybe a random hipster)…but it does the job – and keeps my head and ears warm! And the brim helps shield my eyes from the sun.
Happy birthday, ugly hat!