Red Hatter's Society

The Red Hat Society is a “disorganization” that believes there can still be fun after fifty (and before the Pink Hats) for women in all walks of life. It was begun by Sue Ellen Cooper of Fullerton, California when she and a few friends took inspiration from a poem entitled “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, which begins “When I am an old woman…” Since the poem mentions wearing a red hat and purple attire, she and her friends formed a group that met in public on a regular basis for tea in their red hats and purple dresses.

Consequently, some friends in the Newell area gathered together in their red hats and purple outfits (or pink hats and lavender outfits for members 55 years old and younger) and set out to have fun together. The founders of the chapter usually receive a title of some sort. Our chapter chose the name of Glad Hatters with the following founders:

Linda Vollmer is "Queen Mother",  Eleanor Milberg is "Keeper of the Coins", and Joan Palo is "Blabbermouth".  We have 15 members.  Dues are $10.00.  The Glad Hatters meet the second Friday of each month, with the time and place to be decided at the previous meeting. Each member takes turns selecting a place and/or activity for the following month. The main purpose of the group is to get together with friends, have fun, make new friends and find new joys in life.

Pictured above: Back Row L to R Patsy Anderson, Betty Smeenk, Gwen Vallery, Joan Palo, Linda Vollmer, Lauren Babb, Jean Remington, Eleanor Milberg. Front Row Marjorie Adams, Rita Donaldson, Ida Mae Orwick. Other members not pictured: Dixie Seaman, Eleanor Simmons, Judy Heisler, Donna Wetz, Myra Coster, Francis Meyers.

"Ode to the Red Hat Society" by Sue Ellen Cooper

A poet put it very well. She said when she was older, She wouldn't be so meek and mild. She threatened to get bolder. She'd put a red hat on her head, and purple on her shoulder. She'd make her life a warmer place, her golden years much golder. We read that poem, all of us, and grasped what she is saying. We do not need to sit and knit, although we all are graying. We think about what we can do. Our plans we have been laying. Instead of working all the time, we'll be out somewhere playing. We take her colors to our hearts, and then we all go shopping For purples clothes and hats of red, with giant brims a-flopping. We're tired of working all the time, and staying home and mopping. We order pies and chocolate fudge, and rich desserts with topping. We crown ourselves as duchesses and countesses and queens. We prove that playing dress-up isn't just for Halloween. We drape ourselves in jewels, feathers, boas, and sateen. We see ourselves on television and in magazines. We laugh, we cry, we hug a lot. We keep each other strong. When one of us goes out for fun, the rest all go along. We gad about, we lunch and munch, in one big happy throng. We've found the place where we fit in, the place we all belong.