Sunday, November 28, 2004

wearing purple

One of my postal customers has been getting ready for a "Red Hat Society" shindig. The Society, a group for women over fifty who want to live life with enthusiasm and elan, was inspired in part by the poem "Warning" by Jenny Joseph. When I first read this poem years ago it reminded me of my grandmother who lived an independent and free spirited life until the day she died at age 93. We can all learn lessons from older people like her. Here's the poem:


Warning

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 peoples' 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 practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph (1932-)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was in Laughlin NV a couple of months ago when it was taken over by a convention of the Red Hat Society. It was wonderful... hundreds of women my age wearing outrageous red and purple hats and clothing, boas, boots. Their fun was infectious. Women my age often complain they're invisible in society. Those women DEFINITELY were not invisible. I went right out and bought a red hat!

wally said...

Good for you! I like women who are determined to have a life that appeals to them.

Anonymous said...

That does sound like Grandma. I look forward to wearing a red hat, but why wait?

Rachel

wally said...

When you get your red hat are you going to start cussing and telling people off in public like Grandma did?

wally said...

Or have you already started?