Red, Pink Hats gather for friendship and fun

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, March 9, 2004

By By ANNA M. LEE Assistant Editor
The first meeting of the Escambia County Red Hat Society was held at the Living Word Cafe this week. Women across the country and in 20 other nations are joining together to celebrate their age and experience as a part of the Red Hat Society phenomenon.
The fundamentals of the society are based on a poem called "Warning" by Jenny Joseph, which says "When I am old, I shall wear purple with a red hat…"
Beginning with a group of friends in England in 1997, the Red Hat Society has grown to include more than 17,000 chapters in the United States, with several in the Brewton area and other parts of Escambia County.
The distinction of "Red Hatter" is held for women over 50, while younger women are also included in the society as "Pink Hatters." Red Hatters wear purple with their hats, as the poem says, and Pink Hatters wear lavender until they reach their 50th birthdays and graduate to the coveted red hat status.
But what does the Red Hat Society do? The answer is whatever they want.
For the most part, chapters get together to enjoy each other's company, go on outings together, and most importantly, share a light-hearted attitude toward coming of age.
The popularity of the idea is evident in how quickly The Red Hat Society has grown. Women hear about what fun Red Hatters are having and they want to be involved too.
Silbernagel spoke to the group on Friday about how inspiring she found a relative's chapter in Atlanta.
Another woman present at the meeting, Marvis Simmons, has a sister in Florida and a niece who are involved.
With the newly formed Escambia County Red Hat Society Association, chapters could get together to network and hold combined functions.
As proprietor of the Living Word Cafe, Silbernagel offers Red Hat Society merchandise, a discount and a special menu for members.
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