Thursday I had the pleasure of spending an amusing 20 minutes talking with 5 charming young ladies in the back of a bus.
Well, young at heart, and in mind, anyway. :-)
These ladies, you see, were all, possibly, at LEAST 20 years my senior, though they were as giggly as school girls.
And therein lies my decision to devote this editon to the organization they belong to:
The Red Hat Society.
This series is dedicated to the proposition that Blogging is a prime example of the saying "Variety is the Spice of Life".
And these ladies are definitely taking the bull by the horn, in their middle-aged, senior, and retirement, years, to spice theirs up!
And yes, I've got another excuse not to post this on Thursday, or Friday. :-)
So let me introduce you.
My 2nd bus to work was 10 minutes late, and as I got on I noticed these 5 elderly ladies lined up all in a row on the back seat of the bus.
My first thought was to wonder why they were back there when the seats up front were reserved for seniors.
Then I noticed they were all dressed in snappy purple outfits, and wearing red hats.
I sat nearby, and overheard a snippet of conversation.
They were giggling over the looks people give them and if someone might follow them around to see what they do all day.
I turned and, smiling, said, "hey, ladies, I'm a writer, don't give me any ideas! You're lucky I'm on my way to work!"
When they laughed I asked if they were the reason the bus was late. I wondered if they had been rowdy enough for the cops to be called to calm them down.
( Denials, and more laughs )
I then asked them what group they belonged to, and then the light bulb went on because I remembered an article the OC Register had written.
These ladies were residents of the Landmark Senior Center, in Huntington Beach.
It is an Adult Community, and NOT a Convalescent Home, and 100 of the ladies in residence, are members of the Red Hat Society, and call themselves The Red Hat Chix.
When I asked "Red Hot Chicks?", they all laughed.
My new friends, including the Community Red Hat leader, introduced to me as Queen Mum Diane, had started out in the morning before 9am for a bus ride to Dana Point, where they hung out for a 1/2 hour and were now returning to meet several fellowettes for lunch.
They were amused that the morning trip ran on time, but the return was late, and had no answer as to why.
I told them about my blog, and how I like to write about interesting websites, and that I would write about our meeting, and their group.
When the ride ended we shook hands, and I wished them well.
The Red Hat Society was begun in 2001, in Fullerton Ca., and I'll let Exalted Queen Mum, Sue Ellen Cooper, explain the idea:
The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor, and elan. We believe silliness is the commedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red gloved hands and go for the gusto together. Underneath the frivolity, we share a bond of affectionforged by common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for whereever life takes us next.
Sue Ellen wrote a wonderful poem called Ode to the Red Hat Society, and it begins this way:
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.
And so they did, and others have eagerly followed in their footsteps.
Wearing purple and red comes when members hit the Big 50.
We also suggest rather strongly that women under 50 stick to the pink hat and lavender attire ( Pink Hatters ) until THE BIRTHDAY. This adds an element of fun to aging, which we think is invaluable to women in our society who have learned to dread aging and avoid it at all costs. We believe that aging should be something anticipated with excitement, not something to dread.
The website is billed as "the place where there is fun after fifty (and before) for women of all walks of life."
The main responsibility of members is to just have fun.
The website is a fascinating place to explore.
There are, of course many "Official" products, but there is also a new, NY Times bestselling, book called The Red Hat Society: Fun and Friendship After Fifty.
Documentaries, and College Dissertations, and scientif research studies have been produced that involve the society.
The Red Hat Society is NOT a non-profit organization, and has chapter dues, and a fee for a membership card.
There are events galore, year round ( including an annual convention ), all across the country, and around the world as well, I imagine, since there are chapters in Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere.
The number of Chapters, in Orange County alone, is staggering.
Looking up chapters in your community, and the world, is eye-opening.
This month marks the debut of a new, bi-monthly, magazine called Red Hat Society LifeStyle.
The Purple Perks for owning a membership card are many, including travel, and entertainment.
In addition to belonging to a local chapter of friendly, supportive, women of a similar age, logging in to the website brings you into contact with a worldwide network on a bulletin board, state, and country Forums, and the Red Hat Chat Room.
Many chapters are involved in their communities in various ways.
These activities not only help out the city they live in, but put faces on a "mission" of sorts: to gain higher visibility for women in their age group and to reshape the way they are viewed by today's culture.
When you visit the website be sure to read the rambling of Miss Ruby Redhat, and the Queen's Corner Friday Broadcasts ( which can be subscribed to ).
They are both entertaining, inciteful, and thoughtful.
Many of the under 40 crowd tend not to think of what their life will be like in their senior years, even if they have parents, and other relatives, that old.
It is a misconception to assume that all older folk end up in convalescent homes, frail imitations of their former vigorous selves.
Many lead active lives, both physically, and mentally, well into their 90's, with family, and without.
The 5 charming ladies I met are proof of that.
Knowing my Mother, who died at age 61, in 1990, she would have loved the idea of The Red Hat Society, and would have loved to be a member.
Well, that's all for this week.
See you next time!