When I entered adulthood, my mom gave me a hat pin. I’m sure I put it somewhere super safe, which is code for do not ask me where said hat pin is!
Her mother, my grandmother, wore hat pins. As the story goes, back in the day–we’re talking 1930s/40s–hat pins were all the rage. Not only were they fashionable, but they were small weapons women could use to defend themselves against untoward behavior from men. You put them between your fingers and it’s rather hard to get away from you, but that pin can do a little damage.
The dude gets handsy, and you simply reach up, pull that pin, and poke them a few good times.
No more handsy.
So, my grandma told my mom, and my mom told me.
Now anyone who knows my mom also knows that she will try to stab with keys poked between fingers or whatever she might get her hands on. She’s a fan of the hat pin, even though I’m not sure I can ever recall her really wearing one. She doesn’t wear hats…but I digress.
She gave me a hat pin to potentially use as a weapon. I am the third generation of this hat pin saga, which I thought was pretty cool.
So, at some point, I told Hope about the hat pin. She thought it was absurd, really. And, she’s probably not wrong, nearly 100 years later, one might ask how effective might a hat pin really be at warding off an attacker.
During an outing to a jewelry show years ago, a vendor had lovely long hat pins and I decided to gift myself a new one and also get Hope her first pin. I made a big deal about it because it’s really a family tradition at this point. For Hope’s part, she was like, “Um, that’s cool; they are pretty.”
Fast forward a few years to this past weekend. Hope was showing me her outfit on Saturday as she was about to head out to her first Pride event with friends. She had on a black Pride tunic that was open in the front but closed with sexy safety pin closures–you could see her bra. She wore short biker shorts with black fishnets and boots. I had to remind myself that this ensemble was practically a church outfit compared to what would be visible out at the parade.
As she started getting her things together to head out; I asked all the usual mom questions about who are you going with, and what time can I expect her. I told her to be careful.
Hope: “Yeah, I’ve got my pepper spray and my pin.”
Hope: “Yeah, my hat pin.”
And there it was on her tunic: her hat pin. I didn’t even notice it because I was distracted because her bra was visible. But she had it on.
Y’all my daughter is one of the messiest, most disorganized people I know, but the hat pin I bought her years ago, what right here on her shirt, ready to be pulled out and used for getting stabby.
My voice hitched a little when I said goodbye.
A fourth-generation was stepping out with a hat pin ready to face the world.
It was so symbolic of our bond. A couple of days later, I still get misty about her wearing her pin. It was just such a surprise, a pleasant, loving surprise. It seems so silly, but that moment means so much to me.
It’s moments like these when I am reminded how fortunate I am that I get to parent Hope and that she accepts me as a mom. What I didn’t really allow myself to dream about was whether she would want to carry on some of our family traditions; to find that she embraces them…it was just a beautiful moment.
June 13th, 2022 at 6:48 pm
I heard about hat pins from my mother and grandmother and have carried one on occasion and told my daughter and my grandchild’s nanny. HAT PINS HELP. (The nanny had had an issue on a bus that wasn’t that crowded but a bloke was ….. being too close and bumpy. Nanny added hat pins to her normal wardrobe.) It ought not be necessary but it is. THANK YOU for sharing. Glad your daughter’s pride event was safe, I am worrying about every one in this country this year……… Did she also put her safety phone number on her skin in a discrete location in case……
Ought not be necessary but truth is.
June 13th, 2022 at 7:25 pm
They do help. They are simple and handy! And yes, perfect for folks who just won’t mind a body buffer! I just love that she wrote hers. ❤️❤️❤️
Good point on the # on her skin, I’ll have to remind her to do that next time.
June 13th, 2022 at 7:56 pm
That is such a wonderful tradition to carry down! I absolutely would have gotten misty eyed too.
June 15th, 2022 at 12:21 am
Awwww…it’s so dusty in here….
June 15th, 2022 at 10:37 am
awwww! and I think Hope and my oldest would bond over their fashion sense. 🙂
June 15th, 2022 at 1:08 pm
Dammit, something in my eye…
June 15th, 2022 at 2:43 pm
What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing such a special moment. It’s moments like these that make it all worth it!!!!