Red Hats: A legacy of colorful older women

Patty Temple is the Queen Mum of the Carson City Red Hat Society. She began the first society in Carson City in March 2001. There are now 16 chapters in Carson City and about 50 chapters in the Carson City, Reno and Sparks areas.

To join a Carson City chapter, call Temple at 841-1824.

What is the "Red Hat Society?"

The Red Hat Society is a women's movement changing the perception of aging women in the United States and around the world. This growing organization of women is uniting under the umbrella of a Red Hat to have fun and bond in sisterhood as they travel through life together.

How did it start?

It all started with a simple gift. Sue Ellen Cooper gave a dear friend, Linda Murphy, a copy of the poem "Warning" by British author Jenny Joseph and a bright red vintage fedora to celebrate her 55th birthday in November 1997.

"Warning" begins: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me," and continues on to state that aging can be filled with many frivolous and "freeing" moments.

Who is eligible to join?

You must be a women age 50 or older (or you may be a Pink Hatter, younger than 50). Their full regalia includes red hats and purple clothing. Women younger than 50 wear pink hats and lavender outfits.

What does the group do?

The Carson City chapter tries to meet once a month for lunch or a planned outing. We are often referred to fondly as a "disorganization," though we have been known to have a degree of order to our operations.

Red Hat Society Day is celebrated April 25 by official chapters worldwide.


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