My Favorite Hat
by Beth Buck
I think I bought my denim Winnie-the-Pooh hat at Walmart or something. It was the late 90s, when Winnie-the-Pooh seemed to be especially en vogue when it came to teenage fashion, as if the lot of us were secretly six and just trying to pretend that we were 16. I also owned a pair of Winnie-the-Pooh overalls during this time period. I wasn’t especially in love with Winnie, per se, although I did very much admire A. A. Milne’s original work. As in, the original. The books illustrated by Ernest Shephard — not the Disney movie or its many spin-offs.
The hat kept the sun off my face, and there was something particularly spunky about it that I admired. Even though it was mass-produced by a factory in China, I felt the most like a unique individual – my truest self – when I wore it. And I wore it a lot, even places that don’t have a lot of sun: in airports, on buses, at school, going shopping.
My senior year of high school, I presented a very horrible and extremely embarrassing presentation on A. A. Milne’s work for my AP English class. I felt so terrible about my poor performance that I felt the need to cover Winnie’s image on my hat with duct tape for several months afterward. I wore it anyway.
I still have the hat. I’ve had it for 17 years, and I still wear it when occasion calls for practical headgear. It has held up remarkably well, considering its age. My biggest problem now is competition: my daughter is three, and loves Winnie and my hat. Sometimes I have to fight her for it. She is feisty, so I don’t always win.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A scanned image from my teenage scrapbook — visiting a home for disabled children in Bahrain while wearing my hat and duct tape purse.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was in high school, I tried my darndest to be nominated “Most Unique” for my senior yearbook. I did so by donning a number of highly unusual hats. (I was successful in my quest, by the way.) I could have written this piece about any of those, but the Winnie-the-Pooh hat is the only one that I have not only kept, but also continue to wear nearly two decades later.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Buck has been making up stories since second grade but only recently started taking herself seriously as a writer. Her work has been featured by Imperfect Fiction, Sukoon Magazine, and Peculiar Press. She is a regular contributor at TheSurvivalMom.com and an occasional guest blogger at MillennialStar.org. She has four and a half kids, a spinning wheel, a black belt in karate, and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies.