Let me tell you the story of my hat.
This hat came into my life on my birthday, March 15, in 2010. The day before, on March 14, at around 8:30pm or so, my husband casually said to me “So, you should be heading off to the airport. Silvie’s flight comes in at 9:30.” He had booked one of my best friends in the world to come up from Los Angeles to Vancouver for my birthday weekend as a total surprise to me.
The weekend was extravagant and magical. It was the Paralympics in Vancouver, so there was still lots of Olympic fever in the air. We wandered around downtown, I bought my first pair of Fluevogs. We ate cupcakes. We got caught in a flash rainstorm, as customarily happens with Silvie and me. (Sidebar: One of my best memories with Silvie is watching a lightning storm outside of Radcliffe Camera in Oxford. Probably not one of our smartest moments, but spectacular, wild, and cathartic.) And we went to Granville Island where I purchased a hat from the Rose Hip hat kiosk.
Later that year, my Mom’s cancer took a turn for the worse. It spread to her liver and then her brain. Her last real good day was her and my Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary on September 25, 2010. But in October, even though she could no longer tell time, or be certain what day of the week it was, she wanted to take one last trip to Ottawa to receive the Mother Theresa Award, a lifetime service award from an organization and a cause she was passionate about. My youngest sister accompanied her. Funds had been donated in a 48-hour window from her long-time colleagues to pay for first-class seats since she could no longer sit upright for more than an hour.
On that trip, she wore my hat on her poor chemo, radiated head. And she rocked it. She made her last public address without notes and rocked that too.
When Mom died a few months later, we talked about burying her in that hat, but, maybe selfishly, I wanted to keep the hat myself.
Fast forward to October of this year (2012), I was walking out the door to go to a rehearsal and noticing it looked like rain, I quickly jammed the hat into my bag. It was days later that I realized that the hat was no longer in my bag and I didn’t actually know where it was. I kept thinking it would just show up as these things often do. But I checked at home, the rehearsal hall, the office, my car all to no avail. I was starting to have dreams where I was looking for my hat, sometimes finding it, sometimes not. Because, of course, it wasn’t just a hat that I paid too much for. The hat had a story. A history of good times, of bad times, a connection with Silvie and my Mom.
On Monday, out of a last ditch effort, I called Granville Island administration and asked if they had a lost and found. They did. I asked if they had found a green hat with silver buttons on the rim. She checked the log. There was a green hat noted. She went and got it and described to me my beloved hat. I was at their office within 2 minutes to retrieve it. And then I came back to my office and cried on my office mate’s shoulder while I told her the story of the hat.
I don’t know who the person was that found my hat, it might have been a parking commisionaire that noticed that some idiot had dropped their boutique property without regard and handed it in as was their duty. It could have been a Granville Island shopper that thought better of keeping it for themselves. Whoever it was, I thank you so very much and am very grateful that it’s with me again. If it was just a hat I wouldn’t care. But it’s a hat with a story.