Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I first read this poem there were no Red Hat clubs. The first stanza has become one of those ubiquitous refrains found on coffee mugs and coasters now, and the original meaning seems to have been lost. It's not about going out once a month with your besties to have lunch. It's about aging with courage and aplomb. It's about sloughing off the shackles of society that have made you say and do what is acceptable and "letting it all hang out"(yes, I know you haven't heard that since the 60's). Here's the whole poem with apologies to Jenny Joseph, the author:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


  1. Vicky: I just love these bracelets, but the stories jump out at me just like the beautiful colors.
    Keep creating and writing.

  2. Thank you!So nice to hear from you Virginia. I hope you all are well. Please keep reading.