Hats off to days gone by in Cochrane

pg 36 A Peep into the Past Vol.1 1990 Belle and Gordon Hall

In the early days, a man was known for the hat he wore. When a man took his hat off 50 years ago, ranchers or outdoorsmen especially would be tanned a dark oak color except where the hat brim sat, then there would be a sharp contrast as the head, which was usually bald was snow white, never seeing the sun. Bachelors mostly never took their hats off, even in the house. 

Some ranchers and farmers wore the same old stetson hat for years and could tell who it was a great distance away by the hat. Then there were women’s hats. My mother had one which was black and decorated with ostrich feathers. The feathers were dyed in different colors. Mother had one purple and several black and white feathers. These were about two feet long and three or four inches wide. This conglomerate was held onto her head by hat pins. Mother had two or three hat pins, they were about eight inches long and sharp at the end. On the other end was a knob about the size of a marble. 

There was a one-eyed man in town who was supposed to have had his eye put out by a hat pin. He was supposed to have been looking through the keyhole in the door to a ladies’ boudoir, when she poked a hatpin through the keyhole and put out his eye. 

Most school kids wore toques, knitted mostly. We would pull them down in front and then up over the eyes, this gave better ear protection. Some of the storekeepers wore hats or caps at work, along with black arm socks or whatever they were called. When you met a lady on the street, the polite way to greet her was to tip your hat or if stopping to chat, take the hat off. Today there are very few hats worn except by older men and women. The trend has been to long hair and no headgear. 

In the days gone by it used to amuse me to see some farmers coming to town. Some would have a fur coat and a straw hat on or a fur hat and no coat at all. Boy Scouts had the Baden-Powell hat, also the Mounted Police. They looked real smart. This has gone out the window, at least for the scouts. The trend now seems to be the old ski cap types for men and boys, with some kind of logo on the front. 

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