She had a best friend, Cris, who died from breast cancer long ago and whose favorite color was also purple. That was only one point on which they bonded, though. They turned into giggling girls whenever they were together, and they traded off having children: Cris had one, then my mom, then Cris, then my mom, until they were both toting along 10 children. They were bosom buddies, and became very familiar with a certain poem revolving around their purple proclivities. It's quite amusing, so I thought it would be fun to post it here:
When I Am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple
by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am 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 the 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 pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts 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.
I figure, why wait until you're old?? I don't necessarily have to wear purple, but I can certainly consider singing in the rain in my slippers and laughing with friends at dinner! I might also consider swearing in the street and spending rent on brandy, but then I might have to spend a little time talking with the bishop. I probably wouldn't wear a red hat, either. I don't necessarily need to wear a hat to feel like I'm having the time of my life, but they can certainly be fun. It was apparently a lot of fun for these women:
We went to the Getty Villa in Malibu last Saturday and found these "Red Hat" women swarming the place. My friend Max approached these three and asked them questions about this little society they belong to. Apparently, ALL women belong to the Red Hats whether you know it or not, because, and I quote, "women already have all the power. Now we just have a uniform!" If you are under 50, however, you should be wearing lavendar clothes and a pink hat. Also, when it's your birthday month, you get to reverse it and wear red with a purple hat - hence the woman on the right. She didn't want her friends telling us this, but she doesn't have anything red to wear, so she had to do purple with purple. We LOVED her bag, however - red fuzzy fur atop a dark purple bag. Giggles abounded.
Those of you who know my mom, could you imagine her becoming part of this society? She certainly shows a carefree attitude from time to time, but my mother has never been what you might call "flamboyant". She saved it all up and passed it on when she had me.