Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Gift from Bennett's Millinery

One Saturday in January Audrey and I went to the Library Sale. In half an hour I had filled my bag with biographies of Isak Dinesen and Willa Cather, a history of the Third Reich, and a two-volume copy of the Gulag Archipelego. Audrey found a pristine hard-cover edition of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and was swimming in happiness. We exited the building like a couple of hummingbirds just come in from a field full of wildflowers. It was then we noticed an antique shop across the street, its front window filled with enormous conch shells and white coral specimens so big they looked like ancient pieces of driftwood. We went inside and wandered through the musty rooms. Hanging against a wood-planked wall, on a crooked nail, were several old hats. One of them, a creamy white one with costume jewels stitched onto the bill, caught Audrey's eye. "Oh, may I see it, Mom? May I try it on?" I could not but comply. "Oh, please can you get it for me, Mom - for my birthday? For March 'Teen?" I turned the hat upside down. It had three tags - the first said it was a Frances & Walter Helkin hat. The second, that it was from Bennett's Millinery in Evanston, Illinois; best of all the hat was stamped with a seal that read: "Melusine Registered; Made in Czechoslavakia." I considered that a Melusine hat from Bennett's Millinery is probably an uncommon request from a three-year-old, and when I walked out of the store the hat was tied up with string, in a box under my arm. Upon returning home I shoved the box onto a shelf in my closet... today someone spied the box and opened it... She very much liked what she saw.

1 comment:

rockinbabies said...

oh my goodness. this is toooo wonderful.