We Get New Hats
I was three and Jake was maybe five. It was a rainy day at the Blair Village apartments near the old Lakewood Fairgrounds. We watched cartoons and got interested in the characters in a Dick Tracy cartoon about missing fortune cookies. They had funny hats. Still, we were bored. Boredom would lead us to trouble.
We drew and colored for a while but were still antsy. The pent-up energy of two young boys was building and there wasn’t a good way to burn it off. We rifled the house looking for something new to play with.
We found two round foam-rubber things on the dresser, about the size of saucers with little points in the middle. They were sort of dome-shaped like a hat. We put them on our heads. They were just big enough to cover our heads, and we sat around doing our best imitations of the cartoon characters. Mother laughed and didn’t fuss.
The rain slacked to a drizzle. It was warm outside, and the sun shone through at times. But it was still raining. We needed rain hats. Jake took a pair of scissors and cut a small slot on the side of each foam pad. He tucked an end of a large rubber band into each slot then tied the end off in a knot. Our hats now had chinstraps.
Mother was busy cooking. We eased out the door. We splashed back and forth on the sidewalk between rows of apartments, deliberately stomping on the clear shallow water that collected on the sidewalk. The flying droplets made rainbows in the sunshine. We were thoroughly soaked. Neighbors were starting to come home from work. Some smiled. Several gave a hearty belly laugh.
Mother stuck her head out the green wooden screen door. She got hopping mad. First, we’d gotten soaking wet. Second, we were wearing her Falsies on our heads for the amusement of all the neighbors. The light rain quickly became a storm.
She stripped them off our heads and wrung them out. They were soaked through. It would take them days to dry. She took us by the ears and marched us home on our tiptoes. Since we hadn’t understood what all the fuss was about, we didn’t get into real trouble. She explained that the hats were actually the pads for her brassiere, and that we had embarrassed her. We felt bad, and promised never to wear them again.
Thus began our quest to find out more about brassieres. As we matured, we found out that some were padded; some were not. Some had only one hook; some had three or four. When I reached my teens I discovered that ones most difficult to remove were the ones equipped with a time lock that lasted eighteen hours. Locksmiths and safecrackers had trouble opening them. Fathers of teenage girls paid a premium for those.