I met this wonderfully, energetic woman who welcomed me immediately into her circle of friends and colleagues. I asked her once, “Why the Crazy Hats?” Below is my dear friend and colleague's story.
Why the “crazy” hats, I am asked. Well, it all started with pains, screaming in my body in late 2005. I finally listened to them in late winter 2006, deciding to find out why. I discovered that I was trying to make everyone happy, to be someone I did not want to be, to follow a path that was not leading to contentment. I turned my life around by doing two (2) major things:
1. Yoga (making time for something that I had done in 1998—I felt great, breathed better and slower, and was calm, and had a straight posture, all good stuff!).
2. Working at Hasbro Children’s Hospital as a volunteer, reading to children in the clinics — a desire from years before.
As a Hasbro Children’s Hospital Volunteer, I was in the “Read to me” program, a national program that has theme based books and crafts (butterflies, clowns, flowers, trucks, etc). A book is given to each child at their “well” visit. My first day was March 20th, honoring Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (albeit a little late). I wore the Cat in the Hat hat and bow, provided by the Child Life Department. Being my creative and innovative self, I provided my own funky cat earrings (I have quite a collection of earrings!). I was in my glory and element animatedly reading books that I love to very sick children in the Inpatient room. I captivated about 20 children hooked up to IV’s and other machinery, distracting them from their serious woes for nearly 30 minutes. At the end of this successful endeavor, I handed out brand new books to each child there and then visited other children in the rooms. On the way back to the Volunteer Office, the Family Resource Specialist involved in the program asked me if I had hats at home. I said yes. She said, enthusiastically, wear them!
Thus, my wearing hats, holiday, themed, colorful or WHATEVER, was encouraged, and I have continued to wear them ever since. Why not?? After all, the first thing anyone sees when walking in is your head. I have brought many a smile, smirk, and squirm with my hats — all of which gets someone, child and adult, to forget their pain, for even a little while. This is my passion and gift. I am feeding my soul. The rewards working with local charities are priceless. I cannot find anything better than the healing power of laughter for any ills.
Karen, thanks for encouraging me to write about it. Thanks for doing what you do with Blanketing DC with Love!
Article by Cherine Whitney
President of SLA’s Rhode Island Chapter, 2008-2010
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