Monday, February 18, 2013

I Wanna Be A "Hat Lady " (Like Her) ...When I Grow Up !

I was on Facebook recently when one of my More than Fabulous , More than Facebook friends Ms. Jo McDivitt  of Hattiesburg, Mississippi posted a picture of herself in one of the hundreds of amazing hats that she owns and loves.  This one though, was extra special.
To me, it was THE hat ! It was THAT Hat ! I remembered it very well !

It was the hat ( or one almost exactly like it ) that she had on when I was first blessed with making the acquaintance of this absolutely phenomenal woman !

I was at one of my very first large book-signings with multiple Mississippi authors. 
It was an annual book-signing extravaganza held by Main Street Books in Hattiesburg. There were some very popular, big name authors in attendance.   I definitely was NOT one of those big names !   I was one of about 25 authors there.   My little book of southern poems, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia,  had just been published in February (2008). The event was in December.  I had the privilege of being an invited author, riding on the coat tail of my dear friend John Campell, the brother of the late, great blues legend "Little Milton" Campbell who had published his book, Day Dreaming on My Cotton Sack,  several months before mine and was very instrumental in making my new life as a published author a reality.
I wrote about that journey and our longtime friendship in the foreword of my book.

Anyway, back to the storyline of Ms Jo McDivitt ......
I was a wide-eyed new author who was simply excited to be in the presence and listed alongside so many wonderful Mississippi authors.  I dutifully said my "spill" about my little
" book baby " to anyone who would remotely listen or glance my way.  One very distinguished gentleman came over and listened very intently to me, asked me several questions about the book and and purchased a copy.   It might have just been out of pity and to encourage a new author, but it was a sale!    I made several that night . He looked the book over and flipped through a few of the poems.   He then told me that I should definitely introduce myself and my book to Jo McDivitt.   He said that he was sure that she would be there sometime during the evening.  He said that he felt she would really be interested in the book and enjoy the poems. He also shared with me that Ms. McDivitt was a writer /publisher of her own newspaper,
Today Mississippi Woman. 

That really made me ears perk up.  Even as a young author I knew that much of the success of a book depended on good press and publicity, in whatever form.  Maybe she WOULD like my book and maybe she would write about my book in her paper and maybe she could help more people find out about my little needle in a haystack book.  I was excited!
Then,  I looked around, at the almost standing room only crowd of people.   With new faces coming and going and standing in long lines, I wondered how in the world I would possibly know who she was since,  this kind gentleman was on his way to another engagement and would not be there to introduce me to her.   I said these thoughts out loud.   A boyish grin came across this very sophisticated face and I could have sworn that his eyes glazed over in some type of wistful longing.  He simply said. "You'll know her."  "She'll be the one in the big hat." 
Again, I thought to myself, I wondered how in the world he knew she would have on a big hat and how he knew that I would know that it was her in that hat.

It was cold outside,  and as I looked around,  I saw that there were already several ladies inside that had on hats.  This time, though I did not voice my thoughts.
He seemed very confident in the fact that I would know her when I saw her.

How right he was!.  Maybe an hour later, this little, delicate waif of a woman came floating through the door.  It seemed almost like the heavens opened up and a spotlight was shining down on her from above.  She was an amazing sight to behold!.   People, mostly men, flocked around her like flies.   It sort of reminded me of that scene in Gone With the Wind when all of the men and would - be suitors were flocked around Scarlet trying to get her some tea or some cake ..or ANYTHING.

Ms Jo McDivitt was indeed wearing a VERY BIG hat, almost as big as she was. 
It was big......and fabulous !!!!

I had to wait for the dust to settle to finally get a chance to approach her about my book.
It took quite a while, because it seemed like she was, on the red carpet at the Academy Awards.   It was a book signing event and was suppossedly all about the authors, but she was undoubtedly and- hands down the star in the room !

To make a long story short, I met Ms Jo, I introduced my self and my book . She bought a copy and promised that she would let me know what she thought .  A few months later I received a glowing review in her Today's Mississippi Woman publication.(February 2009).
Since then we have frequently been in touch and as I said we are Facebook friends.
We share many interests and a passionate love for hats.  I am only a closet "Hat Lady" and a Hat Lady in training.  I frequently buy hats but rarely wear them in public.  This baffles my Dear Hubby to no end.   I just don't feel ready to do the Hat Lady thing justice.  To me, it is serious business!!     I have been telling all of my friends since I turned 40 that I planned to be a full-fledged Hat Lady when I turned 50 !  That will be next year (February 2014)

Ms Jo wrote a comment to me on her fabulous hat post !
This is my "Patricia Neely Dorsey hat-in-waiting" until you are fifty-or-so!
I just so happen to have an extra one because I knew it would be difficult to find another?!
After a while following a few of my excited comments she wrote:: "This hat has stopped traffic from Manhattan to Potts Camp, MS!  I WANT you to have one. Will you be fifty in ten years?
If so, I will continue to dust the webs from its brim. Deal completed."

Later on in the evening , she wrote:
It's way past my bedtime but that did not stop me from dashing to the "hat room" to place the "other" hat on VIP reserve.  I think it will be delivered prior to the fiftieth celebration! PND will let her glowing light "shine" in this chapeau.

Woo Hoo !!! February 2014 ..It's on !!!!
I am going to be a real, full-fledged TOO FABULOUS Hat Lady just like her ...
especially in THAT hat !!! Just Wait And See !!!
OMG!!! Ms Jo MUST really LOVE me !!! Hat Ladies DO NOT just Willy Nilly give their hats away even if they do have TWO of same.

~*~  Ms Jo McDivitt  ~*~

About Jo McDivitt:

Jo McDivitt is a writer, newspaper publisher, bookworm, publicist, gourmet cook and gardener. She was a stewardess with United Airlines during the golden era of flying; a publicist at Niki Singer, Inc., on Madison Avenue in New York City, and host of a Memphis "morning and evening drive" talk radio show, "A Cup of Jo." Jo's first newspaper column was published when she was fourteen-years-old. She has continued to write product copy and features for a variety of publications.
Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, in 1948, she grew up in the northern Mississippi town of Amory.

Jo is featured in the University Press
soon- to- be- released book:

Coming Home To Mississippi

The book is scheduled for release in April 2013.

Coming Home to Mississippi

Celebrations of homecoming by prominent Mississippians who made the return journey.    In this collection, essayists examine their lives, their memories of Mississippi, the reasons they left the state, and what drew them back.
They talk about how life differs and wears on you in the far-flung
parts of our nation, and the qualities that make Mississippi unique.

Cover artwork by Mississippi Artist -  Wyatt Waters

Coming Home to Mississippi
~*~  On Amazon ~*~

"A woman's hat speaks, long before she 
ever opens her mouth"
from "Crowns" The Stage Play