Sheri Samson
The Mad Hatters of Hawthorne originated in 2003 and the group still meets every month at Maggies Once More.

When the local Mad Hatters wear their red hats and purple outfits, this chapter of the National Red Hat Society mainly gather to have fun. Still going strong since the group originated in 2003, through the original efforts of Paula Metts, once the manager at the El Capitan, this group meets monthly on the fourth Saturday for a 9 a.m. breakfast at Hawthorne’s Maggie’s Once More.

Current leadership is identified as “Queen” Ruby Hume and “Vice Queen” Carol Barton, plus volunteer Linda Willis. They organize a finely decorated, monthly theme for each member to enjoy, which includes a full array of small, raffle- items, which help to raise funds for the club to assist with community donations. A recent outreach went toward the CAHS (Consolidated Agencies of Human Services) Back-to-School backpack program.

With a group that once swelled to 50 participants, the Mad-Hatters welcome anyone interested in joining to put on their red hat and show up to any monthly meeting. This group transports the message of “fun after 55” with one participant sporting a purple vest which read, “It’s not the age, It’s the attitude.”

Known for being an older, age-appropriate group, the Red Hat Society originated in 1997 in Fullerton, Calif., when a friend gave her 55-year old buddy the now famous poem entitled, “Warning” which was written by Jenny Joseph in the U.K.

“When I am old, I shall wear purple” were the words that began this enchanting poem. Joseph composed this entertaining poem when she was just 29 years old, then moved on to publish 13 poetry books, children’s books and winning various awards. This one poem about wearing a mismatched red hat and purple outfit became her namesake of writing efforts, with a writing career that spanned 60 years.

Poet Joseph, born in 1932, just died on January 8 at 85 years old. She always stated that she never liked purple, but this one surviving poem will continue to spur on generations to live fun and be fabulous. With a message that conveyed a carefree attitude toward what others may think of you, her young thoughts created a society of women that come together throughout 31 countries, with over 40,000 chapters in existence.

Ending her poem by saying, “But maybe I ought to practice a little now?”, reflects what the local Mad Hatters offer. The opportunity to laugh a little more, find smiles a little easier and be frivolous among the oddity of friends brings this monthly group together. Find out more about this joyful group of mature ladies, by contacting their leadership at 775-316-0875 or 775-945-2895.