Thursday, August 11, 2011

Discovering A Sisterhood

Marlene, Queen of the Razzle Dazzle Hatters (Pennsylvania, United States), sent us the most beautiful letter! We’ll let her share her story:

“I have been a member of RHS since April 2000: I started out as a Co-Queen, and then, after 3 years went out on my own as Queen. Since the age of 14 years old, I have always suffered from illnesses that either required surgery, physical therapy, or some sort of treatment in order to put me back on the road to recovery. Even as a young girl, I always had a positive attitude and just knew I would get better each time an illness knocked on my door. Even then, my friends were always there for me. But as life changed for me and I moved on to college and then married life, my friends also changed. Some I lost and new ones I gained.

Since I am a quilter, I am always looking for new and interesting fabrics, I seemed to bump into Red Hat fabrics while on a vacation during the summer of 2000. This fabric interested me so much that I looked up the Red Hat Society on the internet to get the scoop and the rest is history.

I am a people person and a music teacher by trade, I love to be surrounded by 'like-minded' people, especially women. At the time I started the chapter, I was only 47 so I dressed as a Pink Hatter, but was treated to a wonderful ‘Surprise' Reduation on my 50th birthday. I so wanted to be a Red Hatter from day one. Since I am a three time cancer survivor and a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient, I use Red Hatting as an escape to forget about my health issues and go out and laugh for a few hours. Two 'rules' in my chapter are as follows: you must wear a Red Hat, and bring a smile.

My Red Hatters have been by my bedside to serve me breakfast, lunch & dinner after a recent ankle surgery. They also provided rides to doctors appointments, filled grocery store lists and any other help that was needed. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer just recently, several Queens and Vice-Queens surprised me one night with a 'Purple Alert'. It was perfect timing as I had just received the news that day that I would have to undergo a bilateral mastectomy on July 22nd. The Red Hatters sang their way into my house, brought flowers, and dinner for all, including my husband of 31 years. We talked, we cried, and we networked. What a night!

My Red Hatters have been by my side when we lost our house and two dogs to a devastating fire in Sept. of 2008. Since I lost all of my Red hat regalia, they invited me to a Queens Council Tea at a local restaurant and surprised me with a table full of red hat attire, gift cards, pictures from previous events, and all the trimmings to go with it. That's what friends are for.

Not only have my own Red Hatters been there for me, but when I travel, I look up Red Hatters to meet in the towns that I will be visiting. I have made friends 'round the globe' and we keep in touch via phone or e-mail. I am on so many prayer lists that I know God will get the message to 'make me well'. I have told everyone that I cannot die until I am finished my Red Hatting. That won't be for a long time!

Now that I will be going into the hospital for surgery in a couple of weeks, the 'girls' have decided to take shifts again to help me while my husband is at work with rides, food, and whatever else I will need. They all hug me whenever we are together and I feel that warmth of their love and caring coming through from their body to mine.

To add to my kudos, I am now the proudest Queen with perfect attendance as a chapter with all supporting members. How's that for a great chapter?”

This is truly what the Sisterhood is all about!

The New REDuation Kit!
A REDuation is a Pink Hatter’s “rite of passage” which may include a creative ceremony or just a simple swapping of a pink hat for a red one. (We definitely encourage elaborate ceremonies whenever possible, especially when Hatters celebrate the big 5-0!) Esteemed Vice Mother Linda Murphy actually wrote a REDuation poem that is often used in such ceremonies!

To help our Members celebrate their big day, we’ve created a darling REDuation Kit to help make every Pink Hatter's special day even better! It includes a REDuation Pledge, complete with a space to hand write the new Red Hatter's name in the center, printable “wisdom notes” which may be used to give her all that wonderful advice that you've always wished someone had given to you when you came of age, and invitations to make sure that lots of Hatters turn up to help celebrate!

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