Fat Men’s Ball

This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 also as an ebook from itunes, Kobo, and Inktera for $9.99. Also from Tolino in Germany. It’s fixed format so it’s better  with a tablet, laptop, or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog here.

Fat Men’s Ball

The first annual ball of the Fat Men’s Association of the City of New York was held at Irving Hall December 20, 1869.
Tickets were sold to the public, who watched from galleries above the dance floor, to raise money for the Fat Men’s annual picnic in Norwalk, Connecticut.

The guest of honor was seven year old Thomas Conway (80½ pounds) introduced by the president of the Association John Fiske (358 pounds).

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Music was provided by Claudio Grafulla, the March King before Sousa, conducting the Seventh Regiment Band, which was much in demand at the time for social events. The band played The Fat Men’s March, specially composed for the occasion by Grafulla. Continue reading

Hats

This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 also as an ebook from itunes, Kobo, and Inktera for $9.99.  Also from Tolino in Germany. It’s fixed format so it’s better  with a tablet, laptop, or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog here.

Hats Off

I live in New Jersey, so I don’t see a lot of cowboy hats. But through the magic of television, I am occasionally transported out west, to the land of cowboy hats.

Looks like a great hat to keep you in the shade in a sunny clime. They don’t look too waterproof, though, but I guess it doesn’t rain a lot there. But it can get windy. You never see anyone wearing a cowboy hat with a chin strap and you never see hats tumbling along with the tumbleweeds.

But what’s most striking about cowboy hats is that the wearers never seem to take them off when they come indoors. You see real people scenes of line dancing, beer drinking, and country singing with hats on. It seems to me that a real 19th century cowboy would doff his hat when he came inside. Audie Murphy did. After all, the sun only shines outside.

Hats On

I’m not a hat person, although I wear a knit cap and earmuffs when I walk the dog in the very cold.

The list of hats is astounding. Bearskin, baseball (front, back, sideways), beret, bowler/derby, bonnet, boater, balaclava, breton, feed, homburg, mortarboard, yarmulke, trilby, pillbox, chitrali, hijab, wimple, tricorne, turban, railroad, pith helmet, night cap, dunce cap, miter, tarboush, top hat, cai non, deerstalker, ivy cap, porkpie, cloche, pickelhaube (the Prussian helmet with the spike on top), snood, tyrolean, toque, fez, fedora, coonskin, shako, sombrero, gaucho, tam o’shanter, digger, panama, and zucchetto (the Pope’s yarmulke) are just a few.

Most hats aren’t very functional. The bicorne (admiral’s hat — Napoleon wore his sideways), top hat, mortarboard, and fez come to mind.

The fedora (see Stetson ad below) was de rigeur from the 30’s through the 50’s. Old photos of baseball games show men in the stands wearing fedoras (and jackets and ties). My dad had one, though he didn’t wear it much. Hats seem to have tapered off in the 60’s, maybe because JFK didn’t wear them. Both he and Eisenhower wore top hats to JFK’s inauguration, but Kennedy rarely wore hats afterwards.

Then there’s the ultimate hat, your crown, Your Majesty.

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