grandma's bonnett

“Did you get my bonnet?’  Grandma asked.  I assured her I did.  “Do you wear it?” she continued.

Now what do I say,” I think to myself.

“Why no, Grandma, I put it on the wall for decoration.  It fits in my room that I have decorated with my old- time keepsakes.”

“Well you need to wear it when you go in the sun,” she insisted.

I filed her advice right along with her dire predictions about how I was going to ruin my electric skillet if I washed it in the dishwater.  I respected her diligence in cleaning and scrubbing the big old pots and pans she used to cook for fifty to eighty “broom corn Johnnies” as we called the transient workers who came to harvest the fall crops.  An electric skillet was not in her expertise.

 And the bonnet was quite appropriate for her to wear in her garden on the farm.  But me?  A city girl.  A educated woman with a career.  Me?  I had a choice about the amount of time I spent in the sun.  And my choice was to not do so!  Besides I looked so funny in that bonnet.

I have not worn the bonnet.  I left it on the wall for many years.  It is now in my trunk of memories.  When I wrote Granddad’s Tears I show her wearing her bonnet.  And it makes me see a side of my grandma I never knew existed.  She was creative; she was an artist in a very special way!

Look this bonnet over well.  Because you have probably never seen one like it.  I have searched online with google and Pinterest but cannot find one.  If per chance you find one, ask if it was made by an old woman in Baca County, Colorado.  It probably was.  My aunt, her daughter, said she believed Grandma made up the idea of using that broom corn straw to provide the stiffness necessary for this type sun bonnet.  Not many new ideas under the sun but it seems like my grandma had one.


Mine does not have a label in it, but I think somebody in the family got labels for her to put in some.   I’m not sure.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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22 Responses to GRANDMA’S BONNET

  1. M.K. Aneal says:

    This was such a cool post! I love the personal touch; some parts made me crack a grin. 🙂

  2. dawnlizjones says:

    Oneta! This is priceless!

  3. Faye says:

    This is a beautiful post. Love the bonnet image. What a work of art in its own right and the memories are priceless!. Thank you.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks, Faye. I guess in her day she was much like her peers, but she was special to me. I liked to sit by her in church; she gave me red hots. I really should take up the “give them candy” habit. Such a little to buy such a lot!

  4. calensariel says:

    Broom corn straw… Who would have thought that. How intriguing! Makes sense though.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I have responses from relatives on facebook who have bonnets she made for their babies. I’m glad they reminded me of that. She made one set for my nieces twin baby girls. So cute; I’m glad to have my memory jogged. Thanks, calen.

  5. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never seen a bonnet like that. The cloth ones with the broad brim and the nice tie for under the chin, yes. But that’s one of the most practical adaptations I’ve ever seen. Good for her!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, the overall pattern was quite common and I do find them on line. I don’t know what was used for stiffness. Some seem to just be starched. My aunt said grandma got the idea from “slat” bonnets. I think those were made with strips of cardboard inserted between stitched lines; I think they were about an inch wide. I remember a bit about those. She never lacked for broom corn. My granddad and some of his sons made and sold brooms made from the broom corn straw. I remember the building and machines they used. That might be interesting to pursue as a memory blog. I think I have a little booklet in which daddy’s wages were written for the time he worked for his dad. Of course, that was after he married. I’m sure he did not receive wages while single and living at home

  6. calmkate says:

    what a special bonnet, grandma and memory .. really delightful thanks for sharing Oneta 🙂

  7. I’ve not seen one with the straw inserts—that is really cleaver and I’m sure was a way to create ventilation

  8. judyjourneys says:

    I remember hearing my grandmother say to my cousins, who lived on the farm with her: “Make sure you wear a hat. You’re going out in the sun.” I still have a similar bonnet that was made for me as part of a costume for reenactment of pioneers in my second-grade May Day celebration. Do you remember when the schools celebrated May Day? It was quite an event in Maryland.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I don’t think we do that so much here because Oklahoma children generally are immersed in Oklahoma Day with the story and acting out of the Sooners. That is in April I think.

  9. Dawn Marie says:

    Such a priceless gem…worth its weight in heavenly gold.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks for understanding how much I value it. When we are/were young, we let so many treasures lie in ruins, or cast them out deliberately. I wonder what Grandma would have said or how she would have felt if I had told her she was a very fine artist to put her bonnets together like that. I’m sure I just said something like, “Thanks, Grandma, that is pretty.” Blah. Blah

  10. luckyjc007 says:

    A beautiful story. 🙂

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