Felt Hat Day, Make a Hat Day, Linguine Day

~★~♥~♥~★~ El Morno! ♥~★~★~♥ ~
September 15, 2013

bear in pool

★~ Today’s Quote:  “For no matter what the world, men who deal in headwear are men to be trusted above any other.”  ― Frank Beddor, Hatter M, Vol. 1: The Looking Glass Wars

★~  Felt Hat Day:

Mayor Richard M Daley

When a man wears a hat these days, it’s likely to be a baseball cap, a ski cap or maybe one of those trendy little fedoras with the skinny brims. But it wasn’t always that way, of course. To celebrate felt hat day, El Morno, will share about a Chicago hat maker below under Good to Know.

★~ Make a Hat Day:

paper hat 3

Paper plates, ribbon, glitter (for the brave), glue, and lots of bric-a- brac and doo-dad’s  makes this a fun project for kids. A fancy hat is fun or perhaps a  hat for pirates day which will be celebrated on September 19!

★~ Linguine Day:


Linguine (often misspelled “Linguini”) is a long, flat, narrow type of pasta most common in seafood or pesto dishes such as linguine alle vongole (“linguine with clams”). Linguine, which means “little tongues” in Italian, originates from the Liguria region of Italy.  Have a favorite linguine dish? Serve it tonight in honor of National Linguine Day! Emeril’s Day Off Linguine

★~ Today in History:


♥~ 1857 – Timothy Alden of New York City earned a patent for the typesetting machine. Newspaper and magazine publishers were very happy, as the machine made the production of these publications much faster and easier to accomplish … making them more timely.

♥~ 1930 – Hoagy Carmichael recorded Georgia on My Mind on the Victor label. Carmichael composed the song (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell) that has has been recorded by Ray Charles and many other artists over the years. Georgia on My Mind became the official state song of Georgia in 1979.

♥~ 1949 – The Lone Ranger premiered on ABC-TV. Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels played Tonto. The series ran through Sep 12, 1957.

♥~ 1965 – It was a grand time in Hooterville. Oliver (Wendell) Douglas and his socialite wife Lisa; storekeeper Sam Drucker; Arnold the Pig and a whole bunch of funny neighbors showed up at Green Acres on CBS-TV. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor headed a memorable cast in this, the first of six seasons on the network.

♥~ 1982 – USA Today , was published for the first time.  The paper was called “The Nation’s Newspaper.” Critics called the satellite-transmitted, colorful, splashy, somewhat glitzy publication, “News McNugggets,” “The Nation’s Comic Book” and the winner of the “Pulitzer Prize for Best Investigative Paragraph.” USA Today — now with editions throughout the world — has changed the shape of newspapers everywhere. Many have imitated the fast-reading format pioneered by USA Today in an attempt to revitalize the suffering newspaper industry.

♥~ 1986 – LA Law premiered on NBC-TV.

♥~ 1997 – Elton John’s Candle in the Wind 1997 sold more than 600,000 copies in its first day in British stores. At one Tower Records in London, 1,000 copies of the Princess Diana tribute were snatched up in less than 90 minutes. The single was released in the U.S. on Sep 23 and hit #1 Oct 11.

★~Born Today:

Prince Harry

♥~ 1890 – Agatha (Marie Clarissa) Christie (Miller) writer: Murder on the Orient Express, 65 other mysteries; playwright: The Mousetrap [world’s longest running play]; died Jan 12, 1976

♥~ 1946 – Tommy Lee Jones Academy Award-winning actor: The Fugitive [1993]; House of Cards, The Client, Natural Born Killers, JFK, Coalminer’s Daughter, Batman Forever, Volcano, U.S. Marshals; Emmy Award-winner: The Executioner’s Song [1982-1983]

♥~ 1946 – Oliver Stone – Academy Award-winning director: Born on the Fourth of July [1989], Platoon [1986]; Wall Street, JFK, Natural Born Killers

♥~ 1971 – Josh Charles actorThe Good Wife, After.Life, Fast Track, Four Brothers, Seeing Other People, Our America, Muppets From Space, Noram Jean and Marilyn

♥~ 1984 – Prince Harry (Henry Charles Albert David) third in line to the British throne

★~ Good to Know:


If you take a look at a 1916 photo of a crowd on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, you will notice that nearly every man is wearing a hat. There was a time when most men wore hats most of the time. And a hat did more than keep your head warm. The hat that a man wore – and the way he wore it – said a lot.

Men in hats at train

As a result of all this hat-wearing, there were once dozens of hatmakers in Chicago.

Today, there is just one maker of fedoras and other classic men’s hats left — Optimo Hats in the Beverly neighborhood.

The owner and chief hatmaker is Graham Thompson, a Chicago kid who loved old movies — and hats.

“I love the old film noirs. I used to watch those with my dad, and one of the first objects that I really wanted was a good hat,” he said.

In high school, Graham’s love of hats led him to a south side hatmaker named Johnny Tyus.

“When I made my way to his shop, it was just the coolest thing ever, watching him steam, block, make hats, and the characters that would come into his store, from blues legends to businessmen,” he said. “He had out of state customers and international customers.”

In 1995, Graham returned from college with a degree in economics and Japanese. When he stopped by Johnny’s hat shop, Johnny broke the news that he was closing up the store and retiring.

“By the time I got home, I thought, I wonder what he’s doing with his business?” he said. “I picked up the phone and talked to him and we worked out a deal that week for me to take over his business; that I would pay him over a certain amount of years and he would train me.”

Graham bought all of Johnny’s equipment and opened Optimo Hats in Beverly. Johnny stayed on for several years as employee and mentor. And for Graham Thompson, that was heaven.

“He loved hats like I did, so I’d ask him questions like, why is this felt so good? Why does that brim snap so well?” he said.

Optimo makes both straw and felt hats. Their felt is made from wild animal furs, primarily beaver.

“Most felt hats you see are made out of wool,” said Graham. “Wool is one of the lowest quality things that you can make hats out of.”

The felt arrives looking like what they call “hillbilly” hats.

“Then, at our workshop, we form our hats, and they’re formed over blocks. We have many different blocks, different sizes, crown heights, and shapes,” said Graham.

Then they go to the trimming department where the sewing is done. The sweatbands are sewn in, and the ribbons and linings are added.

The brim is cut to the right width and the hat goes into another form to give the brim just the right curve.

One regular customer is radio personality, writer, and Motel 6 spokesman, Tom Boddett. He says he never wore nice hats until he stopped in the store on a visit to Chicago.

“I honestly wouldn’t have considered it until I came in here and started throwing hats on my head, and it’s like they looked good for the first time ever,” said Boddett. “And I always felt like I looked like a clown in a hat. You put a hat like this on, and it’s like…actually, that’s a pretty handsome looking guy over there, that’s not a clown.”

Boddett admits that hats have turned into a kind of obsession for him. Today, he bought his fourth hat. And at $650 to $1,000 a pop, it’s an expensive habit.

“I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes generally because I’m not in a line of work that I have to dress a lot,” said Boddett. “I tend to buy really nice stuff, but I don’t have to buy a lot of it, so I’m applying the same thing to my hats. Although these hats are becoming more of a habit than I thought they were going to be. But the fact that these are the kind of hats that I can pass down to my kids and even their kids if everybody takes care of them; for me, makes it justifiable.”

And Tom Boddett isn’t the only celebrity wearing Optimo hats. The list of musicians and actors that have walked through these doors is pretty long and illustrious.

“Good hats are unusual today, and that’s kind of nice in a way,” said Graham. “I mean, our customers do not want to be like everybody else, dress like everybody else, and just fit in. That’s not what hats are about, especially today.”

“It’s not the kind of thing that’s going to go out of style, or if it does, it’s going to come back in,” said Boddett. “So, stick it in a hat box, it’ll be in somebody’s attic and somebody will dust it off, maybe 75, 80 years from now and say, ‘That’s a beautiful hat. I’m going to wear it.’”

And by the way, if the felt hats sound expensive ($650 -$1,000), you should know that Optimo’s straw hats — with woven straw imported from Equador — sell for $400 to $20,000.


My teen went to bed at 9:30pm last night very grateful to be out of a tent, off the ground and in his ceiling bed – Telling me, “Mom, I think I’m too old to sleep on the ground.” I have a story to share later, but suffice to say, I’m very glad he is sleeping in his ceiling bed too!  And when he wakes up we’re off to Sally’s for breakfast!

Wishing you a stellar Sunday.

Odd Loves Company!


12 thoughts on “Felt Hat Day, Make a Hat Day, Linguine Day

  1. Morno,
    It must have been beary hot. I have a felt hat that belong to my Dad. They do last forever and wear great. Linguine is tasty. I like it best with a white sauce.
    Household chores today and dinner at my sisters. We are having pork chops and a pie was requested.
    Enjoy your day and your boy.

  2. Never thought much about hats until I joined the”Red Hat” group. Now I have we’ll over15-20 Red Hats. I am short so never thought I should wear one, but there are so many different styles, I just wear whatever suits my fancy for the day. Being a wide brim or short one. Some I paid a,lot for and some I bought cheap with no trimmings and styled them myself with feathers, pearls,etc.
    Raining here this morning, so never got my walk in but slept in, which felt great. On the chilly side too so will fix something for dinner that requires the oven. Keep dry and warm today.

    • Love your red had picture. You look super in a hat. I saw some women on a red hat outing not to long ago and thought about you. They looked like they were having a great time.
      It rained all day but minus the lightening and thunder. It was really nice. Sleeping in on a rainy morno is the best.

  3. at least the bear did not deflate the pool!
    every time i see a man wearing a hat, i think of my dad. i have no idea what type he wore or where it got to. if i wasn’t so young, i just might have snared the hat for safe keeping. good for the chicago kid for buying the shop & continuing the hat making tradition. we need more stories like this!
    i like my spaghettis with red sauce. meatballs, sausage an added bonus.
    hard rain this afternoon. not very long, but we’ll take it.
    i bet cole was happy to be back in his bed. 9:30 bedtime!
    good day!

    • The bear seems a little wistful –maybe hoping the kids will come out to play 😀 Hats are fun. We have a few of Joe’s and his dad’s.
      It rained all day here minus the lightening and thunder. It was really nice. I’m glad you had some in your neck of the woods too.

  4. Kb, I love your story of Graham Thompson taking over the hat business! How cool is that, having a legend right in your midst??
    I’m not much of a hat person. I do like them for warmth in winter, and a baseball cap at least is good for sun-blocking in a football stadium. But never ask me to part with my cowboy hat!
    Washed a load of clothes, shopped for groceries, and groomed the Sheltie already — busy Sunday.
    Glad to hear Cole made it home OK. Nothing like sleeping outside on the ground to make one appreciate the finely-feathered nest you’ve made for him!

    • It is a very cool hat store. Cole and I stopped in to look. The hats are beautiful. I love hates, but unfortunately they look awful on me. I do wear a baseball cap from time to time–for the reason you mentioned keeping the sun out of my eyes.
      They are camping for two nights the end of this week and I think my dear boy will take his mat with him this time even if it adds a little weight.

  5. Morno,
    My dad always wore a felt hat in the winter and a straw hat in the summer. He looked very dapper. I look awful in hats.
    Linguine Alfredo is one of my favorite pasta dishes.
    Went to church this morning, and I’m laying low this afternoon. My allergies have been wearing me out so I am spending the day reading and maybe trying to catch a nap,
    Enjoy your day.

  6. I love hats..wish they were more popular..a hat sure can cover a bad hair day..and keeps the blasted sun off one’s face.
    Linguine with pesto sounds great..must make some tomorrow..
    Good that Cole is home safe and sound. 😀

    • Just made some pesto and plan to use it on Linguine tomorrow night. Yum. Bad hair looks better on my than a hat–both you and my mom wear them so well!

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