Sun spots collecting on red scarf with tiger print straw hat.

Photos by Diana in the midst of the party.

This past weekend The SC attended a retirement party for a dear friend who owns a home with her partner in the  mountains.  Susan was a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Denver, and the gathering included many of us who had worked as therapists in the 70’s at mental health centers in Denver and the surrounding areas.  The ‘mental health sense of humor’ that I have missed with all my heart was abundant and laughter filled the air in this beautiful setting with its rugged terrain.

As I looked around at the many faces that I hold dear, I became aware of the people who were part of this grouping but are no longer physically present.  The number was significant. I felt a deep sadness at the realization that comes with loss and the awareness that comes with aging, that those of us who have survived/thrived have a relatively limited and unknown amount of time to inhabit our remaining adventures. This has always been true, but now it feels more real. But then I took a second look at the group of people surrounding me, and saw a radiant crowd having fun, telling stories, sharing memories, audacious and alive, reconnecting in the cool mountain air.  Why be maudlin when playful was the motif?

But what will bring me joy as I approach the age of 70?

I have pondered that thought this week, and feel that I need to spend more time outside of myself. Organizing my home is at times an isolated activity.  I have, tucked away in my studio, a line of headwear for women who have hair loss due to medical issues which was designed during my hat shop days in the 80’s. My former business partner was one of the faces missing in the crowd on Saturday. She passed away less than two years before Nelson.  I began to work on this project again several years ago, but as Nelson became more compromised, I launched Style Crone and the headwear project dropped off the agenda.  Now that time has elapsed since cancer was a part of my daily life, I feel ready to once again connect with the health care world, but with healing headwear in hand.  Does this mean that I miss parts of that world? I’m finding that I want to explore the answer to that question and consider incorporating a part of myself that had considerable meaning and was prominent throughout my life span.


  1. well, those two hat ladies were such fun young vibrant women with such dreams…and now with all this wisdom that comes with age, the world is waiting for wonderful hats to cap off beautiful lives. All in time, all in process. Keep us laughing and delighting in costumes for everyday living. It is wonderful watching your butterfly peeking out!

  2. What a wonderful idea, Judith. I wish you all the success in the world.
    Your outfit is glorious and the sunshine playing on your wrap is beautiful. If I have half your style, zest for life and beauty at 70 I’d be a happy woman. xxx

  3. It sounds like a fascinating and fabulous project, combining 2 great concerns/interests of yours, health and headware! That sounds flippant – it isn’t meant to be, we all know how much self-esteem is affected by changes in appearance, especially when a woman is dealing with a life-threatening illness. You are uniquely placed to offer those women something stylish and practical and beautiful and thoughtful.
    And you look amazing in red, that shawl is beautiful. xxxxx

  4. People who have worked in Mental Health care, or volunteered in that area as I have, do have a particular sense of humour – it’s a necessary defense, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to do it. How nice that you were able to get together with former colleagues, and that it sparked thoughts about what you would like to accomplish in the time ahead. I agree that spending time outside of yourself is extremely good for one’s own mental health, as I find that too much time spent by myself, and in my own head, can be a dangerous thing. Your project sounds like an excellent one. And speaking of heads and headwear, that is an awesome hat you’re wearing in the photo!

  5. Thank you so much for the article on mental health and also on hats. I am in the midst of a cancer issue – a very rare cancer that will probably cause hair loss, but that does not bother me at all. I have very short, fine, white, hair and luckily for me, a very nicely shaped head. I have decided that if my chemo cocktail causes hair loss – I will use hats, scarves, bling, fascinators, etc. to carry me through this time. It is not the best of times, but it is certainly not the worst of time.

    Thank you so very much for your kind, considerate and beautiful blog. It helps me more each day than I am sure you might realize.

    Peg (who has pushed 70 to get to 72)!!

  6. Another wonderful hat! Your hat project sounds very exciting and I hope you do take it up again. The scene you paint of the elderly having fun reminds me very much of my own family gatherings where often it was the “oldies” having the most fun and making the rest of us laugh at their stories and teasing of each other!

  7. I think your venture and purpose is calling you. Without your insight from the party and just by being there sounds like it has sparked a new path. Enjoy!

    And on to your hat! I think I need one like it in my closet of hats. Wonderful!

  8. I had to look up your profile to find out you are really 69. I had no idea. How on earth can you still show bare arms and be so pretty? I am truly amazed. Oh yeah and indeed.. Very nice hat and scarf. As to your project… I take off my hat for you.

  9. I hear the stirrings of your heart as you contemplate possibilities intellectually. For me, at times like these, I eventually sense the potential even when I don’t necessarily feel the compelling emotion. Just putting one foot in front of the other, as you’re clearly doing admirably, is enough to get there, though, at just the right time. I have to say the ideas you have, of combining your experience and passion, resonate.

    Sharing time like that with old friends must have been so poignant. You look very beautiful; the red seems especially alive, with it’s supporting energy. I love the pose where your head is dipped down showing off the fabulous hat. I love your bracelets, too.

  10. I just passed my 30th birthday. I tell myself often, “I hope I am as lovely. astounding, and graceful as the SC someday.” I’ve started with my own (small) collection of hats and will begin painting soon. Here’s to it!

  11. Gorgeous red scarf, and the tiger hat is the perfect whimsical touch for this gathering, I think!

    I love your idea – it sounds so authentic, from your heart and from your gifts. Please keep us up to date on how your journey takes you?

    And P.S. “mental health humor” is a phrase I haven’t heard in a while, but it rings true! : >

  12. I look forward to seeing where you go with your new inspiration! Your idea sounds fantastic. At first I thought the tiger print on your hat was shadows from from the trees. You are gorgeous – maybe there was also laughter in the background from your friends nearby.

  13. Think what a blessing it would be for all if you follow this thread for a while. You know what you’re doing, both professionally and spiritually, in the areas of cancer, mental health needs, and of course sartorial advice! This help would be so welcome by so many women, young and old. The humor you speak of, which I know well, is such a good release of tension, not only for patients but for caregivers.
    It is easy, and often necessary, to turn inward after a loss, and refurbishing your home for its new purpose has been important. But as the wise know, one only truly finds joy and purpose in being for others.
    Love from Arabia,

  14. You always seem to come to such a balanced and creative place, Judith. Not that it isn’t without suffering and joy and beauty. It’s like you demonstrate for us, for me, a way of being authentically you in this world. On all levels, too. Letting your experiences, thoughts, and things…intertwine and move backward and forward, ever transforming. I so appreciate being able to read and see and absorb your posts. Thank you.

  15. Hi Judith

    Fabulous hat as always –
    As for your project i think you just might be ready again to pursue that project of yours –
    Like you said it was part of your life, other events occured you put it aside but now you are probably ready to embark! Listen to your inner voice Judith!

    Ariane xxxx

  16. Gorgeous red color. And many of us wrestle with our mortality. Getting philosophical is unavoidable to the reflective. I’m confronting and grappling with the same issues, being my age (54).

  17. You look absolutely gorgeous Judith! What a great hat again. Your idea to start your headwear project again sounds great. Nothing beats having a great project on your hands and who better to take this on than a master head wearer. Good luck!

  18. Beautifully with the red scarf and zebra hat – it works dynamically.

    I think your look back in the mountains and along with your friends bring new idea – it can be exciting. Do what brings you joy and enjoy it

  19. The red scarf is so beautiful on you, and great with the tiger print – and both signaling high energy, a perfect party outfit!

    I really like the headwear project. When you’re down with an illness like cancer there’s not always strength left to deal with things like finding suitable headwear, that will make you feel better. You will be making a big difference to these people’s lives, and there’s hardly a thing more fulfilling than that!

  20. SC when you say, “feel that I need to spend more time outside of myself”, I am relating to this 100%. I’ve recently headed outside of myself after being ‘in’ for maybe too long. Love the red and tiger print, you are beautiful. xo

  21. For some reason, today you remind me of one of my most beloved of fashion icons, that of Ms. Audrey Hepburn, and I see from your project the resemblance is more than topical- like her, you seem intent on spreading goodwill towards those who may be suffering- and offer your wisdom, compassion and style to aid those who would need it most. I look forward in hearing more of this re-newed projects developments!

  22. Judith with your chic fashion sense and wise soulful spirit…your project sounds a perfect gift to to give the world…and those you come in contact with.

    Whether you choose to pursue this project or not…just know how many woman you already influence and inspire…you my dear are a true muse! I am always inspired to be a better version of myself after a ‘visit’ with you. It is your strength and grace during such hard times and your ability to celebrate the beauty around you…that continues to inspire me not to get mired in sadness…and instead….to learn to have selective attention and intention. You have done so very much for me Judith.

  23. Judith, I know your head wear will be beautiful, like you. I spend much time with The Teen on the pediatric ward of the local hospital, and I’m always awed by the sense of humor some of the cancer patients have when it comes to head gear. Once I turned around a corner only to run into a tiny bald girl wearing a glittery purple octopus on her head. She totally rocked it 🙂

    I love your bright red shawl, and your insight into the thoughts most of us have as we age. Dear Hubby is a cancer survivor, and he sometimes reminds me, “Ain’t none of us got no lifetime contract.” He’s right. It’s better to be present and find joy where we can.

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