I'm not sure if it's a hobby or a lifestyle. But for decades Wanda Mulvihill has collected hats. And she collects them, not just to hang on the wall and show them off, but to wear them.
She's in her 80s now. And her habit of never leaving the house without a hat goes way back. Back before she was married even, but especially then. All the way up until today. Hat, and gloves, too.
"I don't leave the house unless I have a hat on," said Mulvihill.
And she has plenty of styles to choose from in her collection of nearly 200 hats. Some are in boxes, but most are hanging up on the walls so she can see them. The oldest of these hats goes back to her mothers' day. The newest she just got in the mail from a niece in Chicago. Sort of an unusual hat, too.
"It's made of paper."
Wanda Mulvihill is fond of unusual hats. And has been known to doctor on a hat to make it stand out even more. For instance, her favorite Easter hat.
"My oldest sister crocheted me a white Stetson hat and it took me five hours to bore holes in plastic eggs and sew them on that hat. But I won first prize at the mall," said Mulvihill.
Of her hats, the one she picked to wear to Church Saturday afternoon was one of the red ones. She likes the bright colors. Plans to be buried in a red hat; and, as she told me, and a gaudy red dress.
"And a hat on my coffin instead of flowers and put the hat in to go."
Some people are what they eat. Wanda Mulvihill is what she wears.
"I'm just called the Hat Lady," she laughed.
Every town needs a hat lady. Natchez has Wanda Mulvihill. But don't count her as an eccentric just because she's never seen away from home without a hat. She's just always in style.
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