The Hat Bronzed with Love

Posted on Mon, 02/14/2011 - 06:00

On this special day of love, Reed Milnes, Volunteer Services Coordinator, tells us a bit about a very special gift that Walt gave Lillian for her birthday during the Valentine's season.

Humor is best shared with those you love. Walt shared a lifetime of laughter with the world, but more importantly, he shared love and laughter with his family and friends. His playful sense of humor inspired our lives and was inspired by his own. Images and stories of the relationship Walt shared with his wife Lilly, showed the depth and humor they fostered. Whether celebrating their anniversary playfully dancing at the Golden Horseshoe Review, or in candid photos taken in an automatic photo booth, Walt and Lilly showed the unique bond forged by love and laughter. 

Often at the center of the laughter and fun was one of Walt’s beloved hats. Worn at a jaunty rakish angle, this ever-present fixture became the frequent muse for exchanges between Lilly and Walt. When asked to “fix” his hat, Walt would often respond with an exaggerated crush of the hat on his head. Lilly would occasionally abscond with his hat, sailing it far out of reach before Walt could rescue it from her clutches. A tale fondly recounted is of Lilly offering Walt’s hat as an accolade following a bullfight, flinging it into the ring. It was one of Walt’s favorites, and he narrowly rescued it before it was lost to tradition and a dusty demise. 

Their love and laughter withstood the test of time. Celebrating this, was another of Walt’s hats, The Hat Bronzed with Love. In a gift presented to Lilly on her birthday in 1941, she found a cascade of violets pouring over their vase. In removing the flowers, their container was revealed to be Walt’s favorite hat with the crown shaped into a heart and preserved in bronze.  His crumpled fedora, carrying the beautiful bouquet and boasting his feelings, leaves no doubt that laughter and love go hand-in-hand.



Reed Milnes
Volunteer Coordinator