Another Request for Your
from Lona King
Lona King is collecting stories of
veterans of all eras for a book. Proceeds will go to the
Mancelona Historical Society to start a museum. (Hopefully,
she will be more successful than we have been. DM)
I am collecting stories and pictures of veterans of all
eras. Also requesting civilian stories of those who worked in
areas unconventional for the time (i.e., riveters, assembly
lines, forestry, coal mines, farms, etc.) My intention is to
include your story in a book. Stories of those who have passed
away are also wanted, even if you have a relative who was in
the Civil War. I can be contacted in the evening at
231-587-9707. The following information is requested:
- Name, Date of Service, Age when entered service; Highest
rank achieved; Where were you stationed and when?
- Civilian Job: Where did you work and when?
- Medals and commendations earned. What did you do to get
- What is your favorite war story? What is the story you
tell most often?
- What was the funniest thing that happened during your
- What events and places can you remember like it was
- Did you have combat experience? Where? What happened?
- What was the most heroic thing that you witnessed?
- What impact did your service have on your family? What
do they remember of it?
- Who were your best buddies. Do you attend reunions?
- How did your experiences change you?
- What would you like people to remember most about the
I give my permission to use my stories in the book and
related promotional material.
6975 W. Blue Lake Road
Kalkaska, Michigan 49646
Derby, boater, bonnet collector loves them all
From the Bay City Times
February 18, 2002
If Kathleen Melville-Hall had her way,
today's women would return to the bygone days of the 1930s and
' 40s when wearing hats was vogue.
Her whimsical notion aside, this retired
U.S. Navy reservist instead contents herself with collecting,
restoring and wearing vintage hats.
Around St. Bernard Catholic Church in
Alpena, she's known as the "hat lady" because she attends
services wearing a straw boater, a red beret or any of the
other estimated 300 hats in her personal collection.
"I'm a character and they know it," she
freely admits. "Did you know that 80 percent of your
body's heat loss is through your head? If I'm going to
go out in the weather, I figure I might as wee go out in
something I like."
Melville-Hall shares her passion for hats
with others through her antique business, Kats Hats &
Antiques. She maintains a booth inside the antique mall
in downtown Alpena where she sells vintage hats and
Melville-Hall's penchant for hats started
at a young age. Born and raised in Alpena, she recalls
the annual "event" of shopping for Easter bonnets with her
"I was born in 1940 when everybody wore
hats. It was pre-Vatican II when Catholics were required to
wear hats to church," she said. "I was an event to shop for
the annual Easter bonnet. My mother and I used to love trying
on hats. that started my love of hats."
She laments that the first 30 or so hats
she acquired got away from her after a messy divorce. As a
young mother living in Texas when her marriage ended, she
decided to move back to Alpena and was forced to leave behind
many of her belongings, including the hats.
Later, with her two sons in tow, she
entered college at Michigan State University. Because money
was scarce, she routinely shopped in thrift stores and
happened upon a balck Edwardian-style hat that she purchased
for only a few dollars at St. Vincent De Paul in Lansing.
"It's very jaunty," she said. "This was the
start of my collecting again."
Whenever she comes across a vintage hat of
unknown origin, she reports to what she calls her "Dick Tracy
thing" and looks for clues to help determine age. Hat labels,
workmanship, embellishments and fabric all can provide telling
details. She also relies on several resource books to help her
date her finds.
Mellville-Hall praises the careful
workmanship of milliners who once did everything by hand,
including pleating grosgrain ribbons, stitching spangles on
veils or adding cluster of handmade silk flowers to make each
After 25 years as a U.S. Navy reservist,
during which she got called up and served overseas for both
the Bosnia conflict and the Persian Gulf War, Melville-Hall
retired Jan. 1, 2001.