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The Organization for Women of the Sea Services

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WAVES National Michigan Unit 32 Newsletter

Dolores Maillette
shorelines@womenofthewaves.com
Editor

March/April  2002

"WOMEN OF THE SEA SERVICES"

March/April  2002

Another Request for Your Story
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 them?
  • What is your favorite war story? What is the story you tell most often?
  • What was the funniest thing that happened during your service?
  • What events and places can you remember like it was yesterday?
  • 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 war?

I give my permission to use my stories in the book and related promotional material.

Signed:____________________Date:_______

Mail to:  
Lona King
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 other collectibles.

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 mother.

"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 hat special.

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.

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