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Ogletree celebrates birthday with hat party

Most people attending birthday parties take a present for the honoree.

That wasn’t the case when Imadelle Ogletree celebrated her 92nd birthday November 16 at The Willows.

Instead Mrs. Ogletree displayed the 51 hats she had collected for some 30 years and told her friends to take home whichever ones they wanted.

The hats were of all colors and many different styles. They were whimsical and funny and serious and elegant. They were made of straw and felt, feathers and silk flowers, netting and even silver lame’. Almost all were the wide-brimmed, picture-frame hats that Mrs. Ogletree frequently wore to church on Sunday.

The birthday party officially started at 2 p.m., but many friends came early. They laughed and complimented each other as they tried on the hats. Even the men attending the party enjoyed the scene as they sampled the birthday cake and other refreshments.

The Rev. Rex Kent, pastor of First Baptist Church, encouraged the women of his congregation to wear the hats to church the next day. Several said they planned on doing just that.

When Mrs. Ogletree closed up her house, she had no room for her collection at The Willows. Her friend Barbara Parten agreed to store them. The two had been thinking about hosting a "hat party," but, said Mrs. Parten, "we just haven’t had time." Mrs. Ogletree’s birthday was the perfect occasion to make presents of her hats.

Mrs. Ogletree’s two sons were responsible for many of the hats in her collection. She made sure to wear each of the gifts at least once. Whenever she did, the compliments always came her way, especially from the men.

Hats not claimed by her friends were donated to the Canebrake Players for the theater group’s costume collection.

The only tears shed during the birthday celebration came when Eloise Harris and Dean Harris, president and vice president of the Music Study Club, presented Mrs. Ogletree with a certificate naming her an honorary member of the club. She joined the group in 1959.