Rain Bonnet

We finally have some sun here on the Gulf Coast after a few weeks of clouds and spotty rain showers. It got me to thinking about the story I previously wrote about my Grandmother’s Pocketbook.

“I paid Doris Leigh seven dollars and fifty two cents to do my hair, and 
I’m not about to ruin it in the rain!”

Inside the pocketbook were several interesting things.  One of them being a rain bonnet.  Do you remember those?  I’m sure your Grandmother had one too.

For those of you who never had a proper Grandmother, or lived in the desert, the rain bonnet was a small, plastic scarf, that folded accorrdian-style into a tiny packet.

“Pardon me?  I can’t hear a word you say! But my hair looks as pretty as a peach!”

Both of my Grandmothers had plastic head covers. They looked hilarious, but now that I think about it, were very practical.  Especially when you had your hair “done” once a week at Bee Bee’s Beauty Parlor.

That round mound of hair had to last from Sunday morning services to the Eastern Star on Saturday  night.

“If I wrap my head in toilet paper, and sleep mostly upright on a silk pillowcase, then my hair should look presentable for next Thursday’s WMU Missions Bazar.  – Why, John!  NO!  You’ll dishevel my hair!  – hee, hee, hee – The WMU!  The WMU!!!!”

Years ago, on a sweltering summer morning, my Alabama Grandmother and I were caught beneath a fruit stand during a sudden downpour. She offered me a rain bonnet of my own (how clever to have a spare), but I almost fainted with pre-teen embarrassment at the thought of putting one of those things on my head!

This one is a rain “hood” – but we always said “bonnet.”  
“Hood” was a little too urban sounding.

Moments later, she looked beautifully coiffed behind the giant Lincoln’s steering wheel, while I sat next to her on the bench seat looking like a drowned rat.

The rain bonnets were in more demand back then, because hair dryers were a rarity and downright inconvenient.
The source of many a burned ear tip.

I always referred to the modern hand held dryer as a “blow dryer” until I called a New York hotel years ago to inquire as to whether or not they had a “blow dryer” in the room, and they didn’t know what in the heck I was talking about until I finally said –  ” For your HAIR – TO DRY YOUR HAIR.”  Oh, a hair dryer? Well, yes.  They had that. Why didn’t I just say so in the first place?

No telling what they thought I was talking about.

Thank goodness gracious I didn’t ask for a rain bonnet!

Click here to read the original “Inside The Brown Pocketbook.”

Find this story and other awesome sources of inspiration at: Cedar Hill Ranch, From My Front Porch to YoursCommon Ground, Homespun Happenings, Alderberry Hill  and French Country Cottage.

Leave a comment 10 Comments


  1. says

    My aunt used rain bonnets and I am sure mama did. My mama had BIG hair in the sixties. My aunt would have a hissy fit because I throw a baseball cap on my 33 hairs and never use an umbrella. I am utterly casual.

  2. says

    These things bring back memories! My grandmother always had some handy. I wouldn’t go near them either! I would much rather look like a drowned rat!

  3. Anonymous says

    Loved your memories of your Grandmother. You were right about the rain bonnet being an important part of protecting their investment of time and money in those puffy hair styles.
    A. Pat

  4. says

    What memories, I had forgotten how hair was supposed to “stay” for several days. Thank you for the chuckles and some fine memories that surfaced!

  5. Helena says

    My daughter who is 21 and extremely attractive, goes to a lot of outdoor music concerts where umbrellas are not allowed, and always takes a nylon raincoat and a concertina rain bonnet with her ‘just in case’. She knows they’re not the ultimate in cool, but doesn’t care too much, and anyway figures anybody who is wearing one of those useless plastic ponchos, or has a Safeways bag over their head as a makeshift version of her proper, purpose-designed rain hat, doesn’t have a leg to stand on if they have any comment.

  6. Angela M says

    In the 60s in Australia everybody from age 3 up wore them. I wore them all through high school even though I had an umbrella from age about 12 – it was just easier than carting a wet brolly around, finding some way of drying it, and you were always worried some cow was going to pinch it if you left it lying around. So the plastic rain hat was much easier all round, and I kept the umbrella for weekends, until the smaller ‘telescopic’ type came out just as I was starting University in the late 60s.

    My older sister was one of those kids that stayed out all night at sydney airport in the rain to see the Beatles in 1964. If you ever see old news footage of that scene you’ll notice most of the girls were wearing plastic raincoats and rainhats. She asked me as she left if she could borrow one because she didn’t want to risk her umbrella being damaged or lost or stolen. I gave her the one from my raincoat pocket, it had yellow flowers or something on it so she didn’t like it because it was too little-girly. Eventually we found a new plain one instead and she was happy with that. Seems incredible now that one design of plastic rain hat was once seen as more ‘cool’ than another.

    I still have a couple for emergencies. I completely agree with Helena and her daughter about them being much better than the alternatives.

  7. Helena says

    I’ve always had them in my handbag or coat pocket, and quite often wear one. I remember when I was in primary school towards the end of the 60s I had one I specially liked, it had a printed pattern of little white umbrellas.

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