Hats and Newspapers by Kathryn Curto

Featured Artwork “Father, Mother and Child” by Emanuela Iorga

I wear beanies.

When I tug that soft circle of wool onto my head and down over my ears, I’m twenty years younger. In my forties, that may have been the reason for loving them, but not anymore. The fifties are different. Now I just adore the way my head feels held together and pleasantly compressed. Like a girdle for my thoughts. And God knows, they need support.

Then there’s this: I’m hopelessly devoted to reading the actual newspaper. And I call it the paper. This makes me even more hopeless and devoted.

But the newspaper and the hat together? That hasn’t happened in decades.

My father called me names, made me cry, and one time even threw my plate of Easter frittata at the wall because he said I was being fresh. But he was the best newspaper hat maker ever. When we made them together, mean names and hot tears and broken plates of frittata melted from my view.

What I saw instead: Ink-stained, rolling fingers folding paper creases with care. Hands guiding mine, never pressing hard, never pinching or hurting. Thin smoke lines from his cigarette in the ashtray, rising from its tip.


They were newspaper masterpieces. Edges, crisp and sharp. Corners, tight. I remember trying to read the headlines when they were done.

“C’mere closer, doll,” he’d say.

Then he’d take a long drag, exhale, place the hat on my head and wink. Those were good days. When my father’s corners were loose. Edges soft.


Kathy Curto teaches at Sarah Lawrence College/The Writing Institute, Montclair State University, and The Writers Circle as well as several nonprofit organizations and community centers in the metropolitan area. She is the author of Not for Nothing-Glimpses into a Jersey Girlhood. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, on NPR, in the anthology Listen to Your Mother:  What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, and in Barrelhouse, Oh Reader, The Mom Egg Review, Drift and Talking Writing among others.  Her piece, “Still Cooking Side by Side '', considered a “Modern Love in miniature” by The New York Times, was included in The Best of Tiny Love Stories in August 2021. Kathy lives with her family in the Hudson Valley.  Please visit: www.kathycurto.com.

Emanuela Iorga is a filmmaker, artist, and screenwriter, who lives in Chisinau, Moldova. Art represents for her a recently rediscovered passion, following a series of world and inner changes. She was previously published in Jet Fuel Review, Beyond Words, and Please See Me. Her work can also be found at https://manolcaincosmos.wordpress.com/270

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