The Story of the Hat
It was 1968. I was traveling from Pretoria to Johannesburg. I was sitting on the passenger side of the Volvo. As we entered Johannesburg, the driver suddenly stopped and another car came from behind and crashed into us. I went forward and the sun visor cut me right in the centre of my head.
At first I felt nothing, but after a minute or two I felt the blood gushing out of my head. I was put on the sidewalk to sit and relax while the police and the ambulance were on their way. I was now feeling dizzy and confused. All sorts of things were running through my mind. I did not know how long I would have to stay in Johannesburg with my injury. This happened on Thursday, and I had to be back at school in Cape Town on Monday…
The ambulance took me to the General Hospital where they gave me a few stitches and bandaged my head. On the Sunday I left for Cape Town. That Monday I went out to buy myself a hat so that I could cover my injured head when I went to school.
I did not want to walk in the streets with bandages on my head. I did not have a car and had to catch a bus or train to school. From that day onwards I wore a hat, and I am still wearing the same hat today.
One day I was standing with my wife in Sea Point, watching the waves from the Promenade, when suddenly a gust of wind came up from behind and blew my hat into the sea! I was really worried that I have now lost my hat – the waves were taking it further out to sea…
I ran down to the jetty where there were some boats anchored. I asked the owners of the boats to retrieve my hat, and one very helpful sailor brought it back to me. You can imagine how delighted I was!
As the years went by, my hat became part and parcel of the business. I became known as the “Man with the Leather Hat.” The hat also became the logo of the business, and in all my adverts The Hat appears. The Hat is also on all the packaging and products.
At all the functions I would wear my hat, and it became a symbol of my personality. At every Auction Sale I must wear my hat, and at every Hilite Sale I must wear my hat.
The Hat is often used at Hilite for the Lucky Draws. The customers put their names into my hat, and ten lucky customers’ names are drawn. If the curtaining is R 25/m then the lucky customer only pays R 8/m.
When I ran an Auction at a fund-raising function, my hat is sometimes passed around the crowd and people put their donations in it. At one function, because of my hat, they collected an extra R 5000!
The Hat has many stories that will astonish you. In the next edition – Chapter 4 – I will continue with the story of The Hat, and the luck it has brought me.
Now, how did I come to sell curtains?
Every year, or sometimes twice a year, my uncle Moosa (from Moosa’s Sale Room, Johannesburg) used to pick me up from school and we used to go around the factories, and he would buy out clearing lines at ridiculous prices.
One afternoon my uncle picked me up and we went to a certain Bargain Shop. When we got there the shop was closed. There was a man writing down notes. We asked him where the owner of the shop was, and what he was doing there.
He said he was a Messenger of the Court and he had come to attach some goods. We asked who was suing the shopkeeper. He told us, and the following day my uncle and I went to Levi net in Parow.
There my uncle made a deal to buy out all the Terylene curtains. They were sold to him by weight, at R 1 per kg! Terylene being very lightweight, one could get about 10 – 15m per kg!
From there to now! You have to visit us!