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Red Hat Cuties: Seniors paint ceramics and celebrate life

Posted: March 23, 2009 1:26 a.m.
Updated: March 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Christ's Red Hat Cuties, front to back on right, Rosie Rico, Debbie Cordova, Evelyn Novak, Flip Bollinger, Rita McGranahan and, front to back on left, Terry Marracino, Maria Falasca, Kathi Veal, and Linda Mano laugh and chat while painting their ceramics at Color Me Mine in Valencia March 6.

Queen Momma Rita McGranahan, dressed in purple pajamas and a red bonnet, browsed the ceramics at the Color Me Mine in Valencia.

She found the "Red Hat Society" section, browsed the selection, and picked up a teapot with an elaborate ceramic hat as its lid.

Her eyes glazed over the other ceramics sitting on the shelf and landed on a teacup sitting on a saucer with little flowers adorning the edges.

She found what she wanted to paint.

Color Me Mine is a "paint your own pottery studio" where guests choose a ceramic piece and paint it however they like.

More women entered the store decked out in purple pajamas and red head accessories, laughing at one another's outfits while greeting with hugs.

They meandered through each section of Color Me Mine to search for their own ceramic piece.

Once each red hatter picked out her item, she selected her colors, sat down, and began to paint.

While painting, the women laughed and held conversations about their children, grandchildren, husbands, and life in general.

This Red Hat Society chapter, known as Christ's Red Hat Cuties, threw a pajama party to do what they do best: celebrate life to the fullest.

The Red Hat Society is a national group of women aged 50 and beyond who get together to celebrate growing up at every stage.

According to the Red Hat Society's official Web site, the society started through the inspiration of a poem called "Warning" by Jenny Joseph, an English poet born in 1932.

The poem depicts an older woman in purple clothing with a red hat (a mismatch done on purpose), enjoying life by doing whatever her heart desires.

"The point of the Red Hat Society is to have fun," Momma Rita said.

But some chapters decide to go an extra step and organize events that give back to the community.

"We have fun but we also try to do things to bless somebody," Momma Rita said.

Throughout the holiday season, the group of ladies wrapped gifts for free.

They also decorated shoe boxes and filled them with essential needs (like toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc) to bless a less fortunate child.

The Christ's Red Hat Cuties were established in 2005 when Momma Rita's friends dared her to start a chapter locally.

"Don't dare me to do anything," Momma Rita said. "They said if I started one that they would join. So I did."

The red hatters meet twice every two months to plan out their events.

"We try to do something once a month," Momma Rita said. "But sometimes we'll do two a month and skip one month. It depends on our schedules."

Roughly sixteen women are members of Christ's Red Hat Cuties.

The group is registered online through the official Red Hat Society Web site.

Women looking to join a red hat chapter can visit the Web site and search by location.

That's how Cindy Tiekenski, of Canyon Country, found the group.

"What's funny is that (Momma Rita) and I live in the same complex, a street away from one another," Tiekenski said.

In April, the Red Hatters plan to bake cookies and take them to local fire stations.

"Each member is responsible for baking six dozen cookies," Momma Rita said. "We then wrap them up, put them in baskets, and take them to a local station."

They've baked and brought cookies to six local stations thus far.

In addition to bringing homemade cookies, the ladies also entertain the firemen with a mini performance.

"One of our ladies rewrote the lyrics of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" to "Firemen Are a Girl's Best Friend" and we all sing it to them when we drop off the cookies," Momma Rita said.

"We have a ball and the firemen get a kick out of it too."

For more information, contact Momma Rita at


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