Colorful hats rule the roost in Viera

Winnie Bowcock, of Viera Florida, has worn hats for as long as she can remember.


At 93, Winnie Bowcock has a simple tip for single women who might not like their dating status.

Wear a hat.

“I used to tell girls if you want a man to talk to you, wear a hat,’’ said Bowcock, who moved to Indian River Colony Club in 1989 with her late husband, Stuart. 

“They’re not hitting on me, but men always come up to me and tell me how my hat looks lovely and how they wish their wives would wear one.’’

Bowcock has worn hats for as long as she can remember. She still has a picture of herself  jumping rope at the age of 6 while wearing a hat her mother had knitted.

Bowcock was born in Pennsylvania, but spent most of her youth in Annapolis, Maryland. That’s where she met her husband, who was teaching midshipmen after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. She had taken a government job working with marine engineers after  graduating from high school.

They got married after dating for just a year.  Bowcock was 26 and her husband was 30. They had three daughters and a son. The son was born while they were stationed in Paris. Stuart  Bowcock died five years ago.

Bowcock, who works for the  charitable store Angels in the  Attic, has three dozen hats that are stored in 36 decorative  hat boxes.

“My favorite color is purple,’’ Bow-cock said. “I love royal purple and lavender. Sometimes, my friends will say, ‘Here comes the Queen Mum.’ They think I’m like Queen Elizabeth, who’s six months older than me. But, she’s still working and I’m retired.’’

Besides purple hats, Bowcock has black hats, red hats, peach hats and blue hats. There also are felt hats for the winter and straw hats for the spring or summer.

“I like big, wide brim hats of any color,’’ Bowcock said. “I think  they look elegant and everyone may as well see it. It’s not like a cap on the back of a head. A hat makes a statement.’’

When the weather is warm, Bowcock likes to do water  aerobic classes at IRCC.

Unfortunately, Bowcock always seems to have a friend that is ill. Instead of sending a greeting card, she prefers to give away  her baked bread.

“I love baking what I call  friendship bread,’’ Bowcock said. “If it’s a clear day and I’m not  busy in the thrift store, I’ll bake my little loaves. I’ll make strawberry, blueberry, date nut, zucchini or banana. If somebody is sick, I’d rather give them a piece of bread. They can’t eat a card.’’

On Tuesday mornings, Bowcock takes SAIL classes. She likes to take a Bible study class, a history class and an exercise class.

“The classes are so cheap,’’  Bowcock said. “All the people teaching the classes are  professionals. I really love to read.’’