A whole lot of hats

Published 8:37 am Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wesleigh Kimlick, the daughter of Franklin Baptist Church pastor Brent Kimlick and his wife, Michelle, wears a hat she received from Amy Simms. -- Don Bridgers | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Wesleigh Kimlick never wears a hat twice, nor does she have a favorite hat in her collection of 36.

“I love every one of these hats,” the 12-year-old said. “They all have a special story.”

The daughter of Brent and Michelle Kimlick, Wesleigh began collecting hats about four years ago.

The book “She’s Wearing a Dead Bird On Her Head” was her inspiration.

“(After reading it), I started wearing my mom’s hats,” Wesleigh said.

As more people learned about her interest in hats, they contributed to her collection.

At Christmas, Wesleigh’s grandmother, Jeanne Kimlick of Charlotte, N.C., gave Wesleigh a black beret she’d worn 60 years ago when she visited the parents of her future husband.

“I was very excited,” Wesleigh said. “She told me she had gloves and her little purse (to go with the hat).”

Wesleigh also has a leopard print hat from the same grandmother and another beret-style hat from her great-great-grandmother. Michelle Kimlick believes the latter dates back to the early 1900s.

Amy Simms, a member of Franklin Baptist Church, where Wesleigh’s father is the pastor, gave Wesleigh a hat with a feather, and member Lynn Bittick made four hats for Wesleigh.

She only wears her hats on special occasions, like for church and tea parties.

Wesleigh has a red hat she wears on Pentecost Sunday and initiated a hat day at her church. She sent letters to all of the women of the church, inviting them to participate.

“About half of the people wore hats,” she said. ”Some of the men wore top hats.”

Wesleigh also likes to shop for hats at Roses Department Store in Franklin.

Michelle Kimlick is not surprised at her daughter’s passion for hats.

“She’s always been a dress-up girl,” she said.