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Tea time in Austin

When Austin resident Kay Scherer was doing a little spring cleaning recently, she came across dozens of hats tucked away in her closet.

“There were all of these beautiful hats wrapped up in plastic that I hadn’t worn in years,” she said. “I thought, ‘Gee, I need to do something with these.’ ”

Thursday afternoon, about 40 women at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home had an opportunity to don their finest, while spending an afternoon sipping tea, eating finger sandwiches and scones, listening to music — and trying on a number of Scherer’s 38 summer hats.

They called the event a “Summertime High Tea.”

Resident Gladys Lillie selected a gold-studded, bright, multi-colored hat to wear during the tea.

“I think it’s darling. What a nice afternoon,” Lillie said.

Scherer has been collecting hats since 1991 when she first met her husband, Art Scherer, who is now a resident at St. Mark’s.

“He loved me to wear hats,” Kay said. “Between his love of hats, and my love of hats, I collected a lot of them.”

Because women do not wear hats very often anymore, Kay said hers simply sit in the closet until she has a wedding to attend.

In addition to her summer headpieces, Kay has at least 25 winter hats; she may plan a Winter Tea at the home later this year where residents can try them on.

“It’s something special to do for the women here,” Kay said, noting that it reminded her of taking part in the High Tea at the Ritz Carleton in Naples, Fla., when she lived there.

St. Mark’s activities assistant Jess Cochran said almost all of the female residents attended the Tea.

“We even had to turn away a couple of men,” Kay said. “We just pointed them down the hall, told them to have a cup of coffee instead.”