Sometimes the smallest of objects leads to a large discussion, particularly with grandchildren. This hatpin was laying on our coffee table a few days ago when my grandson was watching The Hunt for Bin Laden with me. It came from a wide-brimmed sun hat that Lisa bought at the Scottish Games, and was used to pin something decorative on the hat. I hadn’t seen a hatpin in decades.

Oddly enough, I knew that watching the Bin Laden program was okay, but I’d have to turn the TV off or run something recorded when the season premier of Sons of Anarchy came on immediately after. Too much violence. I didn’t want to hear that he had nightmares later.

During a commercial break, he drank from his glass of root beer, then pointed to the hatpin and asked what it was.

“A hatpin.” I said.

“What’s that?”

I explained that it was used to help keep women’s hats on their heads when I was young. But it was obvious to me that it wasn’t a sufficient explanation, so I explained how one was used, then we ran an internet search on women’s hats from the 1950s.

We found numerous photos of women’s hats from that decade – offered for sale to collectors – and looked at perhaps 50 of them. “Weird” was the word he used most often while we looked at the photographs. I was in complete agreement with that assessment, but would have used the word “bizarre”.

For me, it was a quick journey back in time, and though I lived through it, an alien world. I’m glad I don’t have to go back…

The next demonstration of something from the past will be of a record player. Our granddaughter recently asked what a record was when Lisa mentioned one in conversation. I plan on getting the turntable out of the closet and setting it up to play through the small PA system I use for sound. I would go back for that one. I’ll take 1970, please…