No, I'm not Gwyneth Paltrow, but many, many people tell me I look like her. I don't even know who she is. Is she a painter, a debutante or a movie starlet? Whoever she is, I'm very flattered. I mean I've lived a fairly anonymous life. I was born somewhere near Dresden, Germany before the War. I modeled all sorts of hats in a shop window. It was so much fun to see all the passerby, the ladies who would pause, fix their make-up in the reflection of the glass, and then hurry on by. I particularly loved to watch couples walking past. I couldn't hear them talking, but usually the woman would say something like, "Ooh, that's a pretty hat." The man would say, "You should try it on and see how it looks." They'd come inside. The shop owner, Heidi, would gingerly slip off the hat of my head. The man would watch the woman trying it on. Sometimes, I think the man would fall in love with the hat more than the woman! More than often than not the woman would say, "I really can't afford it now. Not now. The war is on." The couple would leave, and the man would come back later and buy the hat. Sometimes, he'd even slip Heidi some cash before he and his lady friend left the store. I always thought that was so sweet.
I lived many years that way in the storefront window, until one day the lights were turned off for days on end. I didn't know what was going on. I was frightened. Suddenly, someone came in - it wasn't Heidi or any of her assistants - packed me off in a box. I didn't like that at all. I was smothered in tissue paper for eons. I hated it! From then on I was occasionally unwrapped. I'd hear, "How old-fashioned. I didn't know mother had this" or "Maybe we can use this for shooting practice." I heard a big Squwack! after that and I was hastily mummified again. Thank God! Someone resurrected me again years later and I lived perched on top of a bookshelf in a bedroom with a huge picture hat surrounded by thousands of color photographs of this short-haired strawberry blonde with huge blue eyes and the saddest expression ever. Even when she smiled she looked melancholy. I think was famous, but I don't believe she was German. She wasn't stoic enough for that. I gather she was British. Really beautiful, but so tragic looking. She looked so regal in the huge hats that I saw her wear. Those pictures stayed on the wall for a long time, fading until one day they were ripped off the wall. I heard the Lady on the Wall had died. How horrible. A far greater tragedy for me than her because I had nothing to gaze at during my long days on the shelf. It made me yearn for my career in Heidi's storefront window. I was going to recount how folk started telling me I resemble this woman Gwyneth Paltrow, but I think I'll save that for another day, if you don't mind. I want to savor and relive the memory alone a while longer.