Beanies Keep your Bean Warm — just ask Mr. Bean


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A personal story in the newspaper peaked my curiosity. A father wrote about sending his son to school with a “beanie” because the temperatures had dropped. Since my own children are grown, I hadn’t heard that expression for a long time.

Come to find out, the word isn’t even dated. Beanie is just another term for hat, skull cap, baseball cap, stocking or ski cap. I did a search for its history and found “Hub Pages.” The links are below.

According to Hub, “Beanies have been very popular throughout the years in the fashion world. But where did they start? Who invented the beanie and why?

“The term “beanies” is a name that was coined in the early 20th century, and was a type of cap that was usually worn by boys. Other terms that this headgear is known by include dink, calotte and dinky.

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“They are also known as welder’s caps and skullcaps. The term “beanies” evolved from the American head-bean. No one really knows the origins for this odd expression, but we do know it’s also baseball slang.  A “bean ball” was a pitch aimed at the batter’s head, and to strike the batter in the head with a baseball pitch is known as “to bean” the batter.

“The term “beanies” became mainstream in the 1950s when the cartoon “Beanie and Cecil” became popular. The boy of the cartoon wore a beanie with a propeller on top.

“Today, “beanie” is used to describe headgear worn to protect someone’s head in cold weather, like a watch cap. A beanie can actually refer to different forms of head gear, but it is worn by nearly everyone in the sporting world. It has become casual wear, whether you’re wearing it at a game or not.

“Beanies are popular for winter sports, such as skiing, and sometimes include ear flaps. Beanies can be made of felt with different colors sewn together, or knit from wool or man-made fibers. They are mainly used for warmth.

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“In the early 20the century, the beanie was used to keep someone’s hair out of the way when work demanded it. A beanie kept hair away from the eyes so a worker could see.

Beanies eventually became popular with college students and were sometimes dyed school colors. Custom caps were created with school seals to match other school spirit clothing.” The model on the right is wearing a knitted cloche.

LINKS to HubPages

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I became familiar with the term “beanies” from reading Archie Comic Books. My dad was a hardworking welder during the day and a comic book addict in his down time. When he was finished, I devoured them and traded them with my friends.

I always had a huge stack of used comic books to read and to trade. On the job, my dad usually wore a baseball cap on backwards and put the welder’s mask over the top.

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Jughead, a friend of Archie’s was known for wearing a spiked beanie. Of course, when Mayberry aired on T.V. with Opie, Barney Fife, Sheriff Andy and Gomer Pyle, the beanie was again prominent.

download Earlier in the century, the character Spanky from the Our Gang show wore a beanie. Back then Beanies were designed for fashion, function, and especially worn to protect from cold weather. So there you have it!download (3)

Did I ever wear a beanie? Speaking Minnesotan “You betcha’!”  When our family lived in Bremerton, Washington my mother used to sew my sister and I felt beanies that matched our outfits. There wasn’t a lot of cold weather or snow up there, so that worked out well.


Writing this blog about “beans” and “beanies” brought memories back of the BBC Comedian Rowan Atkinson theatrically known as “Mr. Bean;” a man who obviously didn’t use his bean at all. My children and I spent many hours of laughter watching Atkinson’s facial contortions and predicaments. A few of his old shows are below.

Mr. Bean Videos

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We are all in this Pot of Stew Together

"Does this hat make me look fat?"

“Does this hat make me look fat?”

When a group of mothers get together, the audible sound bytes will likely include chatter about the perils of giving birth and raising children. Center stage is the person who had the longest labor and delivery or whose birth canal sustained the most damage.

Of course, I’m long past that stage of my life, but the memories linger on. Today I reminisce watching “Call the Midwife: a Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times” on PBS. Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth a nurse and midwife in post war London in the 1950s, the show is a delightful stroll down memory lane.

Even husbands are in awe watching live births actually happen on screen. Eyes tear up as each infant takes in its first breath and wails that familiar newborn cry. Mothers forget their pain. Midwives are reinvigorated with purpose as the intertwined plot reveals the seedier side of life in London’s urban squalor.

"Broken" prints available

“Broken” prints available

Almost as popular as Downton Abbey, another PBS favorite, viewers discuss Midwife’s characters and plots via email, texting and “face time.” Chummy is down to earth and lovable and has become a symbol of women’s changing role in society and her need for independence and fulfillment. Jenny, the main character, mirrors our own hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Watching people cope with poverty, ignorance, domestic violence, lack of birth control and disease is heart wrenching. When someone in these circumstances makes a wise choice or demonstrates not only their humanity, but an unrestrained compassion for others we are lifted in the process.

In the midst of filth and degradation, these mothers courageously bring life into the world with dignity. They embrace life and cling to hope. Viewers are inspired and ashamed at the same time. The characters have little, but they give all they have. Their courage and defiance in the face of tragedy make us, who take so many things for granted, ashamed. We are filled with a new sense of gratitude for our own abundance and ease.

Historical dramas remind us of where we’ve been and to whom we owe gratitude: the trail blazers, the researchers, the movers and the shakers of the past. We are enriched by their struggles and made aware of the sacrifices that were made on our behalf. Our own past and the trials and challenges that we faced may also be inspiration for those who come after.

“No man is an island,” penned John Donne. We are all connected and we influence every person who comes into our life whether with a simple smile or a helping hand when it is needed.

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne