In 1943 my grandfather purchased a cottage on a small lake in Michigan. My father and his brother spent their summers there and I visited for the first time when I was eight months old. The heart of Franklin’s Folly, as it is called, is not actually the cottage but a twelve by twelve foot dock that sits comfortably on the lake out in front. For as long as I can remember, that small square of wooden planking is where the family came together each evening for cocktails and laughter and sunset. For me, that dock is the best place on earth and I began to refer to it as, “The Center of the Barrow Universe.” Then one day it occurred to me that with the aid of a GPS device, it was now possible for me to determine the actual location on the planet of that “universe.” So I took a reading and used those coordinates to create for myself a reminder of that happy place, one that I could carry with me until I was able to visit again. It was the first Happitude™ hat.
So why “Happitude™?”
Just being able to define where a place is on the planet didn’t seem to tell the whole story for me. It was the additional element of personal experience that had brought this idea forth in the first place. After all, doesn’t everyone have a dock, or a place that inspires awe, or comfort, or laughter? I realized that “feel-good” experiences in places which create fond memories always involve happy feelings. I needed a word to describe the place where latitude, longitude and happiness come together and it didn’t exist… so I created one. When speaking about connection to place, the point where longitude, latitude and happiness connect is called “HAPPITUDE™.”
Oh, and that little, happy faced symbol on our label, my wife, Karen wanted it to look like me when I smile. So you know what that makes me? Right, I am evidently … Scott Barrow, “The Happitude Dude”.