remember with admiration, awe
and fondness, Your long-ago servant
tall and very thin, she had
an incomparable fashion sense, and given other circumstances,
she might well
have owned an atelier and been a creator
and arbiter of Parisian haute couture.
She wore slacks long before other women,
and strode grandly, head high,
on bright-hued very high heels,
under the shade of a pale blue, silk, ruffled, parasol.
complemented her bronze complexion
with glorious patterned blouses and scarves, set off with
glittering necklaces and numerous rings.
strode grandly, lady-like, wearing
high high heels, and exotically patterned turbans which
she fashioned for herself. She favored large hoop earrings
and colorful gloves - perhaps fingerless, perhaps lacey.
She was an arresting sight to behold!
High Glamour in our back alley.
knew the garbage collection schedules in Leavenworth,
Kansas, and came early on the appointed days to mine
our neighborhood trash barrels for desirable discards.
(We are talking the 1940's.)
She gathered useful cast-offs in a rickety but decorated
grocery cart which she pushed through our rutted, cindered,
She sorted daintily and discriminately through whatever
cast-offs were set out as rubbish in the trash bins.
P was daunting to me as a child, so I never spoke to her.
However, our neighbor-lady, kindly Hazel Linck, often
to chat with Pitty-Pat, lten offering her some well-worn
but usable item - perhaps
a "house-dress" - perhaps home-sewn
and adorned with colorful rickrack - or some other cast-off
clothing. Whatever the piece, it was surely gratefully
and gracefully accepted.
think now of this disadvantaged lady
with sadness, but with awe and profound admiration. Hers
was surely a very hard life,
but she persevered bravely, gallantly
and stylishly. She had an admirable
and remarkable spirit, and was an exemplar
of "making the best of what you have been given."
She was not given much, but she employed it with innate
believe that Miss Pitty-Pat lives now among the
saints and angels, very fashionable still, in slacks of
gossamer and wings
of gold, her turbans glinting with diamond stars and glittering
please pray for me as you stroll the stately paths of
bless her, God! God bless her now!
She made the best of everything she was given in life.
She had little, but Lord, O, Lordy, she made it grand
and glorious indeed!
photo above is not, of course, Miss Pity-Pat,
but not a bad likeness! I wonder if she herself,
in Leavenworth, Kansas, was ever photographed. If so,
I doubt that any such likeness exists - except
in vibrant memory.
2013 Donn B. Murphy
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