I played dress-up with my grandmother's hats as a kid, and with her minuscule doll-size size five shoes. She was a pip. My grandfather called her The Busy Bee. A firecracker. "Though she be but little, she is fierce!" Shakespeare said.
She threw the best parties. Cocktails, piano. There was always something doing. People got together more often back then. They weren't too picky.
It was my job to gather all the coats -- among them, the ladies' perfumed and sumptuous furs -- and plunge them onto the upstairs bed.
She died in October, 1994 and that Halloween my sister and I dressed as scuba divers. We put on our flippers and found we could not walk down the street except backwards. That's how it felt to be without her. She loved me.
My grandmother had some veiled fascinators, lost to history now, of course, like her shoes. One that I liked especially was black velvet with a puff of polka dots on chiffon. It was du trop! It was everything that I was not. Sophisticated. Fast. Elegant, but not stuffy. A little trampy. A little campy.
Something you might wear thigh-highs with and watch the Rocky Horror Show at midnight with the other elegant fast tramps who were at heart wholesome as all-butter biscuits that you hadn't yet had the pleasure of meeting.