Patt Morrison

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Patt's Hats: A lei illusion and yellow shoe madness

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There are so many things  I like about this dress – the sleeve length, the boat neck, the fact that it’s navy and not black, and the fact that it wasn’t made in Bangladesh – but mostly it’s the gaily asymmetrical floral design that caught my eye.

The pattern is front and back, and I’m a stickler about those things. It looks like I have been loaded down with festive leis, but also loaded with one too many Mai Tais, so the flower garlands are askew as if I were listing a little bit.

There’s more of my current yellow shoe madness with these very Michelle Obama kitten-heel slingbacks in two different tones of yellow, one a more acid shade and the other more canary, or perhaps chrome yellow. That’s not to be confused with “Crome Yellow,” a very sardonic Aldous Huxley novel parodying the artsy intelligentsia set of 1920s England.

I hope you can see this bracelet. It’s a piece of Victorian mourning jewelry. The Victorians went way, way over the top on this stuff; some of it borders on the ghoulish, with lockets containing elaborately braided locks or even portraits or scenes made entirely from the hair of the deceased. I can admire the artistry but the sentiment can seem excessive. This piece, though, has a black and white enamel border around a tiny fly. Why a fly, I wondered. Then I read the inscription inside:

“From JR to AHR [clearly a husband to a wife] in loving memory of our darling little May Queen, died 7th August 1880, age 14 Mos.”

That inscription made the fly make sense. It’s a mayfly, a creature that lives a few days, or even just a few minutes, and here was this little girl, born in May – hence the May Queen reference to the mythical springtime queen of antiquity -- and died barely a year thereafter. So sweet, so sad, so human, all from an inscription on a bracelet. The girl’s parents are long dead, and so too are any siblings she may have had, but it can touch us more than 130 years later.

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