Friday, December 08, 2006

The Kaplan sisters




There were four of them. Millie, the oldest, was kind of dowdy but hardly counted because she got married young and settled down, to be more or less forgotten.

But the three youngest! They were all drop-dead gorgeous, with dark hair and beautiful smiles. Ellen was tall, angular and boyish, Rose (my aunt) looked just like Rosalind Russell, and Shirley was smaller, curvaceous, and had dimples. Their parents had to chase the young men away with baseball bats. They went to dances and parties, and were the belles of the ball. The florist's delivery van had the route to their house memorized.

By the time I knew them, they were all grown up and married to men of means. They were still a formidable group when they got together--the hoots of laughter! The fun of ordering everyone around! The joy of dishing the dirt on members of the family who weren't present! When my brother got married, my mother was far from well, so the three sisters planned the wedding, decided the guest list, sent out invitations, and bossed around everyone from the florist to the caterer to the rabbi.

In due course they all became widows, and went to family functions as a group. They were stately by this time, and wore enormous hats, the kind of hats only a person who could get away with it would wear. One of these hats would be sufficient to serve as a sail on a fairly large boat. They were made of regal fabrics, and decorated with feathers and flowers. Think black church lady hats, only much more so. If you sat behind them at a function, they appeared to be a solid phalanx of hats. They were splendid.

I miss seeing them. I particularly miss the hats.

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