This was her hat, and as mentioned in Garance's post, Ruth was one of those "old ladies" (although, I never thought of her as old) who always had a little leopard or animal print in her wardrobe. She gave this hat to me a few years ago before she passed away at the age of 93. I only remember seeing her wear it in pictures -- maybe from the 50's & 60's. In a way, this hat says so much about her. She had a flawless sense of style and perfect taste, but it wasn't that boring all put together perfectly matched sort of style that so many women of her generation wore. No, there was always some little interesting twist in the way she dressed (not only herself but her home as well) - a little something unusual like the antique locket inherited from a maiden aunt and emerald green enameled watch worn on a thick old gold chain, a casually tied scarf in an unexpected color, and of course, leopard print shoes . . . some little something that set her apart from the ordinary. In fact, ordinary was highly frowned upon. One of our last missions (we always had shopping quests when I visited her in Austin) was to find more "spotted shoes", as the ones she had were getting a little worn. I think she was about 89 years old at the time. Don't you love that? I do.
Oh, and after all our shopping was done, there might be a stop at the liquor store to replinish her supply of bourbon which she drank with bitters and a slice of orange (blood orange if possible). And she only had one or maybe two drinks per night, thank you very much,
no sloppy, unladylike overindulgence here.
(Aunt Ruth c. 2001)
She was also one of the funniest (had a wonderfully droll sense of humor) and smartest ladies I've ever known. She knew everything -- about everything -- but was never pompous or acted like a 'know it all' even though she did -- know it all ^.^. When we would visit, Mr. FC and Aunt Ruth would sit with their respective cocktails and talk for ages about Texas/U.S./World history, politics, sports, literature, wars (present and past) -- everything under the sun while I sat there like a bump on a log -- often having no idea who/what (especially sports ;-) they were talking about but still enjoying these conversations immensely. Whatever happened to the art of conversation anyway? Which reminds me, Aunt Ruth never ever had a television in her living room. It was discreetly tucked away in her bedroom and only turned on at night -- mostly for news and Johnny Carson. Hmmmm, makes me wonder if this had something to do with her wondrous accumulation of literary knowledge?
This is our adorable Leah playing dress up in Aunt Ruth's hat and muff -- taken a few years ago. It's sitting on the dresser in the guest room where Leah stays when she comes to visit (again soon I hope!).