"I wanted them to know her, to know that who they saw was not all there was to see. That before the constant tinkling of commercials and fast-food jingles, there had been Puccini and Mozart and hymns so sweet and mighty you expected Jesus to come down off his cross and clap. That before there was a mountain of Thorazined fat swaying down the halls in nylon maternity tops and sweatpants, there had been the prettiest girl in Arrondale Elementary School, the belle of Landmark Junior High. Maybe there were other pretty girls, but I didn't see them. To me, Rose, my beautiful blonde defender, my guide to Tampax and my mother's moods was perfect."

"Silverwater" by Amy Bloom, 1993.

Love her description. Here's one more about Rose, less costume-related:

"Rose took her meds, lost about fifty pounds, and began singing at the AME Zion church down the street from the halfway house. At first, they didn't know what to do with this big blonde lady, dressed funny and hovering wistfully in the doorway during their rehearsals. But she gave them a few bars of "Precious Lord" and the choir director felt God's hand and saw that with the help of his sweet child Rose the Prospect Street Choir was going all the way to the Gospel Olympics. Amidst a sea of beige, umber, cinnamon and espresso faces, there was Rose, bigger and blonder and pinker than any two white women could be."

Listen to this story read by Linda Lavin on Selected Shorts, or find it in your local library!