The Leopard Spots…©2023

Big spots, little spots, dark spots & light ones, too

Dee-Dee Diamond
3 min readNov 20, 2023


Once upon a time, I had an Uncle Abbie. He was Papa’s older brother who sponsored him… so he could come to America, from a tiny village way back in 1919.

The 1940’s found Uncle Abbie settled in Chicago. We lived in Brooklyn.

On one visit, he brought my older sister, Sondra, a surprise present of a fur jacket he made.

My uncle Abbie worked in a factory as a furrier, where he gathered & saved scraps of excess leopard fur skin, that fell onto the loft floor.

These were leopard remnants that he laboriously stitched together into one flowing patch quilt. Then he lined it, to fashion into a jacket for his beloved young niece. Obviously, he didn’t care these scrapes were from different leopard skins, of various sizes, of spotted patterns.

Oy Vey! … What a job! 🙄

Our dear uncle couldn't t wait to bring it to New York, to gift it to her. In his caring heart, Sondra would wear it like the glamorous young actresses of movie pictures…he fantasied. Also, importantly, it would keep her warm in the cold New York weather.

Sondra did say, “Thank you so much, Uncle Abbie”, (to his face), as she kissed him on his rosy cheek. Then she opened the box he wrapped in brown paper & string.

After he said, “Goodbye my Brooklyn Family” and Papa drove him to the train depot, my sister soon started her rant…

“I hated the jacket at first sight! 😮🤐I will NEVER wear that hideous monstruous furry, spotted THING! 😛

I wouldn’t be caught dead in it”, She carried on, defiantly, even when Papa explained what a gesture of love & hard work went into it.

Stubbornly she’d cry “I’ll freeze to death in my old cloth coat, rather than wear that dead animals’ monstrosity”! 😛😫😡😠

…. Sondra’s Junk Became My Treasure…

“The spotted beauty” laid buried in a trunk, relegated to our storage bin, in our tenement’s cellar.

(Mama had packed it respectively in moth balls).

The, (very), original spotted patterned jacket from our late Uncle Abbie, passed down to me, a 7-year-old imaginative girl, a decade later. 👧

I retrieved it from its sealed trunk to let it hang free… to “air out "as it reeked of the moth balls.

I was intrigued by “anything Leopard” sleeping in my Brooklyn building.


I’d played wearing it as my magic majestic cloak. I would pretend that I was a beautiful, rich Park Avenue lady…donned in Mama’s high heels, 👠👠& her flashy flowered hat, pinned on my “Shirley Temple Curls”.

Mustn’t forget her sparkling rhinestone jewelry that luminated my earlobes. Her patent leather shoulder bag I slung across me, with her red velvet gloves sagging, while covering my little girl hands.

I’d dance & act in front of Mama’s Mahoney antique Vanity, (from Nanny), originally. It had a full mirror 💓where I would swirl and pose in🎵🎵🎶 admiring my splendid costume. My nose turned up in the pose of the stuck-up lady I pretended to be! 👱‍♀️ 🎀 🎠 💋

My secret act was mine alone. It was my escape from loneliness I felt when Mama went to work… leaving me home alone.

Today, what I wouldn’t give for a black and white picture of myself… as that small girl, bedecked in Uncle Abbie’s leopard multi-spotted jacket, with Mama’s finery…clopping about on our tenement floors. 🧍‍♀️🏃‍♀️ circa 1940's.

Mama, Papa, Sondra, my younger brother, Carl, Uncle Abbie all would still be alive, smiling on me, in Uncle Abbie’s jacket of many patched, spots.




Dee-Dee Diamond

Born & raised in Brooklyn, 80 years, ago. Interviewed by The Brooklyn Historical Society. I published a funny book called” First Stop Brooklyn” it's on Amazon.