New York Times Portraits of Grief

Myrna Yaskulka

Myrna Yaskulka's family called her the bag lady -- she was rarely without bulging shopping bags from Strawberry and Century 21. To her granddaughters, the clothes they contained were more thrilling than a new Barbie outfit. There was, for instance, her metallic gold raincoat. And her FUBU pantsuit. And leopard-skin everything -- pants, earrings, photo frames.

"Not the sorts of things," said Jay Yaskulka, her son, "you would normally see on a woman her age." But Ms. Yaskulka, 59 and a size 8, was as chic as a downtown hipster. She was such an ardent shopper that store managers called her about new shipments. She was confident enough to wear outrageous things, like pink rhinestone-studded sunglasses, and carry it off.

She commuted from Staten Island to her secretarial job at Fred Alger Management in 1 World Trade Center. Often, Mr. Yaskulka passed beneath her windows when he took Brianna, 8, and Shannon, 4, to the city. "When we drove by the World Trade Center," he said, "they would look up at the 93rd floor and yell, `Hi, Grandma!' "