Ann Packer is known for her best seller A DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER, which came after her first collection, MENDOCINO AND OTHER STORIES.
In "My Mother's Yellow Dress," the narrator, a gay man who has just lost his mother, remembers a party from his youth. His mother, clearly a handful but beloved by him, wears a very short and very sharply yellow dress at a party his father hosted as Head of the English Department. The marriage ends sometime after this and his father goes to California where his son rarely sees him.
This is a coming of age story, where Buddy is watching the drunkenness and sexual behavior of adults for the first time. He is embarrassed and perhaps titillated by what he sees.
A homeless man, hungry, also plays a part in the day. This story could have been an episode of MAD MEN. You have to work a little to put it together, to see what the author is trying to say. It moves a bit through time too with scenes between Buddy and his adult lover who are making their way through the AIDS crisis. The writing is very good but perhaps a bit too many strands for a short story.
I liked CLAUSEN'S PIER when I read it. An interesting premise of a woman whose fiancee is paralyzed after a dive and the dilemma of leaving a paraplegic.