Saturday, July 25, 2009

the wedding gown

I could have been overcome with the ironies of life today. Instead, I chose to focus on what a pretty bride this young lady made, fifty years ago this year.

This is my mom on her wedding day. She was twenty-two in 1959.
I was negative three years old, if there is such a thing.

I don't know what kind of flowers she is holding. Freesia? A quick phone call to her would settle it. I do see eucalyptus in there. How classy!

Let's face it. Every grown woman wants to pronounce her mom "classy" at the slightest provocation. Every grown woman wants to pronounce her mom "pretty" in the bloom of her youth, too.

Luckily for me, neither statement is a stretch. Can we say amen?

For a number of years, her wedding gown resided in the back of my closet. After our family's move in June, amidst roomfuls of boxes, I asked her what I should do with it.

After all, the detail is lovely. Beads, applique, lace. The whole wedding gown package.

Then there is the whole "sentimental value" concept. Which looms.

After consulting her twice and getting the same response ("Sell it in your yard sale! Get five dollars for it! Let some little girls play with it!), I reluctantly brought it into the garage yesterday and hung it from a nail on a rafter. I fluffed the skirt a bit, stood back, stifled my visceral emotions, and said, "We are gonna sell this old thing."

People, it was a hard thing to say, I'll tell you.

After I had hardened my heart to do such an unfeeling act, I spotted the edge of a golden scalloped frame peeping out from a random box, directly behind the hanging dress.

Could it be? I squinted. Yes.

With a shiver, I rummaged back there a bit and pulled out this framed photograph:

Life is fraught with irony sometimes.

-like when you are conflicted about selling your mother's wedding dress at a yard sale because general opinion and your own conscience would agree what a TACKY and unfeeling thing this would be to do,
and all you can think about is how she raised you and your two younger brothers ALONE after her husband died so young and so very tragically, and also how when she wore this dress her life was brimming with promise and possibility and now it is fifty years TO THE SEASON that these things transpired AND DOES ANYBODY HAVE A HEART WHERE THESE THINGS ARE CONCERNED?

All morning and all afternoon, my mother's wedding gown graced our garage with its 1950's yellowed ivory lace and the golden scalloped frame with a technicolor photograph. And not one offer was made; not even from a few moms with young girls in tow who would love to play dress-up with such a perfect princess-dress.

I am certain therefore, and hereby proclaim that henceforth and for ever more there shall be room for a large dress-box in the storage area of the garage attic.

And mom? Are you there? I know you read my blog.
You are welcome to come over and play dress-up with it anytime you want.


Anonymous MDTaz said...

I'm so glad you didn't throw it out. Many things can be parted with - it's just stuff, after all. But this dress, it's loaded with memories and hope. Glad you kept it.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok--- I am tearing up reading this. . Brilliantly written-- frought with emotion/ sentimentality/ nostalgia.

Send this to a MAGAZINE ! It will get published!

Janet looks beautiful, timeless, classic!

11:10 AM  
Anonymous MAO said...

What a touching story about my beautiful sister-in-law. She was a lovely bride and her gown was gorgeous.
Perhaps Ana can wear it some day . . . .

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, finally I'm here! What lovely are such a darling daughter.....bringing such wonderful memories for me....and now, you can fold it up and keep it in the attic!! Love Mom

11:59 PM  

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