Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dress

This is my wedding dress.  Circa 1989. It was the first one I tried on.  Someone had told me that the first dress you try is usually the one you choose, because when the hundreds of teeny buttons are done up in the back and and the long train is ruffled out and arranged, you turn, seeing yourself in the mirror as a bride for the first time, you fall in love with it, and no other dress ever looks as good, and that's what happened.  I managed to regret for awhile having chosen the first dress I put on, thinking I had somehow been too hasty, had missed the biggest shopping opportunity of my life or something, and my petulant whining about that made my mom sad, but on the day, when I was as beautiful as I ever would be, and my best friend had buttoned up all those million buttons at the back and ruffled out the long train, I had not a single regret in the world.  I remember that my beloved brother, looking like Mr. Darcy in his ascot and morning coat, was the one to go to the florist in his Camaro to pick up my bouquet, which he delivered to me with the tenderest care.  I remember that my best friend, looking as always exactly like Martha Plimpton, in her cream lace dress and Florida tan, was tragically hungover and trembling but made us laugh and laugh, and I remember that my mom, looking like a princess herself, put an ice bag on Martha Plimpton's neck to keep her from fainting.  I remember that the waitress at the rehearsal dinner told a filthy joke to the minister and the church organist and I snorted iced tea into my sinuses.  I remember that my dad curled my hand into his big arm as we headed up the aisle together, and squeezed it hard for a second, telegraphing all the sentimental things he wanted to say; his sense that he really was letting me go, and how it was hard for him, but how okay it was, too.  That he loved me.  "Don't trip," he said.  "Walk slow."  I remember that Doc, dressed in his brother's rented pants, was waiting for me at the other end, and that he gasped when he saw me.  I remember that I was so thrilled about wearing this dress that I forgot to pack anything else to wear and had to come home again the next morning to pick up some clothes.  My parents were drinking mimosas.  "It's too late to give her back," they said.  This dress cost a lot of money, a lot more than I should have asked my schoolteacher parents to spend on anything.  It was, and still is, an utterly gorgeous (and utterly 80's) confection, a proper Cinderella dress, and wearing it, I felt lovely and loved. 
Here's something that could not be more true:  the dress does not hold those memories; they are in me.  The dress is not the wedding, nor the marriage, nor the spectacular man I married and our subsequent decades of happy partnership, nor is it the repository or representative of any of those things, either.  I don't need to continue trying to keep it safe and protected from, well, time.  So I brought it down from the attic, and on a cloudy day, I hung it from the crabapple tree, and the wind tossed some pretend life into it, and ruffled out the train, and I photographed it.  And then I folded it carefully back into the bag, zipped it closed, and gave it away.  
 

27 comments:

  1. how nice - instead of hanging in a closet to be rarely viewed someone is enjoying it!! bravo :)

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  2. I. Love. This. I've been trying to convince my daughter I should do the same. She's married and doesn't want it, but wants me to keep it. This was a wonderful tribute.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  3. Oh I love this post. I read your posts all the time and have never commented before, but today this made me cry, the words are so true, we don't need "things" for our memories, they are as you so well said, inside us. Hopefully the dress will create lovely memories for another bride. x

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  4. Brilliant.
    (Mine is still on a trunk somewhere, slimline and straight down, folded to nothing, and I've worn it ten years after sans the lace trim at the seam to a fancy dinner...maybe I should let it go too...)

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  5. The dress and your words are beautiful.

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  6. Good for you passing your dress on so someone else can wear it and hopefully experience the same joy you have. I spent years trying to convince my in-laws that the house they raised their children in wasn't the repository for their memories, they were. Having to sell and move because of my MIL's health was very bitter for my FIL, but I hope they're starting to realize how wonderful it is to live near two-thirds of the family. And they can build new memories.

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  7. Oh my someone wil be extatic when they receive that dress. Well done you. Your words are so prophetic and true.

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  8. This was a lovely post. It's so nice that you have been able to share such a pretty dress with someone else who will love it.

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  9. Beautifully written and such a lovely gift you have given someone with that beautiful dress. Good for you. I feel the same as everyone else, why have something, wear it once and it goes in a box in the attic, when you can keep the gift going by paying it forward. Great idea.

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  10. My dress wasn't very expensive or fancy, but I still haven't worn it again yet. I really love this idea if my daughter doesn't end up wanting mine, I will definitely give mine away as well some day.
    I love your posts, both for crafting and for stories. You have a great way of wording things that really paint a lovely picture. Thanks for sharing so many little life stories!

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  11. Such a beautiful dress and equally as lovely, the image of your wedding you have so beautifully shared. The dress is just yummy and I hope the next bride will love it as much as you, and be as happy too, as you two are.
    Mona

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  12. It was the only tan I ever had. And the best day ever. I'll never forget the horse and carriage.

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    1. And how you did/didn't catch the bouquet? LOL!

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  13. This is a lovely story (it made me tear up in places) and a lovely dress. How kind you are to let someone else enjoy it and have their own story.

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  14. What no pictures of you in the dress?? It reminds me a bit of Princess Di's dress, a little toned down.

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  15. Heh. I let my young daughter wear mine one Halloween when she was the Corpse Bride!

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  16. I think this is such a beautiful post, you are right the memories are in you. Maybe the dress will be a blessing for another soon to be bride.

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  17. well, the dress doesn't hold the memories,but maybe it holds some of the scents of that day.. your perfume, the bouquet, the Doc's aftershave/cologne, the smells of those who loved you, holding you... its hard to part with things from an important time in our lives, sometimes, as we get older,they provide the prompts for the memories that will begin to fade. Brave to discard it, but I did the same many years ago now, because the handsome man in his uniform who beamed with love when he saw me walk down the aisle, sadly died just four years later, suddenly, and so memories are tinged with sadness.

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  18. I gave my wedding dress to our local amateur dramatics club and they use it for pantomine wedding scenes at the end!- cinderella, snow white, etc. a very fairytale ending. Jo x

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  19. I really enjoy your writing. This post and the one last year as you so hilariously described how hot you were there in upstate New York! Perhaps you would consider putting your yarn down for a short time and write a book? Your dress is beautiful as well as your giving heart.

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    1. Brenda, you angel! This is lovely to hear. Thank you for these encouraging words. xoxoxo

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  20. a very nice post! thank you

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  21. My daughter just celebrated her 24th wedding anniversary this month. She also bought the first dress she tried on. However, she tried on a couple of others before settling on #1. Thank you for a nice post.

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  22. Ah beautiful! I wanted to use mine to make a christening gown, but I never did. I will probably dye it, but keep the veil for my sisters. I had a plain and inexpensive dress, but my veil was spectacular! 12 feet of mantilla lace. Your dress is so sparkling, I can imagine you looking like a fairytale. I hope it goes on to have another life with someone else!

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