Next month Hubby and I will celebrate 49 years of marriage. We had not seen my wedding dress since our wedding August 26, 1967.
After the wedding, my mother had thoughtfully looked into a local dry cleaners’ advertisement to clean and secure wedding dresses in a “treasure box” that would maintain them in pristine condition.
And so it resided in its treasure box on the top shelf of the closet in my former bedroom until 2009. The dress then took up residence in our home, still unopened in its treasure box.
Hubby found the box as we were sorting what to take to our new house. He wondered had my wedding dress crumbled to dust, fallen apart or remained in good repair.
“Do you want to open it?” He left the decision to me.
With our Georgia crew arriving for a few days around July 4, I wanted to wait until our daughter-in-law and granddaughters could participate in the “grand opening.”
The day came. Anticipation thrummed through me as Hubby and DIL Sarah worked at unpacking the box. And there it was. Our wedding photos have faded with time, and I had forgotten how pretty it was.
There were, however, signs of aging. The thread that secured the seed pearls adorning the bodice had failed in places, and some of the tiny pearls were missing.
There was also a brown discoloration in a fold along the hem. We had assumed that Katrina’s wind and pine tree through the roof at the back of Mother’s house in 2005 had not damaged the front rooms, but maybe water had found its way into that box.
The seams, however, were in great shape.
Ten-year-old Charlie was entranced.
“Could I try it on, Nana,” she asked, eyes wide.
“If it is okay with your mother.”
“Sure,” Sarah responded. “It will be like playing dress up.”
I teared up, snapped photos and cried some more.
“I love it,” Charlie said. “May I wear it for my wedding?”
“Yes, that would make me so happy. But only on two conditions,” I said. “One, you can’t run off and get married, or have a quick wedding, because there are some repairs and alterations that would need to be done.
“Two, when you are ready to get married years from now (Note heavy emphasis on “years from now”), your ideas may have changed about what you want your dress to look like.”
Charlie loves designing, shopping for fabrics and sewing, from dresses to ponchos. And she has never used a pattern.
“You won’t hurt my feelings if you change your mind. Promise you will choose what you want.”
Then Mom Sarah reiterated that a wedding would be far into her 10-year-old offspring’s future--very, very far.
And after Charlie showed her dad the picture of herself in the dress, did I really hear him say “She’s not going to date until she’s 36”?