The Wedding Dress

On one of the nice sunny days last week, I opened the windows and let the sweet smelling air into the house. Now energized, I needed a plan: How about taking the first step in spring cleaning and straightening my closet?

Our mother passed away in 2004. As my sister Roe, brother Jack and I prepared to sell her beloved home, we packed her clothes, shoes and handbags; the grandchildren lovingly chose pieces of furniture, mirrors, tea pots and other items to add to their own homes, knowing that these were their wonderful Nanny’s treasured possessions. 

We finally came to Mom’s cedar chest, which was beneath the windows in her bed room. This is the same cedar chest where I sat many a Saturday night after returning home from a date; I would give Mom all the details and we’d whisper and laugh. Of course we woke Dad and he’d tell us to take our true confessions elsewhere! Roe and I knew that there was something very special in this chest. Under a few light blankets, wrapped in white tissue paper, lay Mom’s wedding dress. After a lump in our throats, tears and a hug, we knew we couldn’t give the gown away; it had to remain in the family.

Sign Up for E-News

“Ruthie, you’re the oldest child and you should have it.”

Shortly after I brought the dress home, I took it to a specialty shop to have it preserved and boxed. Now, here I was looking at this extraordinary box in my closet; somehow, I needed to see this piece of Mom’s legacy, to feel close to her. I carefully slid the box out of its sleeve making sure I didn’t disturb the clear plastic window. I could see only the top half of the dress but I knew its design—I had held it many times. Mom told us that she had seen a dress similar to this in a bridal shop; she and her seamstress went to the shop where the seamstress sketched the dress on a matchbook cover. Voila! A wedding dress fit for a princess!

So elegant and regal was this creation: A champagne-hued bridal satin and lace sheath dress with a cathedral train trimmed in hand-sewn lace. There were close to a hundred satin-covered buttons going from the lace collar to the hem, and on the leg-of-mutton sleeves. When Mom let me hold the dress for the first time, I remember feeling the silky softness and the weight of the satin.

Our parents’ wedding photographs show a young, beautiful bride in her fairy tale gown and a handsome, dashing bridegroom in his smart tux. That being said, if one were to see photos of them as the years passed, the look of love and togetherness between them is there for all to see. Priceless.

Now a confession: While examining the dress with the shopkeeper before having it cleaned and preserved, I saw some smudges under the cathedral train. I thought:

“Those could have come from Mom and Grandpa walking to the altar or Dad and Mom when they happily came down the aisle as husband and wife or when they danced their first dance.”

Chills ran up my spine! How poignant and beautiful. 

I decided not to have the wedding dress cleaned.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


‘You’re with your mother!’

Mom’s birthday is this month. She passed away in 2004 but she lives forever in our hearts, thoughts and memories.  
Mom had class. I see photos of her alone, with Dad and/or others, and her elegance shines: the way she stood, her expressive hands, sparkling eyes and beautiful smile. She dressed with flair—a scarf here, a flower there or matching shoes. Truly a graceful lady.

Radio days

I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for the bygone era of listening to a baseball game on a crappy-sounding transistor radio. I define nostalgia as the feeling you get when your memory of something is better than what it actually was. I don’t need to bother mustering any warm feelings for the transistor radio, because AM reception is just as crappy-sounding now as it was then.

In the ...

Only if you’re lucky

Be careful what you wish for…you might get it!  

I heard recently that a group of citizens in the town of Harrison is challenging an approved 148-unit senior (seasoned) citizen home. The builders have tried to appease these dissenters by reducing the original size of the project, which is to be built on an unused granite quarry.  

I question their challenge because when I ...

She had file envy

Who says paperwork is not sexy?! This week, I was so impressed (and even charmed) by the paperwork and systems of two different women. I was even a little envious. In the first case, my client Lois in Ardsley decided that it was time to get her paperwork in order. After six years of shifting paperwork, a dysfunctional home office, an international move and the purchase of a new home, she had HAD ...

Bias in Media, in Me, in You

While listening to an interview with a voter on my car radio, I thought I had excess ear wax that obstructed my hearing. The voter (whose name is Bruce) said this about one of the qualifications that a Senate or House candidate must have to earn his vote: “I don’t want anyone with ideas. We have enough of those already.”

I’m a journalist and have been one my entire ...

Cross My Legs and Hope to Die

One morning, I had a big cup of coffee as I usually do, and then I got in the car and drove 40 minutes to a clothing store I had been curious to check out. I don’t normally drive 40 minutes to go shopping, but since I am a stay-at-home mom and everyone knows we stay-at-home moms just spend our time shopping and eating bonbons, I figured, “What the hey.”

Having had the ...