Saturday, January 24, 2015


By Beatrice M. Hanson

Mother, as was mentioned earlier, was indeed an excellent seamstress Before marriage she had been employed in a local department store as a hat designer. It was the style of the day for ladies hats to be trimmed with either flowers, feathers or ribbons. Mother often mentioned the many compliments she received by the manager of that department for the good taste she displayed in her handwork.
She retained her sewing ability in later years as she continued to make many of the clothes we children wore.
My sister, Claire, came home from school one day in near tears. She confided to Mother, the Juniors were planning their annual Prom. Claire had been asked to attend the affair with a Senior-Class boy. It was, in a way an honor for a student from a lower classroom to receive a Senior's bid. Claire felt she couldn't accept as she owned no dross pretty enough for the big occasion. No one in our circumstance could afford to buy a new frock just for one occasion. Mother listened to her daughter, knowing how important it was to her to accept the invitation. Thoughtfully, with one finger to her cheek, she sought a way out. Quite suddenly the idea came to her. Her own wedding dress of course! For years it had been packed in layers of tissue. Its style was out of date, of course, but she could alter it to fit the current fashion. The material was what counted. It was made from yards of lustrous Skinner Satin, in a soft yellow. The richest material of its kind and had been, even then, quite costly. It would look beautiful on Claire. She could see her daughter dressed in such a gown!
Getting her sewing materials together, she brought out the box that held the precious dress. Shaking the memories from its folds, she proceeded to cut off the long train.
That evening when Claire came into the sewing room, she had her try it on for further alterations. Even as it was, the color suited Claire bringing out her blue-black wavy hair and blue eyes. She would do the dress justice, Mother was quite sure on that score.On the night of the Prom, much activity took place in the girls bedrooms. The older girls taking part in helping their sister into her gown - finding just the right necklace, silk stockings, bangles and perfume.
When Claire finally emerged to parade in front of Mother, she couldn't have looked more beautiful. The dress fit to perfection.
As the front door bell rang, Claire picked up a lacy shawl, and as her escort entered, threw it over her shoulders, and with a radiant smile, took his arm to leave for the dance.
It was past midnight when voices were heard outside saying their good nights. Then the door opened and shut. Claire stood leaning against the door-frame, her expression serious and sorrowful.
"What’s wrong, child?" Mother asked, springing to her feet.
"Mother," Claire sobbed, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. After all the work you did on the dress, no one even saw it! My beautiful dress just split its seams the first time I got up to dance. I had to wear my shawl over it all evening long!"
Mother reasoned later, the material had given way to its age. She packed the dress away in its tissues once again, with some sadness.