Maybe there’s some 1,000-page law in D.C. demanding that those who penned newspaper standpoint columns write about hearts and flowers.
The homage-to-Cupid stories that spring to mind this year are about two weddings those hearts and flowers led to. More specifically, about wedding dresses in two different centuries. One was that of our daughter Kate; the other, my Aunt Nora.
Kate’s studies in theater at MTSU included costuming. For a year after graduating, she lived in Alaska. When she returned to Middle Tennessee, she was able to support herself by contracting out as a costumer to Nashville-area theater companies.
Some of those organizations operated on shoestring budgets. Hence pulling together wardrobes for their plays required both seamstress skills and shopping savvy. No matter when Kate ran across a good deal on some item that was likely to be needed in an upcoming production, she’d scoop it up.
At the same time, Kate and longtime college friend John Schweri had begun dating. “Hearts and flowers” finally led to wedding plans, most of which took place independent of her parents.
However the day did come when Kate asked for my opinion. She came into the house with a big bagful of something and plopped it onto the bed saying, “I have something to show you.”
With that, she pulled a wedding dress out of the bag. “I first bought it for the theater wardrobe,” she said. “But I fell in love with the fabric.”
Even with my lack of interest in all things sewing, I agreed the look and feel of the material was beyond the norm. “Does it fit?” I asked.
“No, but it can be altered.”
There was no way not to ask the hard question. “You fit things on other people all the time,” I said. “But have you ever sewn for yourself?”
She already had asked a revered fellow costumer for help in that department.
“This whole idea is just so far-fetched,” she said, “I didn’t want to do it without your okay.”
The gown Kate wore down the aisle on April 14, 2007 was beautiful, and we have the pictures to prove it. It didn’t bother me a bit that it was a reconfigured Goodwill “original” which, not counting the $15 she spent on silk for alterations, set Kate back a whopping $2.50.
This next tale is about Aunt Nora King, who lived her long life well in Mt. Joy. Years ago she reminisced about the $10 her big brother gave her to spend on her wedding.
In Nora’s own words:
“Cliff and I were gonna get married on Sunday. I didn’t have a new dress. He came down here and he wasn’t dressed up either. Monday I hitchhiked a ride to town (Mt. Pleasant) and I got me a pretty dress and a pair of shoes and some new hose with that $10.
“While I was over there, Cliff came to town. He bought a new shirt and had started down to the shop where Clement worked to see if he could borrow the car to go get married. I asked if he would get the car and carry me home.
“Cliff went to his house and got dressed; I went to mine. Then we went to Mt. Joy and got married.”
Later Nora learned that, when Cliff left for town on their wedding day he told his family, “I’ll be back after while with a wife.”
The vows Nora spoke in her 20th century $10 wedding ensemble began a marriage that lasted till Clifford’s death 61 years later.
In reference to Kate’s 21st century $2.50 dress? So far, so good.