This is the wedding dress that my Grandmother made to wear on her wedding day. December 10, 1942.
My mother wore the same dress 30 years later. July 22, 1972.
I wore the dress 34 years after that. October 14, 2006.
Growing up my mother was always the “keeper” of the dress. It still has a home in the cedar chest at the foot of her bed along with my dad’s high school letterman’s sweater and all our baby sweater/ hat sets.
I can remember my mom pulling it out of the cedar chest every once in a while when she would be searching for something. I would always ask her to let me see it. Sometimes I would even try it on. I always knew I wanted to wear that same dress one day. I’m sure my mom couldn’t wait to be able to pass it to a 3rd generation.
When my (soon to be) husband and I decided to get married, the dress was the first thing I asked about. Because the material was so delicate (it was almost 65 years old!) we asked my aunt if she could alter it for me. We both couldn’t believe how little altering it needed. Turns out my grandmom was the same exact height as me. With the exception of the hemline (which had been taken down for my mom) and the bust line EVERYTHING fit as if it had been tailored to me. Who needs Vera Wang when you have a Helen Crane original!
That afternoon as I got dressed for my wedding, I couldn’t help but think of my grandmother. I wished that she could have been there to see me wear her dress. To see the way that late afternoon sun danced on the satin as I stood with my husband under the weeping willow tree. To share her stories from her wedding day 64 years earlier. I know she was looking down at us, beaming with joy!
I didn’t get to share any of these things with my grandmother. But I was able to share them with my mother. We talked about how proud my grandmother would have been. We laughed a lot. We cried some. And we knew she was there with us. At least in spirit.