Family Traditions – Ladies in Red

Ladies in Red 

Ladies in Red
Ladies in Red

Valentine’s Day is less than 5 months away!  I’m all set.

On the right in this photo is my Mommy.  On the left is my Baby, wearing my Mommy’s Valentine’s Day dance dress from February 14, 1958.  The dress is rich with antiquity, history, and love…  it fits Baby Girl’s soul as perfectly as it does her figure.

In the spring of 1958, my Mommy allowed a young man by the name of Dick Dunsworth the privilege of accompanying her to the Valentine’s Day dance at the Colusa High School near her home on a small family farm.  Excited about the dance, my Nana drove my Mommy to the distantly neighboring city of Burlington to shop at Schramm’s Department Store for a dress.  Mom fell in love with a dress much like this one, but alas, being humble farm folk, the dress was financially out of reach.

My Nana was not a woman easily discouraged or quick to give up.

Nana drew a detailed sketch of the dress, and off she and my Mom went to another department in the store to find a dress pattern and materials to make the dress.  Armed with materials, determination, and love, Nana and Mom hopped back in their ’55 Chevy (yep I’m telling you the truth, the family truckster was, at that time, a ’55 Chevy…) and headed back to the farm.

Nana was a busy woman.  She was a farm wife in 1958.  Anything on the farm that did not require a tractor, Nana did.  All of it.  She cared for many children besides her own, she fed the farmers and farm hands, she ran the errands for the business needs of the farm, and on top of all of that she worked part time at the local bank.  Not once, ever, did she order pizza because she was too tired or busy to prepare a meal.  Not once.

Probably late at night, or early in the morning, or between errands and/or meals, Nana stole minutes and hours to work on this beautiful dress.  She pleated both the jacket and the skirt, no lazy lackluster puckering skirts at Nana’s house!  Every inch of the lace is hand sewn onto the dress.  It is amazing in both quality and detail now nearly 56 years later.  Hard work and love are woven into every stitch in this dress.

Then my Mommy wrapped it around her teenage self and went on a fun date, the details of which I did not ask, because well…  I don’t want to know!  Date for the dance in 1958?  Check.  Love sewn into gorgeous dress?  Check.  Fun night at the dance?  Check.  Now what?

I’ll tell you what!  That dress hung in my Mom’s closet at the farm for many, many years to come.  Eventually Nana passed, bless her soul, and the farm sat empty much of the time.  At some point, Mom cleaned out the closets and came across this dress, which she knew right away would be perfect for my Baby, who loves antique things drenched in rich family history!

Over the summer, Mom visited and brought the dress along as a gift.  Baby immediately infused the dress with even more love and family history by glowing with excitement at both its beauty and the beautiful history that led to it joining our home.  I had already secured a date for Valentine’s Day 2015, but now the “What to wear?” question has been answered for the Lady.  Where will we be going in this historical dress?  A Historic Inn, of course, also rich in history, at the request of the young lady with the timeless soul.

On February 14th, 2015, I will have the privilege of accompanying this young lady to dinner and a retreat to our favorite place in the mountains, all the while wearing this dress from 1958.  I’m the richest man alive.

I do need some advice, though…  what sort of vintage formal wear do I need to find to match this dress’s era?  White overcoat with a red bow tie?  Please chime in, I don’t want to show up for my date with a 4th generation of historical infusion dressed anything other than worthy of the occasion!

Cheers from The Red

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