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The Dress

What to wear on any special occasion has always been a dilemma for me!

It all goes back to my childhood (of course!)  It came from a mother who didn't trust me to know what color matched what, or what style should be worn when.  She always layed out my clothes, so she was sure not to be embarrassed about my appearance.  At least I assume that was her reasoning ... it was never discussed.  Every day of my life at home (barely eighteen years) my clothes were layed out for me to wear.

The day the phone call came, I was relieved.

"I've got your dress for your 50th Alumni Reunion!" Jane said.  Jane was the proprietress of George's Restaurant where we often ate breakfast.

"What? What do you mean?"

"Well ... remember my rich friend Carla?  Well, she's donated a dress to my garage sale tomorrow.  It's your color ... it would be great!  You'd be the belle of the ball!"

She was so excited that her enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I got in the car and headed over to her place on Blue Sky a few blocks away. The dress was hanging in the bedroom waiting ... complete with high heeled shoes and glittery earrings.

"It says small!  I'm not small, or haven't you noticed!"  I said looking at my ample profile in the full length mirror.

"Don't worry ... it came from a very exclusive shop, and clothing in the $300.00 range always says small!"

"Well, I'll try!"

I disrobed and tried on the most beautiful gown I've ever seen.  Turquoise ... covered with crystal bugle beads, completely lined, everything hand sewn.  The top was made much like a jacket dress, but connected to a pencil slim skirt, slit up to the knees in the back.  It was fabulous and sleek and made me look like a svelte size eight again!  It was everything I ever wanted to look like.  It covered my post menopause midriff and then accentuated the fact that my hips had not spread like my stomach!

Hallelujah, what a designer for elderly women!

"How much?" I asked Jane as I preened in the full length mirror of her vanity area.

"$30.00 ... do you think that's fair?"

"More than fair, but I'll have to go show it to Richie."

"He'll love it ... I just know he will!  Go!"

I paused a moment to try the shoes, but they were too small and much spikier heels than I have worn in years.  The earrings, I took. ln a daze I gathered up the dress, folded it neatly and literally floated out to the car.

What was I doing?  I've never gone for glamorous clothing.  Always the conservative black cocktail dress or something that could be utilized for at least one more occasion.  Where in the world would I ever wear this dress again?  George's for breakfast?  Ha! I modeled the dress for Richie later in the day.

"Wow," his eyes lit up like I hadn't seen for some time.

"Does that mean I should tell Jane I'll take it?"

"Sure, why not?"

"But where would I ever wear it again?"

"Another cruise?" he asked me.

A broad grin crossed my face.  We'd just come back from a 30th Anniversary cruise on the Love Boat.

"Sold, American!"  That's an old auctioneer's saying,  just as he pounds the gavel for final bid.

I took the dress off and hung it with care.  The 50th ClassReunion was still two months away ... I'd have to watch my caloric intake if this was going to fit in September.

September 21,1996
La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

La Jolla High School 50th Class Reunion of the Graduating Class of 1946 The comments I heard that night were worth the dress's weight in gold.

  • "You look, elegant!"
  • "Perfect color for your hair ... you look great!"
  • "You look stunning in that dress!"
  • "That dress was just made for you! "

For the 'wall flower' child inside that dress, it was like manna from heaven. I glowed! I became the "belle of the ball"!

Richie and I had the honor of passing out the book of Golden Memories that I had compiled for the event.  Like fashion models, we walked around from table to table, presenting the book to the each member of the class.  Richie's new teal blue jacket complimented my floor length, glittery gown.

The swimming pool sparkled blue-green in the background, the lamposts giving off a soft magical glow like moonlight.  The evening was perfect ... the weather was balmy ... old friends were congenial ... the food was delightful .... the music from the bands of yesteryear so familiar.

Then we danced to Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade", and the perfect evening was complete.

'Backward turn backward, oh time in your flight, and make us kids again, just for tonight!'  I had used that saying in the Golden Memories Album and it sure fit the occasion.

Could one dress give off that much magic?

I knew it was my shining moment. My 15 minutes of fame. But I also knew I would relive it a million times in my memories of the Fiftieth Reunion of La Jolla High School's Class of '46. Perhaps my mother did know best!  I need help when it comes to choosing the right clothes!

But, oh, how I would hate to admit that one!

Copyright © 1996 - Thelly Reahm - Tidbits of Time

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