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Souvenirs 11-28-2012

November 29, 2012

by Irma Schwantes
We have a guest writer this week. I received a Thanksgiving greeting on Friday from my niece Gloria, who lives in Greenville, NC, with her husband Derald, and has recently retired, beginning a new hobby of writing Short Stories. She enclosed one of them for my enjoyment and I would like to share it here with my regular readers, hoping they will enjoy it at much as I did.

“The Pink Sailor Dress - Little girls have at least one favorite dress, a dress like no other. It was the dress that made you feel special, beautiful, or just like being in a dream. No one could make you feel out of place, or sad, or different when you wore a dress like that. I had a childhood dress like that; it was a pink sailor dress and I still feel the magic from that dress when I wore it and how special I felt.

It was the summer before I started 5th grade, and it had been a couple of rough years with the house fire, Dad having a heart attack, Mom having to go off to work and us doing what we could. We had lost everything we owned in that fire, so most of us wore hand me down clothes and other stuff that had been given to us. If we got anything new like clothes or shoes it was a pair of shoes and one new dress for school, but really the new dress was for church and your church dress became your new school dress. Shoes had to be sturdy so they could last the whole school year and then some. You did not get pretty Mary-Jane shoes or patent leather; you got Oxfords, Saddle Shoes or something like that and you could only wear them to church or school.

That summer I went to stay with my older sister and with my Aunt and her family for a few weeks. My sister and Aunt lived close to each other and in the big city. My Aunt had eight girls and three boys; she owned a clothing store for little children and had a big house. My cousins were a great bunch of girls and they had so much, even if they didn't think so. They lived in the city, knew the latest music and most likely had the records. They had a lot of the latest fashions and hair styles. Wow it was like being in another world to me. I enjoyed learning all the new songs, visiting and talking girl stuff and doing all the girlie things girls do, as I was used to just boys around the farm. I also enjoyed the time I spent with my married sister. She was always teaching me things, doing things for me and we had fun, and I even went to work with her one day.

One day my Aunt let me come with her to see all the pretty new things they had. I wished I could buy just some of them or even one. That day was going to be very special to me little did I know, That was the day my Aunt let me pick out something new from her store that I could take home with me. I was so excited and I could hardly believe this, brand new clothes and I to pick something from all the things I saw. I can tell you I remember the dress from that day! The dress was a pink and white sailor dress with a big collar and white trim. It had a white tie and pleats at the bottom with white trim. Oh my, that was the dress I picked.

When I got home I was so excited to show my Mom, sister and my Dad as he had been in the Navy, and that made it even more special. I could hardly wait to wear it to school and to church. I wanted to show everyone my new dress. Then my Dad bought me a new pair of white bucks that were expensive and I would not normally get. I was even more excited as they matched my dress. My dress would look so good with those shoes. I could hardly wait for school to start so I could wear my dress and shoes and show off. I was going to be so special all dressed up in that pink sailor dress.

So the year I got my new pink sailor dress I was special every time I wore it. It looked so good and everyone said it looked good on me and it was like magic to me. I have to thank my Aunt for letting me pick that dress from her store and giving me such a beautiful gift. That dress and the memories of it have stayed with me over fifty years. I still feel the magic of that dress as I sit here writing and I still look, or watch, for a pink sailor dress in stores that would fit me today. That pink sailor dress still lives in my heart, thank you Auntie for that special gift so long ago.”

PS You are very welcome Gloria. You still have a better memory of those days than I do at almost 90.

Foot note: Gloria is a Veteran of the WAC S, I think it was in the 60s, not sure her 7 brothers all served in the U. S. services and if my memory serves me right I think their Mother was honored by one of the Presidents with a commendation on having so many children in the service of our country. And my brother, Helmuth served on the Submarine Sea Lamprey, where he lost the sight of one eye as a torpedo hit their ship somewhere near Australia in WW2. We must ask if Gloria can do some more writing about those days too?

A Loving God has given us the gift to hold special memories in our hearts--- and the courage to move forward with faith that there is yet--- so much good to come....

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