The Wedding Dress

Visiting Aunt Agnes
Aunt Agnes
The Homestead
The House Out Back
The Old "Buggy"
The Wedding Dress
Elk County, KS

      I don't know the date that Aunt Agnes was married, but it must have been a glorious occasion. She didn't talk much about Oscar, but there were many evidences of the love she had for him. Her wedding dress was one example. She gave the dress loving care to preserve its once grand appearance. It was always kept in the deep middle drawer of the big old bureau in the large upstairs bedroom. It was folded carefully, encased in tissue paper, and lovingly placed on the left side of the drawer. Regularly, Aunt Agnes got the dress out, washed it by hand, starched and pressed it, and returned it to its special place.

      It was a special delight when she would get it out for me to look at. It was full length, softly white, and made of a filmy cotton batiste-type fabric. The neckline was high, with a stand-up band that rested around the throat. The sleeves were gathered and puffed at the shoulder, tapering to fitted just below the elbow and on the wrist. It was blousy on top with a midriff band that fitted snugly in that area. The skirt was softly gathered and fell gently to just above the ankles. There were white embroidered flowers and designs around the neck, wrist and midriff bands, as well as along the bottom edge. Being of such light, soft material, one needed to wear a full slip beneath it. It was a delicate and demure, yet elegant appearing dress. When I was little I would look at it and imagine wearing it myself someday.

      When I was in seventh grade, twelve or thirteen years old, I became the perfect size for the dress to fit. Mother, daddy and I were there visiting when Aunt Agnes suggested that the dress might just fit perfectly now. Never before had I considered asking to put the dress on, nor did I then. I knew how much she cherished that wedding dress. That day she asked if I would like to try and see if it would fit. I accepted with alacrity. The two of us went upstairs, where she retrieved the dress from its safe nest. She held it up to my body and felt sure it would be perfect. She went back downstairs to continue visiting with my folks while I tried the dress on. It fit like a glove. Slowly I descended the stairway so as not to chance damaging the dress in any way. Aunt Agnes and my folks were sitting in the living room. When I entered, I'm sure I had a grin on my face that would have lit up New York. I felt so dainty yet regal in that dress. I was so honored to be allowed to put this treasured keepsake on my body.

      Many years later when her home was being liquidated, my mother called to ask me what I would like from of her belongings. I told her where the wedding dress had always been and that would be my number one choice. They searched the bureau inch by inch as well as all the closets in the house. They searched everywhere but never found the dress. It is a great sadness, even today, that I don't know what happened to the treasured wedding dress. But, it lives on in my memory.

Carol J. Swander Clark
(These are my memories - accurate to my way of thinking.)
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September 27, 2000 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas /

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