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Lapsed anthropologist-turned-burlesque performer and post-modern punk housewife/homesteader living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a hunky husband, gorgeous daughter, adorable corgi, fluffy rabbit, and three clucking fabulous chickens.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Grandmother's Trunk

 I never thought I'd be into the "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" thing, but I actually find I am. Today I went to my grandmother's house and went through the trunk in which she keeps the old family belongings that have been saved over the years. We pulled out baby dresses her grandmother crocheted and sewed for her, pictures, letters, and her mother's wedding dress.

 This is my great-grandmother and great-grandfather on September 19th, 1930, their wedding day. They were 18.

I used to spend part of every summer taking the train with my grandmother to visit her mother. I spent weeks playing in her award-winning garden, marveling over all her fair ribbons. Playing with her costume jewelry.

Her dress is a gauzy, flowing, cream confection of a dress. I could never in a million years fit into it, she was tiny. I would wear it in a heartbeat if I could.

I love the lace on the built-in slip, and the flower.

And the ties on the puffy sleeves.

We looked at a bunch of other things, too. Like her high school diploma.

Citizenship papers belonging to some of my relatives who immigrated from Ukraine.

A land grant. It's not really the president's signature, but I love the penmanship.

My great-grandfathers hand-operated hair trimmer. In perfect working order.

His monogrammed pocket squares. He was rather dapper.

What I was really looking for was a handkerchief to wear on my wedding day as my something old. I had many to choose from. My grandmother keeps them all in a cigar box.

They all have lovely details. Hand-crocheted edges, lace yellowed with age, hand-embroidered flowers, cutwork embroidery.

This is the one I ultimately chose. It is very delicate and thin, but beautifully embellished.

It belonged to my grandmother's grandmother, and on my wedding day I will pin it to the inside of my dress. Someday I will display my great-grandmother's wedding dress in my home and take joy in the incredible works of art wrought by the hands of my foremothers. 


  1. So beautiful. I tried on my grandma's wedding dress back when I was 18 and getting married it was to small for me, as well. It was a champagne satin with crepe flutter sleeves, cut on the bias. It was especially heartwarming because it doubled as her prom dress because she was too poor to buy a wedding dress and it was her best. I love that story, and I wish I could have worn it.

  2. I love stories like that, too. There really aren't any heirlooms being used in my family, so I'm taking the opportunity to create some traditions of my own.

  3. That would look so beautiful tucked into your decolletage or even rolled into a fabric 'rose' to wear at the shoulder or in your hair or something too. : )


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