Tag Archives: wedding dress

THE Wedding Dress Act THREE

If you have been following this random blog you know the story of THE wedding dress Acts One (yet to be written up), Act Two & Four. But what about Act Three you wonder. It’s a great one! Read on to see if you agree.

I asked good friend Sherrie to write down the story she verbally told me about lending the dress to another friend and this is what she jotted:

“Wow…this is going to test my memory!!

My friend Charlotte (Char) from Radford (used to be an all girls school) was 3rd to wear the dress. Following graduation in May of 1969 Char went to join her family in Japan where her dad was stationed in the Air Force. It was there that she met Lance whose dad was also stationed at the same base and they got engaged.

Char’s dad’s tour of duty ended that summer of 1969 and the family returned to northern Virginia in July. Her wedding was planned for August! I was the only bridesmaid in the area and so we went looking for dresses in a panic because she had less than a month until the wedding. We found nothing suitable and it dawned on me since Char and I were the same size, ‘You know Char, I have a dress that might fit you.’

The dress had been cleaned and sealed after both our weddings and was at my parent’s house in Williamsburg. The weekend we went to get it was the famous ‘walk on the moon by Neil Armstrong’. It was televised and it seemed like the entire world was glued to their television sets watching.

It occurred late Sunday night our time. Joe and I stayed up late watching it, caught a few winks of sleep and left before dawn because Joe had to be at work bright and early.

We had a 1968 Fiat Spider convertible 2 seater and there was barely room inside the back of the car for our luggage so absolutely no room for a fairly large wedding dress box!

Joe secured it to the rack on the back of the car with bungee cords and it seemed pretty safe. We had driven less than thirty minutes when we heard a slapping type sound. At first we weren’t sure what it was and then we heard the sound of the release of the box going air borne.

It was so dark we couldn’t see, but when we pulled off the road it was confirmed that the box was gone.

We were on Route 143 between Williamsburg and Richmond and the road was a divided four lane highway. There were no lights, not much population, certainly nothing close to the road with any light and it was about 4AM.

We had to back up and down the highway hoping no other cars would come along, frantically searching for the box. After what seemed like forever we finally found it about a half a mile back in a ditch. Thankfully the box had not been damaged.

We secured it again using other methods than just bungee cords. I remember a belt and things pulled out of our luggage to tie it tightly to the rack. And so the dress made it back to Alexandria. while a man from earth walked on the moon above.

Aside from tacking up the hem a bit, the dress fit her perfectly.”

It would be fun to have a few of Char’s wedding photos but I am grateful to have snagged this screen shot of her (I never met her) when many of us, who were unable to attend the event, made Sherrie a Happy Birthday video. In her segment Char mentioned THE Dress and panned to this photo!

The End of Act THREE

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THE Wedding Dress Act Two

Our wedding day June 7, 1969

Our wedding day June 7, 1969. Still LOVE my flowers especially the beautiful ribbon streams knotted with tiny rose buds that Bucky designed Jane. Perfection!

On June 7, 1969 Donny & I join our lives together to begin what is still the best adventure I have ever been on. It has an abundance of love, twists, turns, surprises, hilarity and, to use my much over used but appropriate on so many occasions word, fun. We have fun!

Before that day I am a working girl in Richmond living alone, dating some nice guys. Nothing significant on my radar. My job as an Advertising layout designer at landmark Miller & Rhoads downtown is a quick walk or bicycle ride from my huge Franklin Street apartment situated across from the exclusive prestigious mens’ only Commonwealth Club. The doorman and I wave to each other as I dash off, always late for work.

It’s June 1968, the store windows are decorated with traditional wedding gowns. Never much for wedding gowns, or diamonds either, I am drawn to a gown in the window by the main doors I access to then scurry up back stairs and hurried slip unnoticed, I hope, into my work cubicle where I pretend I’ve been there all along, only have stepped out for coffee.

But back to the dress. It mesmerizes me. I am in love with a wedding dress. I have no current boyfriend much less wedding plans. I have not even met Donny yet. But I want that dress. The months move on. The window displays change. My dress is forgotten.

Later in the summer my friend, Sherrie Edwards (Oliva), who is getting married in October and also worked in Advertising as a proof runner for a while, comes to town. She is wedding dress hunting. We have become good friends when I get her the job because she wants to live in Richmond but has no means of support. She moves in with me at my turn of the century apartment building on West Franklin Street across from my old dorm 909 West Franklin Street, but she heads home after she gets engaged to plan her wedding.

We start her hunt at Miller & Rhoads Bridal Department of course. She gets her Embassy Book (such a pretty tradition) and we settle in to view dresses. I swear it was the first one out but maybe not. At any rate, yes she does. The sales lady indeed brings out my dress. “That’s my dress!” I exclaim. Sherrie looks at me puzzled. I explain telling her that she can only have it if she promises to let me borrow it on my wedding day. Sherrie loves the dress too. She tries it on. I’m not sure if she even tried on any others. Most likely. But our dress is the one. She gets it. Later she tells me that our dress was custom designed for the daughter of the head of the bridal department and is even featured in a Tea Room fashion show. The story of why it is not used is lost in time. It is left hanging almost forgotten in a back corner of the department. The sales clerk must have figured Sherrie for the right customer to buy it.

Her Williamsburg wedding is beautiful. She has secretly arranged for me to catch the bouquet. I am elated and blushing. I still don’t have a committed boyfriend. Lots of boyfriends. And dates. But no let’s spend our life together relationship.

Of course that changes rapidly in November when I meet Donny. We are a match made to be. We get married six months later.

Sherrie and I keep up pretty well for awhile. She & Joe are in our wedding. Later down the road we arrange long distance play dates for our kids. Then things drift to annual Christmas card exchange. We meet at Mom’s house once. The Christmas cards become random.

Social media reconnects us. We are still Piglet and Jett. Along the reconnection way I ask her what became of the dress. In her downsizing phase she tells me that she donates it to Christ Church School for the drama department realizing that her daughter, Cary, will never use it. No one in my family will use it either but I miss my dress. My nephews go to Christ Church. I ask my sister-in-law to see if they will give me the dress in exchange for a donation to the department.

dress buttonsThe department head gives it to Julie saying they rarely use it anyway. Probably because of the 48 tiny covered buttons that close up the back. No zipper for this dress. My sister Suzanne can assure you that every button is real. She has to button each one on my wedding day. True sister love. Julie gives the dress to Suzanne who is dubious it is the right one. She sends a photo. Oh yes, that is my dress. A little aged but still beautiful as ever. Now it hangs next to my closet in full view because it really is just an ornament, a much loved lovely ornament.


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