Cleaning closets and dresser drawers gives me hives so I don't do either nearly often enough. Clothing that hangs in a closet for more than one year is guaranteed to shrink at least two sizes, shoes get all that fuzzy stuff (I think it's called podiatrist dust bunnies...PDB for short) in them and don't even get me started on the spiders in the boots. Dresser drawers hold intimate things and believe me the closets have no monopoly on the ability to shrink clothing, be it skirts, shirts or under britches.
So I was cleaning with my bottle of Calamine lotion right handy to use at the first hint of an itchy place. And I ran across a little linen dress with lace sleeves, a fitted waist line and evidence that it had been too long because it had been hand hemmed.
My wedding dress!! I hadn't taken it out of that drawer since the last time I cleaned which was that day I had lunch with Columbus when he took a wrong turn and found himself steering his boat up the Washita River south of Davis, OK.
Mr. B's father took a few photos of us on the day I wore the dress but alas, the place where he took them to be developed sent back a whole packet of folks in a bowling tournament so there are no wedding day pictures of me in that dress. However, one year later on our anniversary, we did have one taken and I do have proof that I could zip the dress and the belt fastened around my waist even if it wasn't in the same little place as it was the day we said "I do." In the photo, Mr. B's suit still fit him, also. Picture a toe sack hanging on a broom handle!
On our second anniversary, child number one was four weeks away from making his entrance into the world so there was no need at all to try to fit that cute little linen dress around my "watermelon" shaped body. The next anniversary got away from us without evening remembering what day it was. We had a son who could scale a glass wall on a rainy day and tear up an army tank with a feather and a rubber band. I certainly did not have the time to drag out the dress and try it on.
Another year went by and it was "watermelon" time again. This time we had a beautiful blue eyed daughter who was going to grow up and wear my dress, maybe not to her wedding but to one of the affairs surrounding it.
A few months later, I did run across the dress in the drawer and tried it on. It almost zipped all the way which meant if I lost only ten pounds it would still fit like a charm.
Oh, BTW, Mr. B's suit still fit very well.
We spent our seventh anniversary in the hospital with our third child, the second daughter, who I was sure would want to wear my dress to something in the future.
There was no time to even think of the dress after we brought her home. Three kids in less than five years kept us both really busy. Our son was still plunking feathers from big-eyed vultures that were terrified of him so he could tear up army tanks. The middle child was embracing the terrible twos with an attitude of getting an A in the class. The new baby was a night owl who wanted to play all night and sleep all day.
Besides the mirror said that there was no way in the great green earth I could put my body into that dress again. The mirror did not say rude things to Mr. B so I threw it out in the yard.
We moved twenty one times in the first thirteen years of our marriage and that dress and suit moved every time with us. The last time we packed them both away and forgot about them. Then as I was cleaning, I found the dress!
I grabbed up my dress like a long, lost friend and wondered if I could get into it. Mr. B fetched his suit from the old army truck and slipped on the pants and coat right over his jeans and T-shirt. Yep, still fit about the same. Pleading modesty, I took my dress into the bathroom.
Linen does not stretch. It does however shrink two sizes for each year that it lies in a dresser drawer. The mirror chuckled when I unzipped the dress and pulled it up over my knees. It laughed until dew drops formed at the top and streamed down to the vanity when the zipper broke. It got choked and shut up when I shook the hair brush at it and reminded it of what happened to the last mirror that had the audacity to cross me.
"Let me see," Mr. B said from the other side of the locked door.
I didn't say a word. I just folded it so the broken zipper didn't show, marched out of the room and put it in the trunk with his suit. Old army trunks do not shrink clothing. Old army trunks might even let them grow a size or two with each passing year.
On our 75th wedding anniversary I think it might have enough time to age into a lovely dress to wear to our party!