Part 1 of a two-part series. (Reprint from 2014)
“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old – what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.” – Psalm 78:2-3
My Grandmother’s Wedding Dress – Part 1
I had never seen my grandmother’s wedding dress, even though it had been in my possession for at least fifteen years; that is, until the day I sold it to a local antique dealer a few years ago. When it was bequeathed to me in the course of settling my parents’ estate it had long before been carefully packed in a large blue box and sealed with shrink wrap for preservation. I dared not break the seal to take a peek for fear of exposing it to the elements and causing it harm. So, for years the beautiful, delicate, slightly tattered lace dress my grandmother had worn on her wedding day in 1909 sat tucked away in an airtight box on the top shelf of a rarely used closet in our home.
What should I do with it, I sometimes wondered, for I often felt it was something with which I had been entrusted, something sacred that was not mine to keep? Yet it just sat there. Then one day I met Debbie who owned an antique shop in downtown McKinney where we live. After some conversation I felt Debbie understood my plight and knew exactly what to do. So the two of us, Debbie and me, carefully unwrapped and unpacked my grandmother’s sweet delicate wedding gown from its sealed wrapper, and I finally laid eyes on it for the first time. Debbie displayed the dress on a mannequin in her store in a prominent location and attached to it a brief history of the dress along with a short biography of my grandmother I had written so the prospective purchaser would be buying not just the dress, but also the story behind it.
“I will utter hidden things, things from of old – what we have heard and known . . .,” the Psalmist declares. So it is I am sharing this story about my grandmother and her wedding dress – because her life mattered. For in her almost ninety-six years she experienced the same ups and downs we all experience, yet faced them all with dignity and grace, supported by her strong faith, a life of prayer, concern for others, and doing the right things. . . Well, the dress did sell, and when you read Part 2 next week you’ll see how my grandmother’s life still matters to this day, and why yours matters too.