When DS2 called me to wish me a happy birthday, I asked him if he’d seen his wife’s picture on the WWW and he said yes. He proceeded to tell me I could post his picture, too, and use his real name instead of “D2SQ” or some such. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He’d been dead set against it before.
That started me on a quest to name everyone. Some said yes and some said no so I’ll leave it as is. I think it would be a little strange to have names for some and not others. It might be confusing, too, to try to remember which name goes with what title.
So…here’s the picture of DS2 along with DIL2:
And here they are together:
Let’s see. DD was bankrupting me with her usage of hairspray and there was an abundance of estrogen in the house. She was in the 8th grade, was looking sideways at boys and had definite ideas about her graduation.
She was half of the graduating class. The other girl was easily persuaded to go along with DD’s suggestions about colors, theme, etc., etc. I was Home and School (the church school’s equivalent of the PTA or PTO) leader so it fell to me to implement them and try to stay within the budget.
The colors were pink and black. I went to a local florist and she came up with a nice arrangement of silk caladiums in a black vase. She also gave me a good deal on helium filled balloons in pink and black. I found jelly beans in the class colors as well. Everything was falling into place except for The Dress.
My personal budget was even more limited than the Home and School. After looking at a few dresses that didn’t even come close to what she wanted, it was obvious I was going to have to apply my sewing skills to the project. And how I hated to sew! (I still do.) I swallowed my feelings and we went shopping for a pattern and fabric.
I’ve operated on the assumption if something is legal, moral and non-fattening, I can live with it—at least in the short run. The Dress fit into those guidelines but what didn’t was the stress I was going to suffer.
DD pored over the pattern books while I moped around in the background. I didn’t intend to dampen her spirits and I tried to get into some kind of enthusiastic state of mind. I don’t know if I succeeded or not. I know I wasn’t prepared for the pattern she picked out. It had big pleated sleeves and a skirt that was street length in the front and dipped down almost to the floor in the back. I took a deep breath and said okay. That was the one we’d get.
Now to the fabric. It had to be black for the bodice and overskirt and pink for the lining with a big bow of pink. If nothing else, it would be dramatic. And crawl-y. The material was semi-sheer that slipped and slid no matter what.
Our little living room was big enough to have the dining table in one end and I got out my folding cutting board that had seen little use since I’d gone to work. I arranged the pattern pieces on the fabric and pinned them carefully. Just as carefully, I cut them out. I couldn’t afford a mistake. DD watched as I worked.
Mother’s instructions were going through my head. Make sure the grain is running the same way for all the pieces. Don’t skimp on the seam allowances. Baste, baste, baste. If a seam is crooked, carefully take it out and do it over. The sloppy application of a zipper can ruin an otherwise nice garment. Try the garment on frequently to make sure it will fit the way it’s supposed to. It’s easier to make it fit before it’s finished than after. I added one. If I hurt myself badly enough to bleed, don’t get anything on the material.
Hour after hour, I bent over the sewing machine. Time after time, I had DD try it on. Take it in a little here. Let it out a little there. Her patience was wearing thin. I hadn’t had much to start with. At times, I felt like I’d bitten off more than I could chew.
Finally, I pressed the last seam and held the dress up for DD’s inspection. She was in a “whatever” phase but I do believe her eyes shone when she saw the completed dress for the first time.
We had to take the dress with us to get appropriate undergarments. Sheer black hosiery and a pair of black patent heels completed her outfit.
Graduation night came. Her hair had to be sprayed to the nth degree and over that left eye just so. One-eyed or not, I had to admit she looked beautiful.
I don’t remember if she came down the aisle first or if the other girl did. That didn’t matter, anyway. I was ready with my camera and caught the moment.
The program proceeded as planned. We had a guest speaker—a former pastor—who charged the girls with making the best of what was to come. I presented a gift to the teacher. After music and speeches, the two girls were given their diplomas and we went to the fellowship hall for the reception.
Along with the jelly beans and pink punch, I’d made Dirt Cakes that were decorated with pink cutouts of girls in cap and gown.
There were gifts to be opened and cleanup to be done. I had plenty of help and it wasn’t long until everything was back the way it was before the decorating had been done.
My store of nervous energy was gone. I was exhausted. DD and I loaded the car and went home so I could collapse. I couldn’t relax long. A recruiter had been to the school and DD was convinced she wanted to go to a boarding academy that was a couple of hours away. We’d had a heart to heart about it. Boarding schools aren’t cheap. There was no other way than to step out in faith.