Our blogger friend Adelita at Lita Dreaming sent me the following story through Facebook. I asked her if we could post it. The woman who experienced it, Wanda Burch, is a friend of Adelita’s and an author whose book, She Who Dreams, is now on my must read list. Here’s the story, in Wanda’s words:
Ron and I have known each other since the sixth grade, began dating in college and married 43 years ago today. Marrying your best friend is a special journey.
The graduate school years placed us hundreds of miles apart, Ron in North Carolina, me in upstate New York; but occasionally we talked about where we would marry and what kind of wedding it would be. Mademoiselle Magazine featured “folkloric” wedding gowns in 1970, and I was in love with the cover gown, a Romantic dotted Swiss dress with puffy sleeves ending in long Victorian cuffs. I tucked the magazine away among my class notes where glimpses of it would pop up as I fingered through my assignments. I had no income and no hope of owning such a dress but it hovered like a remembered night dream.
That spring my housemate asked if I would like to spend the weekend in New York City while she visited family. Never having been to New York City I eagerly accepted. As I packed, I pulled the magazine from its hiding place and looked on the “where to find merchandise” page: Lord & Taylor, New York City. Maybe I could just try it on.
I made myself at home in an old hotel, barely sleeping through the unfamiliar sights, sounds and aromas of Manhattan. Early Saturday morning I made my way to Lord & Taylor. I told the saleswoman my hapless tale of loving the cover gown and, like a fairy godmother fulfilling a dream, she happily filled the dressing room with all the wedding gowns featured in the pages of the magazine.
In the midst of trying on gown after gown and saving my dream gown for last, a floor attendant burst into the dressing room and said: “You’re the perfect size.” She told me a young woman and her mother were on the floor to “see” gowns, but the model had not shown up. Would I do it?
I had little choice. She had already pulled the first gown over my head. I spent an hour or more walking in circles while the young woman and her mother selected a gown. I returned to the changing room, looking one more time at the beautiful gown from the magazine cover. It was still my favorite.
The attendant walked in and saw the gown in my arms. “Take it,” she said.
“Take it. We have no contract with you as a model, and I was wondering how to pay you. Take the dress.”
Ron and I were married August 7, 1971. I wore the cover gown from Mademoiselle Magazine.
It’s the gown in the photo at the top of the post, which was on the cover of the magazine in the spring of 1970.