Friday, October 21, 2016

The Dress {Encore*}

*Original 1/26/13




As I drove from the Goodwill
donation garage last week, the
peach chiffon dress, nestled in
its dry cleaning bag, lay across
a heap of clothes and pillows in
one of those mega storage bins.

My heart clenched.
My eyes pricked.

I took a deep breath.




And as the sunshine on that
cold, sunny day beamed
through my windshield,

I
smiled.

And gave thanks.




Thanks for the 95 year-old
lady who waltzed in that peach
chiffon confection at my brother's
wedding, when she was 88.

Although she no longer
remembers her dancing days, I,
her granddaughter, know that
until the last few years, she
danced through every decade
of her sweet life.


{Gigi on the right; bestie Mildred on the left.}

Gigi's parents scrimped during
her teen years, the time of the
Great Depression, so that she 
could take dancing lessons.

It wasn't peach chiffon in
those days, but more humble
fabric donated and sewn by her
best friend's older sister into
recital outfits.


{Third from the left.}

When she graduated from high
school and her dad saw the ad
in the Cleveland Plain Dealer
for an audition with a traveling
vaudeville troupe similar to 
the Rockettes, off she went in
her homemade costume....

And made the cut.

An exciting new chapter
in her life unfolded.




Even after she became a wife
and a mother and hung up her
professional dancing shoes ~

that's how it was in those
days ~

Gigi still loved to dance.




It wasn't uncommon to see her
do a little two-step when she
was really enthused about 
something : )

Well into her 80's, she always
told me that she was going to
learn the Tango,

someday.




After retiring, Gigi and a
friend joined Arthur Murray
Dance Studio for instruction.

Which is where the peach chiffon
dress made its debut.




She wore it to a recital, with
a sparkly brooch pinned to
the bodice.

Oh, that dress just floated.

Gigi was so enamored of its
style that she kept it in her
closet for over 20 years, until
it reappeared for my brother's
wedding.


{2005 ~ 88 years young}

The rumpled chiffon looked
a bit forlorn on that 
Goodwill pile.

But as she herself used to
tell me,

All good things have to
come to an end, Sue.


{With the groom!}

Like her dancing days.

And the mind that was able
to remember them.

And the peach chiffon dress.

{Luckily, I still have 
the brooch.}

And her stories.



xo
Suzanne



****

Jeanette Bernice Gatton Browning, 
aka Gigi, turned 99 years old
on September 17th, 2016.

She danced into heaven the next
morning.

 I'm certain that she's
finally learned how to Tango 



(all images my own)

6 comments:

Terra Hangen said...

I am in love with this story and Gigi and your way of telling it. The dress really floats and Gigi looks darling as she danced through life.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

OH I am imagining her dancing that tango! She was one very special lady, Suzanne.
She was a beautiful blessing in your life and I know you miss her...love to you, my friend. xo

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

What a gorgeous woman back then and on that day with the groom. HER SHOES....lovely.

There is something special about being an artist. You are born that way, you have to do your art even if it's a two step during a moment of joy. You develop a philosophy of life, and if you're lucky, it's a happy one. I can see that Gigi's beauty ran deeply, beyond those fabulous eyes and smile. And yes dearest Suzanne, all both of us have are the memories of those individuals in our lives that taught us how to really dance.

GORGEOUS.

Jeanie said...

Oh Suxanne, I have tears in my eyes. I can just see it. She was gorgeous from her earliest photos to the day before she died. How very, very special this is. I know you heart broke a wee bit when you had to say goodbye, but the other part of the heart could soar in knowing that this woman, this guidepost to you and those before you, lived her life as a floating, dancing angel. Something tells me that dress has made a celestial appearance in the wispiest of peachy pink clouds in the sunrise or sunset. Take a look for her -- she's there. Dancing. Let the tango begin.

Curtains in My Tree said...


What a sweet and a sad story.
I know who ever found that pink satin dress in it's plastic bag ay goodwill did the tango all the way home

michele said...

a sacred story from a tender heart. thanks for sharing the love. xox