When I smell the delicate, lacy dress, still too big for me, I am
transported to the attic of my friend Melissa’s grandma. Though the
opening was small, the attic was large. Dust, mingled with a musty
smell of things untouched for many years. On a rack hung old clothes:
crinkled party dresses, turn of the century gowns, a red sequined
flapper dress with fringe, dresses with satin ribbons. The wooden box
next to it, spurted out the smell of ancient leather when you opened
it. Black, heeled granny boots, white patent leather shoes, sparkly
gold sandals, and lots of high heeled lady shoes. Hanging on nails
were hats. Hats with feathers. Hats with veils. Party hats to wear
with the long white gloves, stained long ago. That part of the attic
was all ours. We dressed up in our dresses and heels. We dug through
the box of jewelery for some clip on earrings and fake pearls for the
We danced, courted, and sipped tea with queens. With a bonnet we
became Laura and Mary Ingalls out in the prairie. Putting on the
gingham dress I became Anne of Green Gables. We went from acting as
farm girls to flouncing around as royalty.
Looking back, I am amazed at how she allowed up to play dress up with
those clothes, which were probably worth quite a bit. Yet, how much is
the value of inflaming an imagination?
When I moved away, Melissa and her grandma gave me that lacy dress to
remember them by. And I do.