August 26, 2008

Oprah, Wedding Dresses, and the Crafty Mind

The title of this post seems incongruous at best, but trust me, I can connect the dots. A few weekends ago I read an article in the NY Times about a woman who is living according to all things Oprah for one year. She watches the tv show, reads the magazine and checks out her website for suggestions on how to live the Oprah life. Her blog is Living Oprah. I've visited it several time and I was relieved to note that she doesn't swallow everything Oprah advocates--she seems to maintain a critical eye when appropriate. I started thinking that this could be an interesting idea for a middle grade or ya novel. A 10-year-old trying to live the Oprah life. I think it has possibilities.

Anyway, since I was thinking about Oprah I decided to invite her to join me for lunch. Not the Oprah, of course, but magazine Oprah. I was in Pasadena a week ago and wanted to have something to read while I ate lunch. I knew the thick-spined Oprah magazine would last me through even the most lengthy of meals. This issue had a lot of lists in it, including one about getting organized. Complete organization is a fantasy of mine and I read over the list with great enthusiasm. One item had to do with the dilemma of storing v. recycling wedding dresses. My own wedding dress spent 26 years in a plastic bag in a closet at my mother's house, and since Mom died it has spent the last five years in the same plastic bag in a closet at my house.

I've always held on to the dress because that's what women do--you save it for a daughter or save it to wear again on significant anniversaries. I know that Nora would most likely never wear this dress for any occasion in her future (her distant future) and it seems equally unlikely that I will ever have an opportunity to wear it again. To be honest, I would be hard pressed to fit into the dress. When I pulled it out of the bag, I was startled to see how small the dress actually was. I don't remember being that skinny.

Those considerations are moot at this point because the dress is not actually wearable. It's stained with the remnants of champagne spills down the front. Thirty-one years later those stains have really set. But last week when I was cleaning closets and feeling adventurous I decided to see if the stains could be removed. My wedding dress was a very simple white cotton pique and to my untrained eye it looked washable. The label on the dress said dry clean only, but I knew better. I was sure that a little Shout, a little Tide and the delicate cycle could restore my dress to it's original beauty.

Alas, this was not to be. My dress did survive it's trip to the washing machine but so did the stains. I suppose I could try to bleach them out but I think my 31-year old fabric might disintegrate in the process. So now I have a slightly cleaner wedding dress with slightly lighter stains. But what can be done with it? No one can wear it so donating it is out of the question. This is where the crafty part comes in. Even a disassembled wedding dress has special significance, and the potential for a memorable future as a baby pillow or a ring pillow. If I put my mind to it I'm sure the possibilities are endless. Per Oprah's suggestion it's not going back into a plastic bag in the closet. Do you think she'd mind a box?


Patty P said...

Love clicking to your site and seeing a new blog entry...almost like Christmas morning. I, too, have stored my wedding dress. I have no allusions that Elly will ever wear it. God, I hope she doesn't want to) but here's what I do. Since her very first birthday, I have swaddled, propped and pinned the dress to Elly for her annual birthday picture. I think I missed one or two birthdays, but it doesn't matter. Seeing little baby Elly absolutely floating in a sea of sequins and organza warms my soul. I keep my dress for no other reason.

Mary said...

Well, this is something interesting. I enjoyed reading through your blog. I;d recommend this site to my Mom. She'd surely enjoy it too. She's an Oprah fanatic. My sister too. More power to you and your blog.
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