Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hierlooms, continued (part deux)

When asked what my favorite heirloom is, there are many, not just one favorite. My "favorite" has changed from time to time.

I think, however, my most favorite heirloom -- drum roll please -- is my great grandmother's wedding dress.

I remember as a child my mom would get out this dress -- and there was another one, which I believe was my father's mother's dress -- the one about which I'm writing today is my father's maternal grandmother's dress, and I should know her name -- was it Minerva? I know she was a Casper. But that isn't what's important. What is important is how it came to be my favorite.

Wow, that paragraph I just wrote says a lot, isn't a complete sentence, and I should delete it, but I won't. I'll let you all figure it out.

Anyway, the dress is beautiful, and it was housed for years in my Grandmother Drexler's hope chest. Now is is housed in another heirloom, my Grandfather Drexler's wedding trunk. Both dresses were beautiful, but I fear my mom wore Grandmother Drexler's dress to one too many church dress-up functions. It just didn't stand up to her wear and tear and then allowing me to try it on and parade around in it -- always upstairs in the attic where it was stored.
The picture shows what the dress looks like when it is on a dress form. I had this dress in various rooms in our former home, but decided it was getting too dusty and I was afraid the dust and sunlight (albeit I did not put it in direct sunlight) and other airborne particles might harm the delicate material of the dress so I put it away.
Under the dress is a half slip -- the top is double strength mesh and lace. And then beneath the dress there was a pair of bloomers. Please notice that she is carrying a bouquet -- it was made for me by my favorite florists -- Batavia Floral Designs -- and it is in an old-fashioned silver bouquet holder.
The crown that held her veil, is on top of the red fluff -- the veil material is not anywhere to be found, but the crown is still in working order and it is satin with seed pearls sewn into it along the top and bottom and in the middle where you can barely see two lines.

Grandmother Casper's gown is no longer white, it has become the color that aged white dresses become -- sort of an off white. Shortly after I married a lady in dad's church who was a student at the Philadelphia College of Art asked if she could restore the dress for an exhibit that the Philadelphia Art Museum was putting on. So, the dress is now is perfect condition. All the torn lace frills were resewn and reattached to the dress. And it was exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Museum in the early 70s.

If I think of other things about this dress to add, I shall. However, that's all I can think of at this time.

I hope you enjoy this reminiscing about heirlooms. Let me know what you think.

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