Sunday, March 13, 2011

The butterfly dress

Did you ever have a dress or an outfit that meant so much to you that it returns to you in your dreams for decades? I did, and I called it the "butterfly dress" when I mentioned it to my sister. It turns out that a picture of that dress still exists, scanned in by my brother-in-law Pete. Most likely it was taken by my father. The dress was pink and had the most beautiful net cutout on the bodice. It might not look magical to you, but it certainly was to me. I STILL have dreams about that dress.

Although you can't see it in the picture, it was made of a soft taffeta fabric and when I wore it, I felt like a princess. I'm not sure whether Norma Jean had a matching dress, but she probably did as Mama often dressed us alike, or in the same dress except in different colors, like pink and yellow.

My hair was not naturally curly, so I suspect my mother had my hair in pincurls the night before the picture was taken. Do you remember what it was like to have your hair done up in fat curls secured by bobby pins? If you hair is wet when it is pinned, it ends up being as big and fluffy as mine is in this picture. But of course I didn't mind at all, I thought it was the height of fashion, with my patent-leather shoes and white socks to complete the look.

Another picture Pete scanned in that I had forgotten about was this other pink dress with fabric puffy sleeves, and my favorite, that see-through net on the sleeves and collar. In this case, Norma Jean and I had matching dresses for Easter. I suspect it had little pink dots on the see-through part overlaid over a nice silk or taffeta, which was of course very popular in the 1940s and 1950s, when I was a little girl. Mama loved to knit and make dresses for us, but I know the butterfly dress was purchased. She might have made this one.

When I think back about my childhood, it was a happy one, although we moved around so much because Daddy was in the Air Force and never stayed anywhere for very long. I loved being the "new girl" in town, while Norma Jean hated it. It's interesting to me how different we were, in the same environment but experiencing it completely differently.

I have enjoyed the many comments and well wishes from my blogging friends about Friday's thyroid test. You may rest assured that as soon as I know anything, you will too. It's amazing to me how comforting it is to think of my friends all around the world holding me in their thoughts, and I realize that I do the same for you, when you are in a situation like this. Robert the Skeptic is having surgery tomorrow for an aortic valve replacement, and if you don't follow his blog, you might want to check it out and send him a kind thought or two. I know it has certainly made a difference to me.
:-)

35 comments:

  1. LOL! Mom used to dressed me in pink, I remember my pink dress on my seventh birthday and Im still keeping it. She fixes my hair with a comb with a ribbon on it and I remember I looked like a gift.

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  2. I love this dress, and your sweet little hair do :)
    You haven't changed much at all, a beautiful face and smile.
    I could have picked you out of a crowd.
    Good Luck with the thyroid results !
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

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  3. Oh so pretty! And yes...I do remember those pin curls. Curly do looks cute on you. Wonder why the pink dress comes back to you in your dreams? Happy memories when you wore the dress maybe?
    My daughter shops on ebay for vintage dresses like yours for her daughter. She's got a thing for the 50's....guess I do too. Good times....simple times. I'll stop in and visit your blog friend. Nice to know we are all here to support each other with friendship even from afar. BTW how's Norma Jean doing with the puppies? xo

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  4. Those delicate dresses looked wonderful on you. But I'm curious. All my photos from that time are black and white. Were yours in color or did Pete colorize them?

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  5. I did have a favorite dress, a red and white taffeta skirt and sheer top. I was going to wear it for class picture day, and I knew I was sick that morning, but I didn't tell and went to school in that dress. Then I missed two weeks of school with the mumps. But I was in the class photo in that dress!
    I am now making special dresses for my granddaughter.

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  6. Oh my, you were a fancy little girl. I love the butterfly dress and can see why you loved it so. I also remember having my hair pinned up with bobby pins on Saturday night so I'd look good for Sunday School the next morning.

    The fabric in the second dress reminds me of dotted swiss. I had several things mother made me out of dotted swiss and I loved every one of them.

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  7. i had a t shirt i wore until it pretty much fell off of me...will head over to roberst...and looking forward to some good news on your front...

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  8. Ah, the dresses of our childhood. How pretty, The Girl in the Butterfly Dress. It sounds like a wonderful short story or a fable. Great metaphor. And life is really a series of metaphors it seems.

    Best Thoughts,
    Teresa

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  9. Glad you have happy memories of a happy childhood. Not many of us do.

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  10. I can still remember the three new dresses I had to choose from for the first day of school in fourth grade.

    I haven't worn a dress in years. Those were the days!

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  11. We must be the same age, my mom did my hair the same way and I was always dressed in pink dresses, I still love pink....:-) Hugs

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  12. The little butterfly dress is so cute, you look so good in the pinks.

    My grandmother was the seamstress and make me some of the cutest little dresses, lots of them in pink. Trouble is I was a total tomboy and always hated all the frills. I still won't wear pink.

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  13. You looked very sweet in both dresses. I had one of those dresses that brings back special memories too. Mine was red, white, and blue - with a sailor collar. Yes, I remember the pin curls. I didn't care for the fluff and poofy hair look, but my mother insisted on making it that way despite my protests.

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  14. OH I remember having my hair curled with bobby pins!! HORRIBLE to sleep on!

    I love the Butterfly dress. I would have loved such a fine dress.

    I was not a big fan of dresses as a little girl. I was quite the Tom Boy... I would NOT wear a dress unless the dress had pockets.

    I think I remember a sage green dress with flowers on the pockets and it had a white collar...

    I remember a Heidi type dress I found at a second hand store when my girls were young. It fit my oldest daughter and she absolutely loved that dress. Her sister wore it when she grew out of it...I wonder now if I saved it??

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  15. Great memories. You looked cute in frilly dresses. I loved those dresses when I was growing up. My mom used to take me to hair dressers for the half day that it took to put perms in hair in those days of the fifties.

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  16. What a cute little girl you were. I like the way you accurately describe the different reactions and as you say "in the same environment but experiencing it completely differently."

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  17. Sweet photos DJan. My sister and I were always dressed alike, in similar dresses to yours. My favorite had little dangling cherries at the neckline. Your photo reminds me of a blue dotted swiss dress I loved too. Thanks.

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  18. Thyroid test?!?!?! Damn, I have a lot of catching up to do!
    I hope it's nothing serious... HUGS!!!

    Those dresses actually made Anne of Green Gables pop into my mind. I saw them and went "puffed sleeves!" :p
    They are pretty, even if they are pink... ;o) (as a redhead I'm allergic to that colour)

    I don't have any dreams of childhood dresses... but I do have some vivid memories of myself (or probably pictures of myself) in certain dresses! The ones that always come to mind when I think original childhood gowns are an Alice in Wonderland dress (my sister had one too) that my mom must have gotten us in '82 when we visited Disneyland, another I called the "heidi dress" very Swiss... red with white edelweiss stichted on it, and a yellow flowy one very light and summery. Oh, and one that I think of as a cross between an elf and a candy cane. Those 4 dresses... fun!

    Thanks for helping bring forth som fun memories of years gone by!

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  19. You really haven't changed all that much. I'd recognize that smile anywhere. I can see why you loved that dress so much. Your post reminded me of how my mother dressed my sister and me in the same style clothes.. more often than not, in the same colour. The problem with that was she is four years older than I am and so I seemed to be in the same clothes for years as I grew out of my own and into her hand-me-downs.

    I stopped by your friend's blog to leave my good wishes. I'll keep him in my best thoughts.

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  20. I hope you have favorable results from your test Djan. Fingers crossed. And DJan in a pink dress is too cute.

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  21. Everyone's right, you look the same! I do have memories of certain dresses, though I'm older in most of them. I have saved certain outfits of my children's that I particularly love them in. I hope to one day pass them on or make something out of them or something...

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  22. You looked so pretty in your pink dresses. I had a white one made of organza my mother made me for my birthday once – a bit of a sad story – I’ll have to write a post on it. I love your shoes too.

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  23. I loved the dresses and can relate to the feelings that such outfits gave when we were children. Isn't it great to recall those days, those outfits, and the love of the mother who created or provided them for us? So cute.

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  24. P.S. Who would have ever thought that the girl in the butterfly dress would someday jump out of airplanes?

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  25. I love your dresses and the look of the time. I very much like to see little girls looking like little girls and so pretty. Why grow up too quickly? I hate that current trend!
    Thank you for showing us those pictures. I really enjoyed looking at them.

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  26. Such a pretty girl in pretty pink.
    I hated it when I was made to dress up and go for walks on a Sunday.

    Best of luck with the biopsy results.

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  27. At least your bangs were curled or swept to the side..mine were stick straight..and the rest of my hair was curls.
    I had two favorite dresses one was red and one was blue satin...I wasn't much into pink.
    Your dresses are both divine..and I can see that you liked to show off your beautiful knees..the ones that like hanging out in the breeze:)

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  28. So cute! And it is funny, because when I was in kindergarten or first grade, my school picture was one in which I wore a butterfly dress too..and I remember it and loved it. A different one than you had on, but what a coincidence!

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  29. I think most women had little girl dresses. What makes yours unique is that you remember it and have photos of it!
    - Trish

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  30. Those are such lovely pics. I like the way your hair was done.

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  31. Those are such lovely pics. I like the way your hair was done.

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  32. Awww...you are such a cutie in pink. That is an adorable dress and I can see why you liked it so much. I remember a very ruffly dress that my mom made me. She also used to make me underwear out of old rice bags.

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  33. My mom use to give me Toni perms! She also use to cut my bangs very short!

    Your picutures are cute!

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