Walking through town on my way home from school, I always liked to see what was new in the store windows. Not that I had money to buy–just to look and to wish. (perchance to dream). The one store I liked most was a clothing store for children and young teens. Not just school outfits, but also beautiful party dresses were usually displayed. (Not todays mini skirts or tight jeans or baggy pants with acid wash). No, these were the dreams of fairy tales.
And then one day I found myself in the midst of a dream. A dream of wearing the dress.
Just entering junior high, I had long before given up my pastel Easter dresses. Now I was ready for something more grown up. And I had just seen it in the store window.
The turquoise colored taffeta dress with rhinestone buttons down the front sparkled and caught this young girls eye. No demure collar here–no puffed sleeves– this was the dress for me! And yet I could only wish.
I knew any extra money would be destined for new shoes. My shoes at the moment were worn out penny loafers. They had lucky pennies in them though. It was fun to find a lucky penny to put in your shoe. And I had two lucky pennies to wish on.
But, without a fairy godmother to pull this off for me, it was still only a dream.
A week passed and I learned that some of the clubs at school were inviting the seventh grade students to join. As the invitations were given out there came advice–to dress up and try to look your best. Well, I thought. I have nothing to wear and then the thought came that maybe my dream could come true.
First though, I had to convince my parents that without the dress I would probably be laughed at. With the dress, I’d surely have a chance to join the club. After much pleading, my dad took me downtown and the dress was finally mine.
The evening of the meeting arrived and with trembling fingers I fastened the rhinestone buttons. My mom had curled my hair. She even allowed a touch of lipstick that made me feel very grown up. I was almost ready to be driven to school, when my little world crumbled. My penny loafers were the only shoes I had to wear. (Where was my fairy godmother now that I really needed her?)
So with much chagrin, I went to the meeting. To my surprise, the rest of the girls were wearing skirts and sweaters or simple dresses. Feeling very much out-of-place, I sat near the back of the room and tried to hide my feet, tucking them under my chair. I sat there embarrassed, wishing the clock would strike 12 and I could run home. And I would be sure not to lose a slip-on loafer.
I don’t think I heard what was said at the meeting. At the end though, we were asked to join and were given membership cards and meeting schedules.
The dress hung in my closet, a constant reminder of the choice I made. It would occasionally come out for church or a party, but I didn’t like wearing it without the proper shoes –It would be some time before money became available for new ones. And of course by then, I had outgrown the dress!
As I look back, I am overwhelmed by my mother and father’s love for their daughter and the sacrifices they made. At the time in my life when I was learning to make choices, they allowed me to make a painful mistake. For that I am ever grateful. I’m glad my fairy god mother wasn’t there to bail me out.
Was there a time in your life when a choice you made backfired?