Sunday, May 18, 2008

Playing Dress Up

Earlier this week I passed along some old costume jewelry to Cousin Lisa, thinking there might be something in there she could use in her crafting. She reported back that the stuff made a big hit with the adopted granddaughter of the house, Belicia. She's almost 3-years-old and was delighted to play dress up with all the colorful beads.

It reminded me of my own dress up days. When I was about 5-6 years old, a lady from the church gave me a box of assorted costume jewelry. Mrs. Pearson worked at some large department store and she had acquired an assortment of unsold jewlery, had added some of her own she no longer wanted and gave the whole lot to me. Some of the pieces were still in good shape and Mother swiped those for her own use, but there was still a very large pile of rejects that I sorted and played with for quite a long time. I'm not sure what ultimately happened to the collection. I guess some got played to death and some was passed along to younger cousins when I outgrew dress up age.

Along with the jewelry, I had some of Mother's old dresses that I loved to put on and drape with jewels. I was big on play-acting, so I spent many hours happily changing costumes and characters and entertaining myself. One of the dresses I remember especially. It was a gauzy lime-green dress with a full skirt and large collar that draped wonderfully well. I actually managed to find a couple of photos where Mother is wearing it.

I was particularly fond of that dress and kept it for many years. The last memory I have of playing dress up in that dress was when I wore it in a play my class put on for the PTA. I guess I was in the 4th or 5th grade and I played a queen. I always felt elegant in that green dress, so it was the perfect choice for that part.

I have no memory what became of the dress. For many, many years we moved a collection of Mother's old dresses, including her wedding suit of a cream color with navy piping. I guess she finally tired of hauling them around and gave them to Goodwill. I rather wish I still had that green dress and that wedding suit. They were heirlooms I didn't know I would want all these years later.

Come to think of it, I guess I still play dress up. I do love putting together outfits and accessories. And I still have a large collection of costume jewelry. A girl never knows when she will need to feel elegant. Or kitschy. Or retro. Or refined. Or gaudy. Or medieval.

I think I know why I have a clutter problem.


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