Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Brother's Dress

You may remember the first dress (above) which I found at a local antique shop here in the Houston Heights.

Tall Husband and I found another little vintage baby dress this past weekend while browsing at Adkins Antiques. The moment I touched it, an ache of nameless nostalgia swept over me. I took the small treasure back to our bungalow and gently removed spots and hand washed it before ironing. As you can see, this baby dress is less frilly, a bit more tailored than the first one.

When I was washing this tiny dress, my younger brother Jerry popped into my head. I vividly remembered him as a toddler, asking our mother, "What will I be when I grow up?"

"You will be you," she answered.

"Will I be a boy or a girl?"

"You will be a boy. Once a boy, always a boy."

He did not look convinced. In fact he was quiet for the remainder of the day but that night as we were being tucked into our beds he blurted, "I was a girl! Will I be a boy or a girl when I'm big?"

"You were never a girl. Go to sleep."

A couple of days later we were looking at the family photo album. When I turned a page, Jerry became excited, "See, I was a girl!" he said, pointing to a photograph of himself as an infant. Sure enough, there he was in a small white dress.

Let me take a moment to explain that we were possibly the last generation of children in which it was common for both genders to wear dresses as infants. I remember Jerry's dresses appeared less frilly than mine in those photos; photos that have long since disappeared.

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So, I shall pretend that this is my brother's dress and smile each time I recall his first attempts to decipher life.

Addendum: Jerry died young, of cancer, leaving behind three small daughters and a wife, as well as parents, a brother and three sisters. But he left us with many sweet memories. Jerry, thank you for the memory of your baby dress.
Jerry as a Toddler

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post here ... I'm a long time collector of antique children's clothing and related items, so really appreciate when someone takes an interest in such. Thanks so much for sharing your brother's wonderful little story.