Tag Archives: memories

My Handmade Prom Dress and a Ramble into the Past

Since I can’t show the full length version on Etsy,here it is in all it 80’s glory!

My Prom Date and I in all our 80's glory!

My Prom Date and I in all our 80’s glory!

In my junior year of high school I became interested in fashion design and convinced my art teacher that he should let me design and make my own prom dress for my final project .I came up with the design and my Aunt Janet helped me immensely on the dress.It was pretty fancy with boning in the bodice,beaded applique, layers of chiffon and tulle.I think I was the only girl at prom with black on,and I have to say my dress was definitely the best one!Ha ha.

I wish I had some better pictures but am happy to even have this scan my date Jay gave me.As fate would have it,we grew apart after high school.He was a year ahead and went on to art school in MD and was very disappointed in me when I ditched plans to go to art school and instead took off traveling with the Grateful Dead.I saw him last in 1991 when my GD tour friends and I stopped off between shows at my Dad’s in NJ and Jay randomly drunk dialed my Dad’s and I was actually home for the first time in several months 😉 He came over and was very loudly telling me how off course I was and to grow up and get over my hippy shit.

Many miles down the road in 1996,I had my almost one year old on my back at the farmer’s market in Hawaii,turned a corner to leave the market and literally ran smack dab into Jay-all decked out in long hair,beads and hippy attire.It was hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing!Oh the irony.I am happy to say that after all these years we are still friends,though he lives on  Maui so we don’t see each other often.

See what happens when you let me have a blog??Diarrhea of the keyboard!I seem incapable of just posting a picture with a caption 😉

Aloha

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The things you share when you are ‘stroked’.

 

So to update,I did choose the sunrise logo.Here it is:

 

I am thrilled to tell you that I am sitting at my NEW desk that my sweetie made for me(and he just brought me some beautiful Queen Emma’s Lilies fresh with morning rain..ahhh!)Years ago,I found a desk for sale in the paper that was listed as all real wood.Of course when I went to see it with the intention of buying it I had my newborn and two older boys with me and it was hectic to say the least. Suffice it to say I was tricked and didn’t realize until I got home that it was painted over pressed board(and infested with termites to boot!Yay!).It has been a horrendous, peeling paint monstrosity that makes me feel anything but creative. I need to be surrounded by beauty to create!And now,I am! He made this for my fortieth birthday present and it is just gorgeous!Mahagony,cedar and pine varnished to a high sheen!Of course getting rid of the old desk meant  cleaning it out….which led to reorganizing everything else .Holy moly!I have been going through decades of stuff:”free hug” coupons from Grateful Dead Tour that I was saving for a serious hug emergency,stickers,cards from dear friends  marking all kinds of big changes in our lives,photos…phew.It was a big cleansing on many levels and also made it so clear how blessed I am to have had friends that have lasted through so many twists and turns in the  road.

 

Any hoo…if you are still here….after writing my first blog and sharing my experience of attending Satsang with Ram Dass I was thinking about my paternal Grandfather, Archie.He was a real salty dog and insisted we call him Archie,not Grandpa.My Grandmother died when I was about three so he was mostly alone when I was growing up..aside from the dogs he kept.I could write every blog about Archie,but the reason I thought of him so much during the Ram Dass Satsang was because Archie too was ‘stroked’ as Ram Dass likes to say.Up until Archie’s first stroke when he was about 81 or so he was still climbing mountains.He was a very active man and after having a few strokes half of his body was paralyzed, and he pretty much lost his speech.This was in 1985 and I was just finishing 8th grade.My friends and I had big plans for the summer-our last before we went off to different high schools.We had grown up together attending a K-8 elementary school and when my parents informed me that I had to go up to Massachusetts(we lived in NJ) to help my aunt take care of Archie I was less than thrilled, to say the least.

( I am thinking blog format may not be my thing..I may actually be more of a novelist!)

My point in bringing this up is caring for Archie was very difficult. He could not really communicate verbally,just random words here and there. He was also suffering from dementia and he usually thought I was his sister Betty.He would often request

(by gesturing )and pen and pad of paper to try and communicate in writing.It was usually unintelligible ,but once in a while you could actually read his writing.One day,he was very anxious and adamantly wanting me to get his paper and pen.he was getting so frustrated because he obviously had something very important to communicate.I kept trying to read the writing, to no avail.I was thinking he needed something, or was in pain. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggling so much.Finally after almost a page of writing there were tow words that stood out clearly.at first I thought it was gibberish but then I asked my Aunt Janet if she had ever seen the words “aurora borealis” .She got excited and then told me that was the latin for the Northern Lights and went on to tell me a story about how one night she and my Dad were kids and fast asleep when Archie had woken them up and the whole family drove out to a nearby hilltop.They sat on the hilltop in the middle of the night and watched as the Aurora Borealis  danced about the sky in a dazzling display of color.While Janet was telling me the story Archie was grinning so BIG and looked happier than I had seen him in months.It really struck me then of all the things he had experienced in his life THAT was what he wanted to communicate to ME.

 

Many years later(he had passed away the summer of ’86)I was driving across country with a few friends,and I was riding shotgun on the night shift.We were in like..nebraska and we began to see these strange lights in the sky.At first we thought we must be seeing the lights of a far off city but it wasn’t that.the we started tripping out thinking it must be some kind of UFO!(this was a LONG time ago!he he he!)These strange lights just kept going and going…and suddenly I felt like Archie was sitting next to me.All of a sudden I realized we were seeing the Northern Lights!!I will never forget that feeling that my grandfather was there with me,and stayed with me until the sun was coming up and the lights changed to a brilliant purple color against the sunrise sky.It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life, and I never felt closer to Archie than I did right then.

All these words to say,it is amazing to me the things that over the course of a long life become the most important experiences to share.It wasn’t worry about paying the bills or putting food on the table.It was the Aurora Borealis.