Going to the Chapel & We're Gonna Get Married

I loved that song, Chapel of Love by The Dixie Cups, 1964. I was 10 years old.

Fast forward 14 years to 1978 and I really did go to the chapel and get married to a wonderful person! We're still at it 37 years later. :-)

Catherine, of Not Dressed As Lamb, has shared a new dressing challenge due today: The Wearing My Wedding Dress Challenge, to be tagged #iwillwearwhatilike. I hadn't planned on posting quite so soon after birthing my blog just this past weekend, but this was an irresistible challenge!

Three parts of our wedding were homemade – our wedding invitation (see photos in the gallery below), our wedding music composed by my Mom for our ceremony, and my wedding dress (also in the photo gallery). The invitation turned out as we had hoped, my Mom's composition was touching and lovely, and my wedding dress, well, it was a lesson in humility!

I had wanted to make my own wedding dress and picked out a romantic pattern with a fitted bodice and gently flowing skirt. My plan was to make it all of lace. Mom took me shopping, fully trusting my "Of course I can do this!" After all, I had sewn a few items of clothing (a skirt, a blouse, simple pieces), so how difficult could a wedding dress be? We purchased the appropriate amount of gorgeous white lace (it had a specific name long-since forgotten) and I set to work.

About eight weeks before our wedding date I came to the stark realization that my skills were not up to the task. Having already begun, I was facing a dress that was not looking like the one on the cover of the pattern and – regardless of what I might be able to do – would never look like the one in the pattern, if indeed I ever managed to complete the dress. Once again, Mom to the rescue. She found a seamstress who would revise the design, incorporate whatever she could from my attempts, and have it ready prior to our wedding date. 

I kept my dress for years but didn't know the first thing about preserving a wedding dress made of lace. It hung in a closet in our attic, taken out a few times to appreciate and see if it still fit. The last time it was taken out I managed to fit into it, but sadly the lace was discolored in several spots and the dress looked like it needed more TLC than I could provide. In one of those moments of "it's not the dress that's important" I tossed it. Yes, I tossed it. And yes, now I'm wishing I hadn't. Ah well.

Starting Somewhere

All adventures have to start somewhere, and this blog – On Out & About – is the jumping off point to keep me moving forward on my next adventure!

Often a new adventure is kicked off by an impetus. In this case, there are several impetuses (though "impetii" rolls off the tongue so much more comfortably!) Here is Impetus One.


An Open Letter of Thanks to Sixty & Me, Style Crone, Ephemera, What I Wore 2Day and Not Dressed As Lamb:

Awhile ago, maybe a year or so, I discovered Sixty & Me. Not sure how I found Margaret Manning's blog, perhaps Twitter @sixtyandme was my starting point. Sixty & Me led the way to Judith's Stye Crone, which led the way to both Catherine's Not Dressed As Lamb and Sheila's Ephemera, which led the way to Kasmira's What I Wore 2Day.

This past spring I clunked my forehead on the edge of my car's trunk. A rainy day, a raincoat's hood overreaching my field of vision, a car parked on an incline resulting in a trunk not fully open, and a body – mine – in motion, hurrying to place a bin of water samples in the trunk. (Among other things, I teach a 3rd grade Environmental Ed class, hence water samples from the creek behind our house.) Result, a concussion that three weeks later caused my doctor to place me on short-term disability, which meant not finishing the school year.

Instead, I had to take my usually active body and mind and settle into rest, rest, and more rest. How best to spend that time? Well, I found myself not particularly interested in doing much of anything. This felt rather discouraging; I'm not so good with doing "nothing" or with feeling aimless and unable to rouse myself. But I did have my iPad. And as long as the brightness was set to its lowest level, the digital interaction did not bother me. (Bright lights were a major source of irritation, along with loud noise.) So off I went making connections (see first paragraph).

What I found was all of you – a group of women bloggers who share your personal style coupled with bits of your life's stories. I found articles on a range of topics at Sixty & Me, a decade I had recently entered. I found eloquence and grace from Style Crone; humor and honesty from Ephemera. I found how-tos and ideas for activity and adventure from What I Wore 2Day, and encouragement to be yourself from Not Dressed As Lamb.

And from all of you I found a collective support group. You had no idea till now of the role you played in helping me heal from the concussion. I counted on you for being there, for providing me with smiles and sparking my creativity, and for helping me reframe my relationship with clothing (colors! patterns!) and reawakening my dormant (we're talking 40+ years of drowsy dressing) enjoyment of dressing. Mostly, in those many weeks, you gave me fuel to recover and to go forward in fun and health.

Thank you.



(Photos by Fred)

The Errant Raincoat, purchased many years ago on a summer vacation that included a stop in Kennebunkport, ME, where I was tickled to find a yellow slicker and purchased it even though it was sized small but ran too large. About a year ago the zipper broke and I attached strips of velcro to help it stay closed. Seriously, what was I thinking (besides considering myself virtuous for tinkering and salvaging.)

The New Raincoat, purchased last summer in Orleans on Cape Cod, MA. Orleans was home (summer and then year-round) to my in-laws, and where we spent many years enjoying family and the Cape. While I tend to avoid clothing with labels on the outside, this one was purchased from the owner of the shop, with whom we had several wonderful conversations that included learning she opened the store at the request of her friend who owned the hot chocolate shop of the same name (and where we've spent time indulging) across the street. It helped that I first spotted the slicker hanging just outside the store's front door, an advert that obviously did its job! Oh, and unlike the Errant Raincoat, this one is lined and functions equally well as a raincoat or a cool weather jacket.