What do you see out of your window today?

The Pink Christmas Dress

A story by Irene Murray



This memory is etched into my mind but the exact year is lost to the thief of memory. I believe that this Christmas was when I was 12 or 13 years old, so the year was either 1955 or 1956. The place is our living room on Neipsic Rd. in Glastonbury, CT. Gathered around the Christmas tree on this Christmas morning are my 4 brothers and one sister, I am the second oldest. Of course, the excitement has built as the dreamed about holiday has come to fruition, even the fact that Santa is no longer in our lexicon of belief doesn’t impact on the anticipation. We have had our usual Christmas morning rituals, first a trip to church on empty stomachs, after all, in order to receive communion, we had to fast since midnight. Before we left for church we were allowed to look in our stockings, as always there is a ‘Life Saver’ book made up of rolls of various flavors of life savers. In addition, we always find an orange weighting down our stocking with various bulges shaping the rest of the goodies, maybe socks or barrettes, probably some chocolate, sometimes a yo-yo or other plaything. On to breakfast, pure torture as we glance at the ‘pile’ of presents under the tree. Of course we have checked out the presents on top, trying to see who has gotten the biggest package. And this year, I have a big one, I am so thrilled. Breakfast is a special meal, an omelet with bacon accompanied by toast and home-made stollen. In spite of our impatience, the smells and sight of this repast pull us to the table especially since we had to wait through what seemed like a never-ending church service. A quick clean-up in the kitchen and scissors and paper bags for trash are assembled and we proceed to the tree. One by one the presents are passed out, opened, ooohed and aaahed over and moved to the side. By tradition, the larger packages are saved until the end. Finally, my large package is in my lap. I try to imagine what might be in it and its identity is inscrutable to me. ‘What can it be, I did not ask for anything that would fit in this size box’. I open the box and take out the pink filmy, full-skirted, party dress. It is so beautiful; it is the dress that a princess would wear. It is so beautiful that it does not seem that it can exist in this house which is old and cluttered with the day to day articles of living owned by the six of us children and our parents. But it is here and coming out of its box, it does seem to have a life of its own, an enchanted object that will grant its wearer some kind of beauty and grace that she has never had before. The wearing of this dress does not stand out as do the feelings I had upon receiving it, probably the fantasy of ‘wearing an object of beauty’ out-shown the wearing of it. Irene Murray

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  Glastonbury, CT
Jun 15 2024


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