Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Something Old

Today, Jack & I celebrated our 10-year anniversary. I thought it would be only proper to mark the occasion with the romantic story of how I fell in love with my wedding dress.

When my two older sisters were married, I observed my parents’ philosophy that while a wedding should have a reasonable budget, the gown was exempt. My big-hearted Dad could not put a price tag on granting his daughters a dress befitting their childhood dreams. I took note, and began making extravagant sketches in my mind.

I was single after my junior year in college, and decided to spend the summer in Arizona with my parents. On a boiling hot day in July, my Mom & I spent the afternoon running errands. On our way home, passing through a questionable neighborhood on the south side, we drove by a rundown Salvation Army. On a whim, we decided to stop and take a look inside. My mom has the most beautiful, Anthropologie-like collection of dishes and a talent for finding them in the most unlikely places, so we set out to sift through the rubble in search of a treasure.

As we approached the entrance, I noticed a hand-written sign that said, “TODAY ONLY. HALF OFF WEDDING DRESSES,” and very sarcastically announced that it must be my lucky day. If there’s any extra room in the cart when we’re done, I told my mom, let’s toss in a wedding gown. Hopefully I’ll need one someday.

The joke continued as we walked inside, so while my mom went to browse the china, I decided to prepare for an impromptu Salvation Army bridal gown fashion show. I grabbed the first dress I saw, went into the curtained off area that was the dressing room, and slipped it on. I zipped it up, looked in the mirror, and to my own surprise found myself thinking, “This is my wedding dress.”

I called my mom to come take a look. Before she walked in, I remember her saying, “This ought to be good.” She pulled back the curtain, stood looking confused for a moment, then finally said, “I think this is your wedding dress.”

We bought the dress, including headpiece and veil, for $30, and carried it out in a giant garbage bag. It was old and very delicate, but didn't need a single alteration.

Jack was also in Arizona at the time, working and playing baseball. In the little spare time he had, we had been on a few dates. I called him at his parents house that night, and the following conversation ensued -

Me: Hey

Jack: Hey

Me: What did you do today?

Jack: Worked. Baseball.

Me: Oh yeah….?


Jack (finally): What did you do today?



We had dinner recently with another couple, and the story of my dress came up. When Jack impersonated that fateful telephone conversation, his friend asked, “Didn’t that scare you off?” Jack answered, “Actually, I remember thinking to myself - Any girl who can buy a wedding dress for 30 bucks, is the girl for me.”

Ten years later, after 6 moves, 3 children, 7 years of graduate school, and a sobering amassment of student debt, I understand well the logic behind his criteria.

I’m so glad I chose that $30 dress.

And him.

A Brother Like No Other

(Written by my mother Susan Foutz, who would like to clarify that she actually has two brothers like no other ) If you lived in Arizona in t...