I was a real dream in my faded-blue organza. My hair brushed back from my face and artificial flowers propped on top of my head and held in place with a plethora of bobby pins. My cute little white gloves are a dead giveaway that this photo was taken in the 50s.
My mom took the photo after she dressed me like a Barbie doll to go to my sixth grade chorus concert. I didn't want to wear that dress, but my mom insisted. She bought it on sale. No wonder. It scratched my skin, and I was itching like crazy. Anyone who tried it on would have put it back on the rack. But I didn't get to try it on. And I would have NEVER chosen this dress to wear to my concert, but my mom didn't allow me to go along on her shopping trips. I was at home taking care of my two sisters, a two year old toddler and a newborn of two months, when she bought it.
My step-father drove me to the school that night and let me out in front of the building. I walked in behind the families of my classmates. Backstage I met questions and stares by the other singers. I remember us singing all the songs from Oklahoma. Whenever I pass a cornfield in the countryside I still think about the corn "as high as an elephant's eye," but over the years the memory that sticks with me most is the overwhelming embarrassment of being over-dressed. I was twelve. It was all about my feelings. Not my mother's.
Now as an adult, I think about how my mother must have had such fun on that shopping trip...buying more scratchy organza to wrap around my shoulders like a princess attending a grand ball, gloves, and a little satin purse for me to carry. I don't remember the jewelry, but it appears to be some type of pearl necklace probably from Woolworth's. No thought went into what was appropriate to wear to a sixth grade chorus concert. She never went to a school concert, PTA meeting, or any school event. So how would she know?
It could have been worse. At least I didn't have to wear long gloves.