Prom season brings memories of shopping with Mom

05/07/2012 12:00 AM

05/07/2012 10:58 AM

Interviewing the moms and daughters for the story today reminded me of an unforgettable shopping trip with my mom: It was in 1965, and I was getting ready for the senior prom.

We had gone to Innes and Buck’s, the two places we usually would find whatever we wanted. I was picky, I know, but the perfect dress was not to be found. We strolled down to The Model, still no luck. I was getting a little “down in the mouth,” as my mom would say, and she said, “Just for fun, let’s go in here. You never know.”

The name of the store was Mondshine’s, and it was on Douglas. It wasn’t a store where we usually shopped. We asked about “evening gowns,” which I found sort of thrilling. As I remember, we were directed up some stairs to a mezzanine full of evening gowns and cocktails dresses.

The saleswoman showed us several dresses in my size (boy, I wish I still wore that size!), and my heart was pounding. There were several pretty ones, but then, there it was. My mom laughed when she saw the expression on my face. It was icy blue duchess satin, but that’s not all. It was a chic sheath dress with detachable ball skirt! Two dresses, and both were elegant. When Mom said, “try it on,” I couldn’t get to the dressing room fast enough. It fit as though it had been custom-made. I showed Mom how the sheath dress looked, and she loved it. Then I went back to the dressing room and, with the help of the saleslady, added the floor-length, full skirt with just the right amount of crinoline underneath.

Perfection! My mom’s beautiful smile told me that she agreed. Besides, she was probably relieved and more than ready to quit shopping and go home.

I had been so happy to find the perfect dress that I hadn’t looked at the price tag attached under the arm. When I did look, the price was exactly twice as much as we had planned to spend. My mom saw the look on my face and asked the price. I told her, and she said (I’ll never forget this): “Hmm. Turn around.” So I did a twirl. “We’ll take it,” she said. I told her it was too much and we could look some more. She told me we weren’t going to look anymore. We had found the perfect dress, and we were going to buy it. On the way home, Mom casually mentioned that it wouldn’t be necessary for me to tell Dad the price.

I’ve thought of that dress often when I’ve seen moms and daughters shopping for prom dresses. I keep special clothes, so I would still have that dress. But I loaned it to someone for a special event and never got it back. But I don’t need the dress for that experience to be one of my fondest shopping memories. And my mom, who is 89, remembers it, too.

“I remember that, and I remember the time we got so tickled trying on swimsuits at Innes,” she said.

With Mother’s Day coming up, take time soon to do a little shopping with your mom or your daughter or granddaughter. Whether you purchase anything or not, it’s fun to look, laugh and be together.

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