The year: 1967
My age: 18
Place: Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama
Occasion: Freshman Dinner
Never had I been to a formal dinner. And never had I worn a formal! But in the big black trunk…carefully packed in layers of tissue paper…was a forest green brocade dress. My mother and some of the older ladies at church had said I had to have a gown for college. So they took the pattern for a simple A-line princess style dress and made it floor length. The set in sleeves were short; the neckline was round. My beige patent leather pumps had Cuban heels. My small pearl earrings were the only pieces of jewelry I wore.
Perhaps it was just at my table…but the only topics of conversation focused on family heritage. At that time I knew nothing. I didn’t know that 20 of my 6th great grandfathers had fought in the American Revolutionary War. I didn’t know that Benjamin Borden, a 6th great grandfather, had owned most of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. I didn’t know I descended from a host of Civil War soldiers. I only knew my father had kiddingly told me I came from a long line of horse thieves. I guess that was the wrong thing for me to tell…because after that, no one wanted to talk to me!
My education began that fall evening. I learned that in the late 60’s…
- A simple brocade dress was not considered a formal.
- A young lady does not wear light colored nor patent leather pumps after Labor Day.
- To be accepted socially, one must know her family tree.
But my most important lesson was…
My self-confidence should not depend on my dress nor the people around me.
By the way, I completed my four years at Samford University and graduated in 1971. I also never wore another formal until my wedding in 1973. I made my wedding gown with the same simple pattern used for the green brocade!!
This is an example of a memory without photos. I have still included it in a scrapbook journal because the memory is a life lesson.