Freshman Dinner

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…

  1. A simple brocade dress was not considered a formal.
  2. A young lady does not wear light colored nor patent leather pumps after Labor Day.
  3. 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.

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This entry was posted in Clothing styles, Heritage, Journaling. Bookmark the permalink.

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