notquiteold

Gracefully Aging – With Resistance

My Favorite Days – Part One

Next week I’ll be celebrating the anniversary of one of the best days of my life.

Just thinking about that day led me to consider what other days I would choose as my favorite days.

So leading up to The Big Event, for the next couple of days I’m posting some of the runners-up.

I can’t rank these really – they are so different from each other.  But here goes:

PERFECT DAY NUMBER ONE:

Happy Unbirthday, Summer 1963

I was a gawky 12-year-old. Skinny, undeveloped, and a little tall for my age, I was impossible to buy clothes for. A dress that was small enough for my tiny shoulders and non-existent bosom was too high-waisted and much too short – and this was way before miniskirts. (And way, WAY before a girl could wear pants anywhere except the backyard.) There was one store in my town that carried what they called pre-teen sizes. Sometimes they had as many as two dresses to choose from.

On the outskirts of Hartford there was Lord & Taylor.  Most of my clothes up to that date had come from the Montgomery Ward catalog. We’d been shopping at Lord & Taylor a handful of times. Mostly just to look. It was as remote and glamorous to me as Paris. They even had a restaurant right inside the store.

And one day that Summer of ’63, my mother took me shopping at Lord & Taylor. Just the two of us. No older sisters, no little brother. That alone was sweet. We had lunch in the restaurant, which was called The Birdcage. And I had a Reuben sandwich, which I had never had before, and which I still love like crazy. And a cup of coffee. Just us girls.

And they had a BIG pre-teen department, and I bought a dress that actually fit me. And was cute too, and didn’t look like a little-girl dress. It was brown, which I thought was incredibly sophisticated (not to mention that it matched all my shoes). I almost looked like I was in high school. (Well, not really.)

As Mom was at the register, I browsed around the nearby counters. They had odds and ends  – gift-y type stuff displayed on tables with actual tablecloths. And there was an awesome jewelry box. It was a little upright piano – white, decorated with flowers. And when you opened the top it played a song – “Fascination.” It was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. I stood silently admiring that extraordinary jewelry box for a very long time.

My mother came over the table and picked up the little piano box. I didn’t say a word. But Mom said the most the amazing thing:

“Isn’t this pretty?  Let’s buy it for you.”

And she did!

We weren’t rich by any means, but my parents had always done their very best to give us kids wonderful Christmases, and there was always one special gift for our birthdays. But an expensive present for no reason at all?  Never!

My beautiful mother bought me a beautiful jewelry box just because she loved me.

I kept that box on my dresser long after I should have outgrown it. All through high school and college, and for many years after, it played “Fascination” for me every time I opened it. Twenty years later I gave it to my niece, and it was still perfect.

And that day was perfect.

pianojewelrybox

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34 Comments

  1. gabi138

    Presents for no reason at all are always special…

  2. Chris

    Perfect

  3. Sweet, I like the idea of ‘perfect days.’ Even if imperfect. Much of life is the way we view it!

    • There are lots of nice days, but some you remember your whole life. More than fifty years have passed, and that day is still so sweet to me.

  4. You are right. That is a perfect day and a perfect memory. I hope your niece appreciates the treasure you shared with her.

    • I remember that she was thrilled to have that little jewelry box. I hope it was much-loved.

  5. This brings back such wonderful memories of my mother taking me downtown (this was before malls) to shop and have lunch at Marston’s. I always felt so special and grown up.

    • Shopping with my mother was so special. And especially when I didn’t have to share her!

  6. We never received presents for no reason but always had what we needed. I never missed shopping with my Mom because she made all our clothes. I hated being different from the other girls but had a good laugh years later when the styles Mom put together became the rage.
    Still, I see how this day was special for you, Nancy. Can’t wait to read about your next one.

    • Most of my clothes were not only from Montgomery Ward, but were hand-me-downs at that!

      • I was the lucky one. After me, the rest of the girls got my hand-me-downs. :-D

  7. Dina

    Such a beautiful story… thanks for sharing

  8. And your post sharing that day with us is perfect! Sweet memory.

    • Some days stay with you forever.I was so amazed that my mother would buy me something so frivolous – to buy something just because it was beautiful – that was a new concept for me. It was wonderful.

  9. Beautiful memory. Glad the little piano survived and found another to charm.
    Montgomery Ward! Hadn’t thought of them in years – Lord and Taylor would be quite a contrast…we used to look at fancy stores, then go off and try to find/sew cheaper versions of that elegance.

    • I remember the first time I walked into Lord & Taylor as a little girl with my family. I was completely taken with how nice it SMELLED. Like they had perfumed the whole store.

  10. That day with your mother had a lot of emotional power – you are still remembering and that little piano jewelry box carried the memories along. Very sweet story with nice details that evoke that time.

    • Over 50 years – and it is still one of the best days of my life.

  11. A wonderful memory indeed.

  12. hope I can give a few of those special days to my kids. hope they’ll remember as long as you have.

    • I am sure they will. I think what I appreciated most was how tuned in she was to me. She must have seen me admiring that jewelry box, and she just wanted to give me something I would love.

  13. what a wonderful post! I love those days, they are the very best. My dad bought me a spring jacket once, just because. It was beautiful, reversible, one side was red and white polka dot, the other side, a beautiful blue with a strawberry emboidered on the left side. I loved that coat. We then went and had a glass of milk at a snack bar. I was in third grade then… thanks for the memories…

    • That is so sweet. I can just see your father buying that coat for you and you sitting together with a glass of milk. Those loving times are the best.

  14. that’s such a lovely story! The piano jewellery box is well worth keeping and handing on, it’s so cute.

  15. Lovely post. My very first memory is of my dad taking me, aged only just 3, to buy a coat the day after my sister was born quite suddenly. Just the two of us, bliss, probably didn’t happen again for very many years and won’t ever again now. So precious.

    • We all have those precious days Keep them close.

  16. What a wonderful story! We had Fredrick & Nelson, with a restaurant; this was our Lord & Taylor.

  17. A very special day :)

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