In a quaint middle class upscale town north of Tampa, a vintage wedding dress is reunited with its original owner. On a sunny afternoon an elderly lady sat in the beauty salon having her hair done. As she looked out the window of the salon, she gazed into the windows of the clothing boutique across from the salon. Many items caught her attention, but there was one that took her breath away. It was a vintage wedding gown that was displayed up front in perfect view. When the elderly lady left the salon, she walked to the boutique. Quietly, she entered the majestic shop and gazed in awe at all the beautiful items. The boutique was full of vintage and new clothing. In it was a plethora of woman’s clothing. Racks of dresses and tops along with coats, jewelry, furs, handbags and gowns—including wedding gowns adorned every inch of the place. This store was a unique and different store from any other store. Wall to wall . . . every inch of it was adorned with beautiful clothing and accessories—each piece unique unto itself.
The owner of the shop was a vibrant woman who was always full of life and energy. She loved pretty things and loved to share them with her customers. She was happy and helpful, and every customer who entered her shop was treated like a princess—given the utmost of attention. The elderly woman approached the owner and inquired about the vintage wedding dress in the window. Very quietly almost in a whisper, the elderly lady said, “I think that was my wedding gown.”
The owner was slightly surprised and taken back as she watched the elderly lady walk over to the dress and lift it up. “Yes,” the elderly lady said with a smile on her face, “these are the original alterations that were made for me over sixty years ago!”
Goosebumps covered the owner’s arms as she looked at the alterations as well.
“I was married in the 1950’s in Oregon. My husband and I moved to Florida. I donated the dress when I knew I would never be able to have children. How did you get this dress?” she asked the shopkeeper.
“I bought this dress from a vintage shop in Tampa,” the shopkeeper said still amazed at what was transpiring.
“I can’t believe my wedding gown is here in your store. It was so long ago that I wore it. My husband has since past. So many years have gone and yet, it looks brand new. It’s still a beautiful dress.”
“I bought the dress because it was different,” said the shopkeeper. When I saw it, it called out to me, and I had to buy it and bring it to my shop.”
Some time passed and eventually the gown sold. The elderly lady entered the shop again one day and asked the shopkeeper, “What happened to the dress?”
“The shopkeeper smiled and said, “The dress was bought by a mother for her daughter to wear for her sweet sixteen party. The daughter loved the dress immediately, and it fit her perfectly. When I told them about the dress and your story the two of them were deeply touched. The young girl said that she was going to put it away for her wedding day.
The elderly lady smiled and said, “ My marriage was wonderful, and I loved my husband dearly. He was the best husband a wife could have asked for.”
The shopkeeper touched her hand and said, “Well, one day another bride will be blessed in her marriage like you were as she wears your dress and says, “I do.”
“I always wanted a daughter,” the elderly lady said, “I was never able to have children. It makes me so happy to know that my dress is now in the hands of a beautiful girl who loves it as much as I did.”
People sometimes wonder about coincidences. Are they just random acts or does some mystical force that we cannot see guide things in a magical way. Some say, “that all we need is there as we need it whether it is a helping hand or possibly an answer to a prayer.” All we have to do is keep our eyes open for the signs.
Ria Prestia is an author who lives in Florida with her husband, her children and her faithful lab. One of her passions is to reflect on life through the written word.