Bathrobe Revamp: The Tattered Housewife Dress and the story it told me…

Once Upon a time I had this bathrobe…

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And I cut it here and there…

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You could say it took a trip…to a whole new life…

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And sometimes my dresses tell me stories… Here is the story this dress told me…

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Veronica had come from a small town in the southern Midwest… The name isn’t important, you wouldn’t recognize it anyway…

She married the son of and old rancher… and kept their modest home perfectly clean.  Biscuits and jam for breakfast, eggs, coffee…black… thick slabs of pork and steak for dinner… Whiskey… for him…

He was not handsome.  He was not kind. Sometimes he would leave for days. She never knew when he would come back, but she knew that when he did he would smell of sweat and whiskey and cigarette smoke… He would expect that dinner be fresh and warm… and he would grab her face with his thick calloused fingers, whispering fiercely, that the potatoes were not right…

Her only friends were her daydreams… which came to her as the sun started to fall from it’s midday position in the sky.  She had been stealing drops of whiskey… almost nothing, eyedropperfuls…teardrops… for he must never notice… and once every few months, when all of the laundry was done and he was certain to be in town until evening, she would watch the wind blown linens, and drink whiskey lemonade…

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He didn’t let her have makeup… Her cuticles were cracked and torn from too much lye soap and scrubbing. She wasn’t sure what pretty was, or if it mattered.

In high school once there was a dance, and she stood on the sidelines in her faded, blue hand-me-down dress, eating cakes until her stomach hurt because she was too nervous and afraid to do anything else. When her best friends cousin asked her to dance she was terrified. He smelled like the city and he stood up straight. His smile was friendly and comfortable, his name was Preston. “M-m-m-y name-s Veronica” she stammered… “Like Veronica Lake” he said with a smile. she stared at him blankly but he took her hand anyway.  They walked to the dance floor in the middle of the barn. “Dontcha know who Verinica Lake is?” He whispered, half-way into the dance. She shook her head no and looked down at the floor. He grabbed her chin delicately and looked her right in the eye- she felt a wave of dizziness wash over her. “Well she’s a gorgeous Movie Star- just like you”   Her eyes shot down to the floor again, as she fought back a wave of tears that didn’t even make sense, but her arms clenched his shoulders tighter, as if they were the last thing on earth to hold on to.

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She never found out what Veronica Lake looked like, but she made up many ideas in her head.  She looked into the mirror eight years later and wondered if it was true.

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…He hadn’t been home in over a week. Eight nights of dinner sat rotting in the trash heap, surrounded by flies, smelling like the putrid flesh it had become. She sat with her lemonade staring. His unfinished shirt sat wet in the wash bucket. He would be angry if he knew she had waited this long to wash it. She might expect a bruise or two if he had the energy to give them.

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It was a perfect day, warm sun, light breeze…the linens looked to her like dancers, like ballerinas she has seen in a long lost storybook when her mother was still alive… She wondered what they looked like on those grand stages her mother had described… She wondered if they looked like these linens… so soft and graceful in the wind…

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Slowly, she began to walk towards them. Her glass slipped from her hand, shattering,  lemonade dripping into the cracks of the old faded back porch. She did not hear it, she just kept walking towards those dancing linens by the trees. She dreamed she was a dancer in a fancy hollywood movie that glittered and sparked with lights and music. She dreamed of Preston, his crisp shirt and his warm smile and his clean smell. And soon she began to walk futher, faster and faster until she was running.  Away from old dinners and laundry,  away from all the was broken and hidden and locked away…she ran…

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 Written by Elisabeth Donaldson

Dress Designed by Elisabeth Donaldson of  Monarch Clothing

Photos by Amanda Carberry * Edited by Elisabeth Donaldson

Buy Dress Here: Monarch Clothing on Etsy

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2 thoughts on “Bathrobe Revamp: The Tattered Housewife Dress and the story it told me…

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