The Dress

2 04 2012

When my Lady was 3 years old, she left the only home she ever knew and became the daughter of Clyde and Bette Lenhart.  That home was an orphanage in Tiffin, Ohio where she had resided since shortly after her birth.  Very few objects came with Cathy when she was placed in the Lenhart home; a stuffed teddy bear and kitty, a baby ring and locket that given to by her birth mother (who was only 13 when became pregnant with Cathy, hence, why she was placed in an orphanage for adoption) and the dress you see in the picture. Not a lot in the way of worldly possessions, but still important all the same, especially the dress.

I’m sure Clyde and Bette probably had to make a quick stop at a store before they ever got their treasured daughter home to pick up some essentials and extra clothes seeing there were none sent with Cathy.  My guess is probably in the atmosphere of an orphanage most clothes are treated as communal and had to be left for other children.  That didn’t matter to the Lenharts, they would have taken her home in a paper sack if they had to! You can be assured that Little Cathy didn’t need any sacks, being the first, and only child of Clyde and Bette; she had more than enough outfits to fill dressers and closets.  The clothes weren’t always new items; Bette was an expert at shopping the 2nd hand stores for the best she could get for her money.  What she couldn’t buy she would sew, making many beautiful dresses for Cathy.  These are a couple of traits I’m glad Bette passed on to Cathy, who posses the same ability to stretch a dollar, which kept our family afloat quite often.  This attribute also ensure that Cathy would own more clothes than a small department store back then, as well as now.  (Hey, show me a gal who doesn’t have a wardrobe like that and I will show you a rare species! 🙂

Like anyone, as times come and go, so do clothing attire either because you’ve grown out of them or styles and you change.  I could not begin to imagine how many dresses, skirts, pants, shoes and tops my Lady has passed on to others.  Hundreds of items, I’m sure, have circulated in and out of her life over the years, with the exception of one.  This one item, we simply refer to as, “the dress,” has been kept and preserved in such a fashion that it looks the same today as it did when a 3 year old orphan was introduced to her new mom and dad.  The blue and white pattern of this delicate dress are just as beautiful as the day it fit Cathy, but that’s not the reason it’s still with her.  It’s a representation of something special, of a moment in time that was special. When God brought together, a couple who desired to have a child so deeply, and a little girl who was much in need of someone to love her forever, in this writer’s view, this “was” a match made in Heaven!

Over the years, Cathy would pull out the dress and look at it occasionally, perhaps remembering the time her mother talked about seeing her in it, but mostly, wanting and waiting on our very own daughter to whom she could pass this heritage, this representation of love.  You see, we were over 6 years before having our first child, and wondered often if would be in the same plight as the Lenharts, not able to have our own.  We even began to look into adoption ourselves, but God had other plans that came in a 6 lb, 4 oz. package on Dec. 31, 1979; Jamie Melissa, the next wearer of the dress of love.  In the 55 years since the dress came to be seen as a symbol of something important, a symbol of family it has now made its way to the next generation, having 2 grand-daughters who have grown into it and at least one more waiting in the wings for her turn.

Our family

is a circle of

strength and love.

With every birth

and every union

the circle grows.

Every joy shared

adds more love.

Every crisis faced

together makes the

circle stronger.

Family is very important to Cathy and me like most everyone, but with both of us being only children and both with dark holes in our past to where some of our heritage connections are; having kids, and kids now having kids, has been one of the most incredible blessings God has given us.

The dress is a symbol of a starting point of God’s love and family love coming together.  Whatever generations of Millers don this delicate blue and white representation of something special that began in the 50s, may they understand they are part of a legacy that God established, for love and out of love for a couple who wanted someone to call their own, and a 3 year old who needed the same.  I’ve got some things put away for the guy counterparts of the Miller Heritage, but that’s another story! 🙂

Hey, don’t you just love the beauty of this delicate blue and white dress? Why it’s a custom design, made specifically for 5 beautiful gifts of God, and counting!  It was designed by an incredible Creator of the fashion of love bearing the designer brand; Agape!  It’s described in His famous Catalog (Bible) 1st Corinthians 13.

Blessings to you and your loved ones!!! 😉


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