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Writing about Yellow Dresses

By on Dec 19, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Grandma and author

What is it with grandmas and dresses?

One of the best worst Christmas presents I ever received was a yellow dress, given to me by my grandmother when I was about 8.

I suppose it was pretty enough despite the square neck and puffy sleeves, but I hated it as soon as I opened the box. I didn’t wear dresses. At all. Ever. I was a strictly jeans and cowboy boots sort of kid. Not only that, all of my cousins – there were a lot of us – got $5 and pencils with their names on them. To me, this was way better than a stupid dress.

To make matters worse, I had not yet learned that all important skill of diplomacy and sparing a gift givers feelings. I don’t remember exactly what I said but I know from the reaction that I was pretty honest in expressing my feelings about the whole issue.

I decided recently that I wanted to write a story about this dress for my first grade Sunday School class, only I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say. What would the point of the story be?

Sometimes it seems obvious – there’s a problem, you found a way to solve it. But even then, there may be other levels to explore.

Is this a humorous story about an out-of-touch grandma? Is it a cautionary tale about ungrateful children? Is it a heart-warming story about a little girl who loved her grandma so much she wore the ugly dress for class pictures that year?

Even if you think you know what you want to say about something, it’s worth poking at it a bit more to see if there is another way to go about it.

After all my meandering about the subject, this is what I think about that present: It’s become one of my favorite, and not because I ever fell in love with the dress, although I really did wear it for my class picture. Rather, it’s that this is a present I remember, and every time I do, I remember the giver, and she’s worth remembering. I’ve also decided that she must have seen me as a pretty little girl who would look cute in a dress, and sometimes it helps to look at your self through the eyes of others.


  1. Yes, it’s a humorous story about an out-of-touch grandma but wait, it’s also about ungrateful children but ultimately it’s about a little girl who loved her grandma. The real takeaway for me is that it can sometimes take years before we see the true value of a gift given so long ago. Very rich stuff here.

    Marvin Kane

    December 22, 2011

  2. I’m still amazed by the power of words. Never thought of making a list though. That’s a great idea. Also, I see great potential for a blockbuster Skunk Girl movie.


    January 9, 2012

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