The Things We Save
Richard Popovic
Aug 9, 2011

My wife and I are dedicated thrift store scavengers, going so far as to make trips to local thrift stores an integral part of our vacations, wherever they may be. This borderline addiction has recently spread to my wife's sister who has taken to it wholeheartedly. Consequently, we have received prodigious amounts of clothing for our daughter, things that we don't necessarily need but are 'too cute to pass up.' She recently delivered a new shipment and drew our attention to one piece in particular that had a surprise pinned to the inside.

The dress was obviously handmade, with sort of a timeless retro little girl look that melted my heart when I saw it. The best part, however, was the little scrap of paper carefully pinned inside:

The dress immediately became so much more than a cool thrift store find. It became a repository of memories, a window to a different era when clothes were made at home and closets weren't stuffed to overflowing. This dress was certainly worn many a time after that first day of school, but once outgrown it had been carefully preserved with that tiny label, to ensure that it wouldn't get handed down or end up in the rag pile. It was the First School Dress, and it was important enough to be saved.

This got me thinking to what our little girl might be wearing in five years when she heads off for her first day of school. We will undoubtedly dress her nicely and take plenty of pictures, but will her clothes merit that extra special step of being preserved with a note pinned inside? Or will they just blend into the rest of her already over-sized wardrobe, eventually handed down or given away? A very large and sentimental part of me hopes beyond hope that she will be wearing this dress, and that when she outgrows it we will carefully store it away with the same little handwritten note pinned inside of it, so we'll always remember why it is so special.

As the new school year approaches, do you have any plans to memorialize the first day of school? What will you save?

(Images by Richard Popovic)

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