Birthday Party Dress

“You shouldn’t put the dress on this early. You will get dirty before the party!”

Despite the well-intended advice, Mom zipped up the dress in the back. “This will probably not fit when school starts in the fall; you better wear it to Sunday School all summer! ”

I smoothed out the skirt and vowed to stay clean until my friends arrived. It was July 1959, the first birthday party I had ever had. A few classmates and girls from our neighborhood had been invited.

The dress had been handed down to me from my cousin Carol. It was blue cotton with a scoop neckline and tiny flower print all over the bodice and the skirt. A wide solid blue sash went around the waist and tied in the back with a bow. It really wasn’t all that fancy as far as dresses go but around the neckline was a row of diamonds…..really, they were just tiny rhinestones. They sparkled in the sunlight and I thought it was the most beautiful dress I had ever owned. I felt like a princess!

We played clothespin drop, tag, and circle games in the backyard. Hide and seek and then my favorite chocolate cake with caramel icing, ice cream squares and Hawaiian Punch. There were gfts but the only one I remember was a soft round bath sponge on a stick that came with tiny rose shaped soaps.

Everyone loved my dress, especially the diamonds. I’m sure I made a point of asking everyone. When school started in September, I was disappointed to find that I had outgrown my special dress.

As I recall that happy moment from my childhood, I can’t help but compare it with birthday parties today. No designer cakes, no clowns or entertainment, no fancy decorations. It was just a simple celebration but the impression it made on me was enough to last a lifetime.

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About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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5 Responses to Birthday Party Dress

  1. Margy says:

    Yes, I remember those parties and those dresses! My family wasn’t well-off by any stretch of imagination, but we always had at least one nice dress!

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  2. Sue Sanders says:

    If you felt like a princess then your happy birthday was a success. I love chocolate cake with Carmel icing, too! Loved it, Ruth!!!

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  3. I have many fond memories of birthday parties from the late 50s / early 60s. The games (simple, basic, fun), the presents (nothing extravagant), the food (egg salad sandwiches and a cake with candy roses – EVERYONE wanted a piece with a rose on top), the “party dresses” (flounces and lace, velveteen and ribbons, crinolines underneath), and the little baskets of jelly beans handed to the guests when they left. Nowadays its all about excess (who can outdo whom) and expense (hundreds, if not thousands of dollars spent on outings and “events” that most of the children won’t even remember). So sad! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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