Several weeks after we moved to Lititz, PA, I invited my daughter Kate, granddaughter Lydia, niece Joyous, and her daughter Anna Mary to join me in exploring a pile of vintage clothing I bought in the late 1980s at my Grandpa Hess’ estate sale.The dresses had stayed in closets in Goshen, IN; Kalamazoo, MI; and Harrisonburg, VA, before being taken to a dry cleaner who restores yellowed vintage clothes.
The first task of our afternoon was to don the clothes in the privacy of my bedroom, given that our shoot was all outdoors at the house where I grew up and where six generations of Snyders and Hersheys had farmed. That meant convincing Little Miss Lydia that she needed to wear her hair in braids and also wear the antique dress that fit her perfectly, the dress that had been made by a woman she never met, her Great-Great Grandma Anna Mary Herr Hess.
Lydia did not want to wear the white dress because “it’s not my favorite.” But since she got to wear the black dress that was her favorite, she agreed to wear the white one “just for the pictures.”
We had to cobble the adult dresses together from individual tops and bottoms, but Anna Mary (named for Great-Great Grandmother Hess) fit the most delicate and beautiful of all the dresses, one that likely fit Anna Mary herself when she was about seventeen years old. Standing in front of the huge sycamore’s elephant-like trunk, Anna Mary reminded me of a character in a novel (Hermione?) or Helga in Braids painted by Andrew Wyeth.
Joyous enjoys explaining her camera settings to Anna Mary.
And look what happened!
A few more favorites:
We were able to thank Sara Weaver, caretaker of my cousin Bob’s property, before we left the old tavern turned farm house turned bed and breakfast. What else was left to do?
Stop for Greco’s ice cream, of course!