|Postrcripts - The Wedding Petticoat|
|Wednesday, March 14, 2012|
My Granny Mae, maternal grandmother Hannah Mae Robinson, married on April 19, 1905. Her mother had passed away two years earlier and I remember her telling about her father taking her to Chattanooga to purchase her wedding gown and trousseau. I still have her wedding gown, two petticoats, a nightgown, her white crocheted stockings and a pale blue dress. She was less than 5 feet tall and had a waist of around 20 inches. She was a lovely bride.
The wedding petticoat is in perfect condition as I have had it conserved and packed in acid free tissue and boxes. It is made of cotton with the lower third in tiers of lace and gathered fabric. It looks beautiful and has been worn by five brides in my family over the past 107 years.
The first of course was my grandmother when she married Robert Watson Johnson, called R. W. by all us grandkids. They both laughed a lot. My mother was the next to wear the petticoat as well as the original dress. Margaret Ellen Johnson married Robert Charles Padgett on Dec. 21, 1933 in her family home in Dayton, Tenn.
The petticoat rested for a while. My mother had a sister older than her by about nine years and her oldest daughter Barbara Barnard wore it years later on July 25, 1948 when she married Wendell Brown. She also wore our grandmother’s dress. I guess her father had done a good job shopping with her.
It was not so many years after that when my turn came along. By then the dress was too fragile to consider wearing again so we put it away as a memento of a bygone era. We have a photograph of Granny Mae wearing it and she looks so young and so beautiful. And R. W. in his fine suit and white vest and bow tie!!
On Dec. 21, 1955 (my parents’ 22nd wedding anniversary), I wore the petticoat when I married Al Lytle Partee Jr. Afterward, all of the items were packed carefully away including the simple ivory satin gown that I had worn for my Christmas-time wedding.
Time passed and I had two daughters and two sons. When Peggy Jo married Rusty Thompson on March 12, 1988, she was able to wear my wedding gown and my grandmother’s wedding petticoat. Following this use I had all of the old garments and my wedding gown conserved and stored so they would be preserved. I also have this same grandmother’s christening gown from 1884 and another baby dress about the same age – 128 years old! The christening gown is probably 4 feet or more long and full of tiny tucks and lace. Half of my 12 grandchildren have been christened in it.
Well naturally time continues to swiftly flee. I have four granddaughters. The oldest is marrying in June. Kimberly Claire Partee is a woman after my own heart, loving history and enjoying the past. She is marrying at Carnton Plantation in Franklin, a historic Civil War site. Recently, a friend had a bridal shower/luncheon for her in Brentwood. I wrapped the petticoat carefully in the special tissue and tucked it into a pretty wedding bag, wrote its history on a card and “loaned” it to her for the wedding. I surely hope it will fit under the beautiful gown she has chosen. If not, I have asked her to put it on and have her photo made in it anyway just for the sake of “history!”
If Kim can wear it on June 2, 2012 when she marries Neal Allar, she will be the sixth bride and the fifth generation in the family to wear the wedding petticoat. I think that is very special and something I am sure my Granny Mae never would have thought about. I have three more granddaughters, Rachel, Jo and Sarah, and I pray that one or all of them will want to at least try and wear it. With that tiny waist on the petticoat they’ll have to watch their diets! Just think if it can be passed on to the sixth generation and beyond. My heritage means a lot to me and I am sure I would be smiling and clapping in heaven – or somewhere!!