The Yellow Dress

Photo by Paul Morley on Unsplash

This happened a long time ago. It is a true story. 

In the 1920’s , an Iowa farm family was struggling. They worked very hard and had just enough to meet their needs. There were two sisters, both very young. They did what they could to supplement the family income. One  worked at a neighboring farm taking care of children and the other sold eggs from the chickens she tended. 

It was the mother, though, who worked the hardest. She cooked, washed the family’s clothes, cleaned the house, tended her own garden, and helped out with the farm work when needed. She had little time for herself. But the two sisters noticed that when she sat down at the kitchen table to rest a little, she would get out the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. 

This was called the dream book by many farm families. They could see the many wonderful things that were for sale by the store in Chicago. It was called the dream book because many of the things for sale were out of the reach of poor farming families. 

The two sisters sometimes peered over their mother’s shoulder when she was looking at the catalogue. They realized that she looked at the same page. On that page was a beautiful yellow dress. 

A while later, one of the sisters said to the other

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get that dress for our mother. She works so hard.”

The other sister agreed.

“Why don’t we do it?”

So, little by little they saved the money. Each week a little bit came from the sale of eggs and was supplemented by another little bit supplied by the work at the neighboring farm.

Finally, they had enough. They sent away to Sears Roebuck for that beautiful dress. 

They wanted to give that dress to their mother on her birthday. Being young, they hadn’t calculated that the package would be delivered while they were at school. 

So one day when they came home, the package was sitting on the kitchen table. It was addressed to them, but the mother looked at them to explain. 

One of the sisters said,

“Mother, you work so hard. We wanted to get you something special for your birthday.Please open the box.”

The mother who never got any presents was silent. Then she reached for the box and slowly opened the package. When she saw the dress, her expression of pure joy was reflected on the face of the sister who told me that story more than eighty years later as she remembered that moment. 

A wonderful gift, one done with love, also gives to the giver.

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