She Dressed Him

mom-dad-86-cropped-400wMama made sure Papa was well dressed when necessary and appropriately dressed always. She dressed him because she loved him and, I suspect, because she thought it was just something she should do.

They began their union at a time, 1950, when shopping for her husband’s needs was an expected task for a wife. Besides, she was good at it. With measurements for his neck and sleeve, waist and inseam, she knew how and where to find clothes that would fit him. So he did the farming and she did the shopping — for more than 50 years.

As his Parkinson’s disease progressed, robbing him of fully independent movement, she actually dressed him. He was “big and tall,” to quote catalog lingo, and she was barely 5-foot-2, so getting him clothed required not only love, but strength. She dressed him ’til her strength ran out, claimed by her cancer. But before she died, she found him a place in a group home with caring staff who could tend to his needs.

As Heavenly residents, 14 years for her and 13 for him, they can wear whatever they want. But I imagine she makes sure his outfit and hers look smart with their angel wings.

Laura Sternweis

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