Slice of Life Tuesday: The Prada dress and the Starbucks apron

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers

We have just completed the bedroom shuffle – one kid is pretty much gone from the roost, and another decides it’s time for a change in venue: Ben takes Elizabeth’s old room, what’s left of her stuff moves into his old room.  This sounds like a simple thing to do, but, of course, it’s much more complicated than just moving pieces of furniture around.  Elizabeth, with the clear-eyed, unsentimental  rationality of a young person who knows she is on the move for the next few years – New York City now, Cairo and Beirut for the summer, then London for the school year, and then who knows – gives few instructions about her belongings (“I have what I’ll need, Mom”).  Ben, anxious to set his room up ASAP, is all too willing to toss what he deems “unnecessary”.  So, I’ve been helping out and making sure that the little rocking chair, the books, the memorabilia from college, and the posters and pictures accumulated from years past, find a new home in her brother’s old room.
Among the transferred items were these:

In her senior year of high school, Elizabeth began working at the Starbucks downtown.  She had a very specific goal in mind – instead of going to the Senior prom, she was going to save up and do something much more worthwhile and memorable – dine at the newly opened Per Se restaurant in New York City.  She had been treated to a birthday feast at  Thomas Keller’s first restaurant The French Laundry by her uncle, and had decided that she’d rather forgo all the hoopla of prom for a dinner in the city.  A like-minded friend who also dreaded the ordeal of prom,  was in on the deal. Together, they made reservations months in advance, and then got to work working to come up with the funds.  
As the big day approached, Elizabeth counted up her savings and decided that she had enough to purchase a fabulous dress befitting the occasion – so she went on Ebay and found the Prada dress pictured above (brand new, complete with tags!).  Soon, the dinner day arrived, and off she went – looking lovely and thrilled and bursting with excitement.  The staff at Per Se could not have been nicer to these two high school kids, fussing over them as though they were “somebodies” who dined this way all the time.  Elizabeth floated home in a dream-like state – and we feasted on the story of it all for years afterwards.
Yesterday afternoon, I removed the few items still in Elizabeth’s old closet to her new digs – and there in the back, were the Prada dress and Starbucks apron.  She has moved on to a new life, much more worldly and exciting than her high school days, but this apron which outfitted a dream so long ago, and this dress which lived to see it all come true, will always have a special place to call home.  

14 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The Prada dress and the Starbucks apron

  1. It's funny how items can bring back such vivid memories. Elizabeth sounds like a very smart young woman. I'm glad you were able to rescue the items from the room.

  2. Now when you said ,"She has moved to a new life, more worldly and exciting than her high school days"…I have to laugh because working at Starbucks, wearing a Prada dress and dining at a fancy New York restaurant sound pretty grand to me!! This story tells me quite a bit about your Elizabeth, her determination and drive. It tells of transitions and little brothers growing up as well. Nicely told.

  3. What a beautifully written story Tara. I love that you connected the dress, the apron & who your daughter is today, & that you told us some details that are so nice to hear, like about the time at the restaurant. Having never had such a goal, I enjoyed hearing that your daughter made the choice & found a way to achieve it. Her future plans sound so exciting too!

  4. What a great story, Tara! Having just spent a bazillion dollars on prom, I so admire your daughter and her friend, and their ability to set a goal, then work toward it. The lines about your son, prepared to pitch everything, made me laugh!

  5. What a great way to take on your journey as a mom. And what we learn about your daughter as she leaves her room and moves on…What a great way to start the day with this SLICE!Bonnie

  6. All I have to say is this…good idea to clean the closets! She really seems like an amazing young woman…I'm in awe that she didn't do prom like the mainstream. I think she knows her own mind and at such a young age! xo nanc

  7. Wow…I love all of the things I learned about Elizabeth from this short slice. I think you should share it with your students to teach the art of specificity. Thanks for sharing. I'm taping those photos into my writer's notebook to remind me the power of specific clothing details.Ruth

  8. Such a beautiful slice–love the pictures. They give us that visual…Ruth and the rest are right, we really learned a lot about Elizabeth from this little slice. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love how you shared that Elizabeth set a goal and what she needed to achieve it-and the pictures are reminders of the work…and the pleasure. Thank you for sharing this story…best of luck to her in the new endeavors!

  10. Thanks for sharing the story. She's coming to my neck of the woods this summer. I hope things stay calm enough she enjoys it. I love that she had a dream, came up with a plan, and made it happen.

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