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Girl wears 1950s dress to school then teacher finds out about the family’s unique tradition
It's far from an ordinary dress.
Guido Gonzalez
08.04.21

Tradition holds a special place in many people’s hearts; they bring families together, passing down memories, customs, and values for generations to come.

There are a variety of ways to keep traditions alive. Maybe it’s through culinary dishes, music, or even clothing. Regardless, the purpose is the same: to keep the memories of our lives and loved ones alive.

Pixabay - Anemone123
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Pixabay - Anemone123

Styles may change over time, but some clothes remain timeless through the years, worn by generation after generation.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
Source:
YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

In Saline, Michigan, 1950, Martha Esch wore a yellow and purple dress handmade by her mother and grandmother, who made the dress and the embroidery, respectively.

Little did the young Martha know would kickstart a tradition spanning 70 years, and that dress is still going strong in that same family. And it’s aged surprisingly well.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
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YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

The yellow and purple dress has become a decades-long tradition by being worn by all the women in the family.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
Source:
YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

Across seven different states, from Colorado to the Carolinas, spanning three generations, the dress has managed to look stylish even in the 21st century. However, it is still in one piece and of perfect quality as if made yesterday.

So far, 22 women in the same family wore that dress as a rite of passage and continue today.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
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YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

4-year-old Caroline Hirt was one of the latest girls to wear the dress for kindergarten in 2017, the first of her generation.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
Source:
YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

Caroline’s mother, Jenny Hirt, also wore the dress on the first day of school, although she wasn’t aware of the significance until then.

“At the time, it wasn’t that big of a deal,” Jenny said in an interview with TODAY. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, whatever, it’s a dress of my mom’s.'”

Jenny was the fifth person in the family to wear the dress back in 1981.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
Source:
YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

Jenny’s mother, Katy Pearce, understood the significance of the dress.

“It’s a big big deal to my mom as it was her mom who helped make the dress,” Hirt said.

Caroline was eager to wear the dress, which needed a few stitches and was good as new. Whatever that dress is made of, it’s clearly long-lasting, constant maintenance and sewing notwithstanding.

YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
Source:
YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

Caroline, however, didn’t want to wear pigtails like so many of her kin.

Unlike the dress, it looks like some styles should remain in the past. As for the colorful clothing, coming generations will likely continue to wear it, ensuring the tradition’s future.


YouTube - Tamron Hall Show
Source:
YouTube - Tamron Hall Show

Styles might change, dresses may come and go, but family is forever.

Even though people might cringe, wince, or groan from family traditions, they keep them together in spirit, if not physical. Traditions preserve memories and the emotions we feel whenever the family is together. The past should not be repeated, but it should be remembered and honored appropriately, whether through music, cuisine, or clothing.

Be sure to watch the video below to hear more about this family’s unique tradition!

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By Guido Gonzalez
hi@sbly.com
Guido Gonzalez is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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