Posted by: Maryann McCullough | May 31, 2011

Story for June 2011



Where can a good Fairy Godmother be found these days? I am in serious need of one. In particular I need those little birds the F.G. enlisted to whip up a beautiful dress for that poor hard-working girl who dreamed of dancing at a ball. You remember…Cinderella

It’s actually not a ball, but a wedding; my son’s wedding that requires a special dress. Since my progeny have been slow to move toward marriage, I have had the advantage of vicariously experiencing the “mother of the groom” agenda and therefore I know my responsibilities are few: My husband and I are contributing one fine son to the upcoming union, we are responsible for hosting the rehearsal dinner, and I need to find a dress.

But not just any dress. There are rules: “Don’t wear a print. It will ruin the photographs” “The bride’s mother is wearing short? Then you must wear short.” My friends offer advice “You need to be gorgeous!” and then again, “You don’t want to draw attention to yourself. You’re just the mother of the groom”

Shopping has never ranked near the top of my list of fun things to do. It does come in higher than a trip to the dentist, but well below working in my backyard or reading a good book. In a way, that is surprising since I am the first born daughter of a woman who medaled in shopping. But those particular genes never found their way into my DNA.

But, from labor pains forward, we do things for our children because we love them. And so… I went shopping.

The stores that I knew well were ill-suited for finding a dress for this special occasion. They provided shopping carts and had cashiers, rather than sales associates. I remembered those helpful matronly sales associates from my youth when I shopped at Marshall Fields and Peck and Peck. Someone was at the ready to help with a zipper or exchange for another size or find the perfect sweater to go with that skirt.

This situation called for help. Time to rediscover “service.” Time to shop “uptown.” I wasn’t even aware which corner of the intersection Camelback and Scottsdale was the locale for Nordstroms. But its reputation for service pegged it a perfect place to begin my quest.

And service it did provide! It’s possible that I looked so clueless as to inspire maternal feeling in five associates. This cadre of caring women hovered over, advised, zipped and unzipped. I loved feeling cared about, but I kept wishing I’d worn prettier underwear and that I’d done more than slap on some lipstick before heading to the mall. Sometimes there can be just too much of a good thing.

Despite their solicitude, I left the store empty-handed; discouraged but not defeated. This was Day #1. I had 83 more shopping days to complete this task.

After all, some forty years ago, I met a wonderful man and married him – all within a 70

day period. Surely finding a proper dress shouldn’t take more time than that!



  1. Okay, this was really fun to read. I agree with the other commenters–I’m looking forward to part 2!

  2. And you will be beautiful – glittery, not blingy! And you are not JUST the mother of the groom…you are the one and only MOTHER of the groom. Enjoy!

    I agree with Maggi – part 2 should come after the wedding.

  3. this story begs for a part 2, love it Minnie. Good luck shopping, I share your dislike of this activity…so, sorry!

    I am sure however that you WILL be beautiful.

    xx Maggi

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