The Dress

Clip of a scene from The Dress.  Daughter brings the dress to Mother.   Commentary by Annie Grosshans.


Daughter takes her mother back to the Happy Cottage Adult Family Home

Return to Happy Cottage Home.

As we begin, the arduous decision has been made to move OLD MOTHER, ill with dementia, into the Happy Cottage Home.

While packing up her mother’s clothing with her father, our protagonist DAUGHTER discovers a 1950’s haute couture cocktail dress sewn by her mother.  For both the father and daughter the dress stirs up potent, if dissimilar, memories of the woman who once could make and wear such a dress.



For Daughter the memory is primal, of the earliest emotion of separation.  She takes the dress home and cannot resist trying it on.  At first she finds the dress flattering.  But then for a terrifying moment, she is unable to get the dress off her body.  Our mothers’ clothes don’t fit us anymore because what it means to be a woman is changing from one generation to the next.

Mother & Daughter admiring the dress.

Mother & Daugher admire the dress.

When Daughter brings the dress to her mother in the Happy Cottage Home, she hopes it will stir shared memory between them, hopes it will alchemize a return of the mother she remembers – a woman who could conceive of such a dress for herself.  Alas, no.




And yet, in risking hope Daughter is gifted with a vibrantly real, if sharp, comprehension of what is passing with her mother’s fading away.