Dr Judith Guedalia

The Appointment Dress
    It wasn't until I entered high school that I had a rude awakening.  Not everyone grew up like I did and not everyone could relate to what I thought was normal.  You see, I had been with the same group of people since age 3, and they just accepted what "came" with being me. 
Let me explain.  One major pre-holiday experience for me was the "Appointment Dress."  My paternal grandmother was quite a stylish lady.   She always matched, always dressed tastefully and always wanted her granddaughters to do the same. 
My maternal grandmother, who lived in a penthouse apartment in our building "on the Avenue" in Manhattan, was not into clothes in the same way.  Oma S. had been a Registered Nurse in Holland in the early 1900's.  She was the person you went to with medical needs.  I recall getting very sunburned and having a fever - my mother sent me to Oma S's home.  While she lived in the penthouse apartment and had "help" at home, she took great pride in the fact that she hand-sewed her own dresses.  She took particular effort in attaching a lace collar and lapel to each of these dresses.  My Oma N. would roll her eyes and not say a word when my Oma S. would show off her new creation and the matching pancake hat with lace tulle veil she had also made.  My Oma N. would have her hats created by the milliners of note.
My Mom's idea of shopping, for her increasing brood, was to go to the local children's shop (they also sold shoes and fully outfitted and labeled your stuff for camp), and take home racks of clothing Saturday night.  We would try on and choose and then first thing Monday morning all the racks and clothing, except for those we wanted, would be returned.
So when my Oma N. called to arrange for the "Appointment Dress" with JUST me it was really quite a to-do.  Sam, Oma's black chauffer for many years, would come and pick me up with my Oma in the car.  The car was a black limousine.   I never thought this was a big deal, because it just was. 
As I said, though, in high school it was a big deal!  I remember begging my grandmother (and Sam) to pick me up around the corner from the school.  I hated hearing the other girls saying: "your car awaits you."  I practically crawled into the car crying hysterically, as my grandmother said: "This is something to cry about?" 
Yes, it was!
But that was many years later.  In elementary school it was just what was and off we would drive to Best & Company.  The one dress I particularly remember with warmth was my robin's egg blue dress, "It matches your fair coloring and blue/green eyes," I was told.  I had never seen a robin's egg, blue or any other color.  I thought eggs were white and born in boxes!  We did not leave the store without buying a straw Bretton hat and white gloves - with black patent leather shoes and white thin socks, I was on a roll.
Needless to say, my Oma N., Sam, the car and the lifestyle are long gone.
When the Haggadah is completed and we say L'shana Habah b'Yerushalayim, we who are already here, are just onsite waiting for the third Beit HaMikdash to make its appearance.   It is as if we are the advance party of this special Appointment Day.  We feel blessed.

May you all be blessed with a Chag Kasher v'Sameach.


Dr. Judith Guedalia is Director, Neuropsychology Unit; Chief Psychologist; Shaare Zedek Medical Center; Licensed Psychologist; Supervisor and Specialist in Medical, Rehabilitation, and Developmental Psychology; EMDR Level II, Co-Chair Nefesh Israel. She can be through her website: www.drjudithguedalia.com.