Friday, May 28, 2010

Adorned

Apparently I've got Andy Griffith on the brain these days, because I've recently been thinking about ANOTHER of my favorite episodes! It involves the simple, sweet gas station attendant, Gomer Pyle.  In this episode, Andy and Barney set up Gomer on a blind date with Thelma Lou's cousin, Mary Grace. Mary Grace isn't nearly as attractive as her pretty cousin, and since Gomer hasn't yet met her, he repeatedly asks Andy and Barney to describe her.  They simply reply, "She's nice!  She's real nice!"

The day of the dance arrives and the men show up at Thelma Lou's to pick up their dates.  Gomer and Mary Grace are introduced and everyone sits down to make uncomfortable small talk.  After only a few minutes, though, Gomer suddenly pops up, asks to be excused, and leaves.  Everyone is appalled!  Mary Grace fakes a headache and pleads with the others to go ahead to the dance without her.  They reluctantly comply.

A short while later, Gomer appears at Mary Grace's front door, holding a small box which he presents to her.  In it is a corsage.  Gomer explains that he noticed the other two girls were wearing them, but Mary Grace was not. He left to try and find an open florist's shop so he could purchase one for her.  "It wouldn't be right, Mary Grace," Gomer says, "for you to go to the dance unadorned."  It makes me cry EVERY time!!

Remember corsages? In my high school, there were three formal dances held each year: Homecoming Dance, Winter Formal, and Senior Prom.  I attended my share of them, and Alan was often my date.  My sisters and I had a fantastic time shopping for our gowns, picking out our jewelry, and choosing our hairstyle.  But the corsages were chosen and presented by our dates. We would tell the boys the color of our dresses, drop subtle hints about what kinds of flowers we liked, and they did the rest.  We were in charge of providing the boutonnieres for their suits.

I think the corsage may have been one of my favorite parts of the entire evening!  Alan had exquisite taste and provided me with just beautiful "adornments" for the dances, usually with roses, carnations, and baby's breath.

At homecoming, a group made and sold beautiful large white mum corsages.  In the center,  a green pipe cleaner bent into the shape of an "N" (for Nordonia High!) was inserted, and a delicate net cover held it all in place. We thought they were gorgeous.  We girls wore them to school that Friday, then to the football game that evening.  To this day, whenever I pass an arrangement of mums at the supermarket or garden center, I stick my nose deep into the center, inhaling the sweet scent that immediately takes me back to those glorious Fall days!

A few years back when Alan was the General Manager at a Bennigan's Restaurant, he employed a wonderful 40-something bartender.   Barb was as skilled at pouring drinks as she was at engaging with anyone who pulled up a barstool and wanted to chat. EVERYONE loved her!  On her birthday, Alan was going to have flowers delivered to the bar, but decided instead to have a corsage made for her. Barb LOVED it!  She joyfully pinned those colorful flowers to her polo shirt and fluffed and sniffed them all day.  When customers would ask about it, she'd happily reply, "It's my birthday!"

I miss corsages.  Who would have guessed that those simple little clusters of ribbons, carnations, roses and net could provoke such wonderful, fairy tale memories?  Memories of frilly gowns, high heels, heavily-sprayed Farrah hair, decorated gymnasiums, and slow dancing to songs by Styx and Journey.  Sigh!

Alan has generously presented me with several gorgeous flower arrangements over the years, from roses to lilies, tulips and daisies. They've all been breathtaking and I've sincerely treasured each one. But I don't think any flowers will ever be as lovely as those he attached to my wrist back in that decorated gym at Nordonia High School.  Actually, I think I'd give just about anything to be "adorned" once more!

Thanks for reading!!

41 comments:

Gingerella said...

Aww that's a lovely post. Here in the UK we don't really have the corsage tradition and actually, not all schools even have a prom (I didn't!) and it's a relatively new thing, and still considered quite American. But had I been American, I too would have loved the corsages.

The last photo - is that a formal dance? You look beautiful!

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

I totally agree! I loved having flowers attached to my wrist so I could just gaze at them at leisure :) Great post, great pics!

Feeling Just Right said...

Oh joan! Alan had better be reading this right now and you'd better be getting your beautiful fresh corsage asap!

We never have prom nights or anything here in India, so it does sound very movie-ish and different each time i read about them!

Thanks for taking me on a journey like that- loved it!

And that little Gomer boy- do they make boys like that anymore?

cfoxes33 said...

My father used to make sure (he still does) my mother, my sister and I had a corsage for Easter Morning to wear to church. I loved that tradition. Too bad my hubby isn't like that.

Tuppence said...

Hi Joan. That was another lovely post. Like Gingerella said, we don't have the whole corsage tradition here in the UK but it does sound like a lovely one.

There’s a little something for you over at my blog http://tuppennytales.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-thank-you.html

Have a lovely weekend.

T
x

Teresa Evangeline said...

Lovely, Joan. Gomer was such a nice boy :) Simple traditions, simple values, the true things of life.

Mumsy said...

I love this post. I had not thought about it until I read this but I have not seen a corsage since my next to the youngest son married over 10 years ago. I have saved all the corsages that I wore made from artificial flowers but the ones made with real flowers are the best. Hugs

A Vintage Chic said...

What sweet memories of corsages past! So fun to remember that awkward pinning one on, or sliding one onto the wrist...the boys were always a little awkward with that, but it was always sweet, wasn't it?!

Thanks for all the wonderful stories you share! Hope your Memorial weekend is a beautiful one!

Julie

Bossy Betty said...

OK, once again I am going to sit on your doorstep with my full bag of Andy Griffith DVD's until you let me in and we can watch all of them together.

We can wear corsages while we watch. It would not be right to be unadorned.

I'm nice. I'm REAL nice.

citymouse said...

Corsages always make me think about my grandmother. My mother would always give her one for whatever special occasion rolled around and Grandma always proudly wore it.

When I went to school dances we carried bouquets. Around these parts, wrist corsages have made a big comeback and all the girls wear them to the prom, etc. Guess there's nothing new under the sun.

Linda @ My Trendy Tykes said...

Ah, I love Gomer Pyle! Well Gahhhh LEEE!

Maybe I'll make myself a nice corsage. Yes, and then I will wear it to THE WAL-MART. What? Y'all don't have date night at WAL-MART? hehe

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

OMGGGG, where was Gomer when I was in high school???

I, too, LOVE corsages. Why is it only appropriate to have them for a high school dance? We should start a Corsage Renaissance.

Honestly, if I was going on a date with someone and he showed up with a corsage, I would be toast.

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

That is one kick-ass corsage you've got there! It goes up to your elbow! Nice job Alan!

I'd like to wear a corsage around during the day, what could be more fun than portable flowers?

Your blog is great - very well done!

Sylvia K said...

Another great, fun post! And, yes, where was Gomer when I was in high school! Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Sylvia

ReformingGeek said...

My Hubby does pretty good with roses but I was a wallflower in high school so I missed most of those events. Sigh.

I am amazed at the "mums" that are part of the homecoming tradition here in the south. They are huge, with decorated ribbons hanging down from the flowers, lots of glitter, and very colorful. I don't see how the girls wear them!

At least I think it's more of a southern thing.

I enjoyed your post and the photos.

Go Gomer!

Shan said...

Sweet!

My son attended his first dance last fall. When we ordered the corsage we learned that the boutonniere is complementary. If only it had been like that for my first dance. No one told me I was supposed to get a boutonniere.

Periwinkle Paisley said...

I loved my prom corsage. It was an orchid and baby's breath. I had it pressed inside a big book for the longest time and then it fell apart.

Pam said...

This is so nice! I just had a beautiful tussy mussy on my wrist at my younger son's wedding and it was beautiful. Gomer was down to earth and the best and you were surely beautiful in high school!!!

Cheeseboy said...

That corsage on your arm is HUGE! It's like a fragrant cast. It's amazing you could move your arm at all.

So glad you are blogging Andy lately. So many good memories of watching that as a kid.

The Empress said...

LOVED THIS!

COmfort reading, akin to comfort food.

Thank you!

lori said...

So nostalgic - I love it! Growing up we had a yearly church service that we went to (like Easter but not) and my dad used to get my mom and us girls and any other female guest who was with us corsages. Your post made me think of him.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I've never worn a corsage - but oh, those are cute! :)

jel said...

came to say howdy, and thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment, ya got a cool blog! :)

blueviolet said...

I remember that episode and it was so sweet that he did that for her!

I actually don't have the same fond memories of corsages. I didn't mind my wrist corsages so much, but the terror of having to pin the guy's corsage on his lapel...oh, I still shudder!

Cate P said...

Us Aussies have never had the corsage tradition, except at weddings for the mothers of the bride and groom. I love flowers, and to think of what I've missed out on all these years, tsk.

Angie said...

Corsages are so cool! My two little girls just had their first Father/Daughter Dance in March and I put a bug in Mark's ear to get them wrist corsages. They LOVED it! I remember how special it was to get a corsage from your date and I wanted them to have that special memory with their Daddy.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Sweet and beautiful memories. (He did need to get rid of those sunglasses, though. Sorry, had to say it.)
Cheers,
Robyn

Velvet Over Steel said...

Very beautiful post! I brought back a lot of memories for me too! We grew up way too fast and times sure have changed. 'sigh'....
Thank you for sharing your wonderful post!!
Hugs,
Coreen

Daisymum said...

I love the flowers!! and your dresses are beautiful!
I told my mom about your bird nest and she told me about my cousin Eddie having a birds nest under his truck. He was driving one day and kept hearing chirping noises. Can you believe he drove his truck and the eggs never fell out of nest and they hatched? once he knew they were there he waited for the birds to leave. Birds are amazing! Thanks for the story. My mom and I talked about many things because of what you wrote. Thanks.

ilovepink1078 said...

Indeed this and inspiring post.

By the way,Thanks for dropping by.Keep in touch...

Eternally Distracted said...

I didn't have a prom, a corsage or nothin'... I hate being a Brit! ;)

KathyB said...

I love that episode too. :) The years I was at Nordonia, the majorettes were the ones who put together the homecoming mums and sold them. There's a picture in the yearbook of Mom helping me sell them with the other majorettes in the cafeteria. :D Corsages are the BEST.

Red Shoes said...

*smiles* Buying the corsage for the dances... to me... was one of the better parts of the dance!

Great post!!

~shoes~

CentFla said...

Where did you get that picture of the Nordonia Carnation?!

Holly said...

I have my corsages still...dried and pressed (or whatever I did to them). They remind me of a sweet simple time too. No one wants a corsage at a wedding anymore though...the moms all complain it will ruin their dress or if it is on the wrist it will get in the way.

The girls here always get them for the father daughter dance...I cannot wait...it is so sweet.

Thanks for the little walk down memory lane.

WhisperingWriter said...

I loved getting corsages. They were always so pretty.

Lindzena said...

Oh that's one of my favorite episodes too! Andy Griffith is just so classic. I remember the days of corsages. They really make you feel special the entire evening. :)

Ashley S said...

What a lovely post! I love Andy Griffith, & Gomer Pyle was so a beloved character! Aww... now I wanna watch it!! :)

Helena said...

I loved that episode on Andy Griffith and what a great tie-in to your own experience with corsages! You got it down, girlfriend!

Ann Flowers said...

just gone through your blog and found it interesting. It was nice going through your blog.

-j.p. said...

I LOVED this column Joan! My wife is a high school teacher. One of the fringe benefits of the job is being able to chaperone the proms. Two years ago she asked me if I wanted to go with her as her "date". I was thrilled! I never went to prom in school, so this was exciting to me. Think of it: going to prom with the woman you plan on spending the rest of your life with! I went to a local florist and got her a wrist corsage (wild flowers - the theme of our wedding). She kept repeating that I didn't have to, but she wore it happily (she didn't know about them until I presented them to her that evening.) We chaperoned, ate, danced, and even got formal pictures taken along with the students.


This past year we went again to prom: this time more casual (it was at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame), but rest assured: she was adorned with another corsage!

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