Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Well-Worn Heirloom

When 3-month-old Alexis Penner had her first formal picture taken last week, she wore a hand-me-down dress.

The simple white gown was previously worn not only by Alexis's 22-month-old sister Zoe, but also 136 other descendants of Lieuzetta Schonlau, the matriarch of [Alexis's grandmother] Judy's side of the family, who created the dress in 1896.

"It has become a tradition that at the age of 3 months, the children have their picture taken in this dress," said Judy, who was descendant No. 24 to experience it.
The dress travels with books that contain family photos, a history of the garment, and a list of descendants who've worn it. Judy says not every eligible infant has donned the dress.
"We've had a couple of fathers who have said, 'I'm not putting my boy in a dress,'" she said. "There might be 20 out there who never had their picture taken." [Link]

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