Annie and I had an unexpected treat today.
For a couple of weeks now we have been searching for "THE" ever elusive perfect prom dress. I think an expedition revealing the Ark of the Covenant would be much easier to undertake. Today, our journey took us to Massengill's in downtown JC. This is where my head entered the clouds and has yet to come back down. I'm not recounting this story as bragging, that is in no means my intentions. It's more of telling of the honor that I felt while talking with the owner, Mr. Ambers Wilson (I think he said 84 yrs young) he has owned Massengill's since 1968.
The bridal/formal wear shop was opened in 1916 by John Massengill. When you journey through Piney Flats you will see the big mansion on the left just before you get to Rocky Mount (the oldest settlement in the area). This was all property of Mr. Massengill and Rocky Mount was farmed up until just a couple dozen years or so ago. It was donated for preservation. As it's just a stones throw for me, I am by it daily and visit frequently.
Back to my story.... The store will be permanently closing in two weeks (the fixtures and furniture will be offered up for sale) and the doors will be closed for good. While Annie was trying on dresses Mr. Wilson and I were discussing the history of this magnificent building and after inquiring as to my granddam, sire and dam it was no surprise that he knew my daddy. The man never met a stranger.
Mr. Wilson asked if I had ever been upstairs and I told him as a little girl I had been up there with my grandmother. He said "would you like to go again?" I nearly dropped my teeth and I couldn't get the word "yes" out of my mouth fast enough. Upstairs was where all the fanciness happened back in the day. Brides and parties of the brides were sites to behold trying on their gowns for "the big day".
He took us up on an elevator that I'm sure came with the building. He not only allowed me photos but he agreed to be in one of them!! I must admit I cried because of all the history in this old building. The chandeliers were magnificent! I asked if they were as old as the building and he recapped the story of traveling to New York City and handpicking every single one 50 years ago.
The upstairs consisted of 4 rooms. The French, The Italian and The Grecian as well as a massive lingerie room. The prettiest shade of pink I have ever seen (as soft pink is my favorite color). I felt like a kid in a candy store admiring all the old structures. As we made our way back downstairs he turned to me and said "you will be the last to ever see these rooms". I had no words. I tried to contain the blubbering but the waterworks weren't having any part of it. When we got back downstairs he asked Annie if she knew God's favorite colors. Annie replied "No" and he proceeded to explain. "Look around you and what do you see on this planet?" "You see all shades of blues and greens. God created a beautiful tapestry for us all to love and enjoy." He then proceeded to tell us his daughter told him that story over 60 yrs ago. The same daughter that was there altering a beautiful wedding gown today.
Not much is left on the racks in that magnificent old boutique. Perhaps a few dozen dresses all together. Everything has been marked 75% off. I hate to see structures like that slowly but surely diminishing. It is true the only constant we have in this ole world is change. Does't mean I have to like it but it will continue to happen. As I've said to many of you, I don't believe in coincidence.... only purpose. There was purpose in today. I thank God for allowing me this day. What a Valentine's treat that was! History and good conversation. I was truly touched. So, with puffy eyes and a heart that is full and running over I will leave you with a few of the photos I was granted. It may just look like clutter to you but for me it's history, it's love, it's two families livelihood for over a hundred years. It's sentimental, it's beautiful and grandeur. It's priceless in my eyes! The last picture is of three scarves and a sewing kit we were allowed. I will cherish these for many years. Truly, my cup runneth over! grecian wedding dresses