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South Texas Living

The quest for the perfect prom dress

The quest for the perfect prom dress
Lia Castro at the prom

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Julia Castro
Apple Pie and Salsa
April 2, 2014
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My last column was all about boys and for boys. This one is for moms and their daughters and prom dresses.

I try not to spend too much time on Facebook. It took quite a while for Lia to convince me to get on it. But it helps to find out if someone out there is in need of prayers. Sometimes I just find out what some of my kids and grandkids are doing. I only reply if I like what they are doing. Such was the case on a recent Saturday when Lia posted that she and her daughter Rebecca were in San Antonio shopping for a prom dress. I asked her if it brought back memories. She said, “Yes, Mom.”

Before I go into that, I need to go back several years and mention daughter No. 1, Letty. My life was like a roller coaster back then, what with 10 kids at home, so my memory fails me. Letty says that in her junior year for the prom I sewed her a pink dress with sequins on the bodice. She says she loved it because it had an elegant look. For her senior year she recalls that the dress was of a beautiful yellow chiffon. She thinks I sewed that one too. I must have because I don’t remember taking her shopping. That would be harder to forget.

The memory I was talking about was when I took Lia shopping for her prom dress her senior year. This was my baby going to her last prom! Neither one of us remembers every detail of that shopping trip. We know we went to several stores and she tried on several dresses. I had set a limit to what we could spend. We finally settled on one. It was pink and pretty but rather ordinary-looking. And it was within the budget. But then we decided to go to Saks Fifth Avenue. We were just going to look because we knew it was an expensive store. Well, she fell in love with the particular dress and she wanted to try it on. She did, and it was a perfect fit. But what were we to do? We had already bought the other one. So we came home, but I knew how badly she wanted the other one. Lia really didn’t have to plead that much with me. I wanted it for her too. So we went back the next day and luckily we were able to return the pink dress. Then we hurried to Saks to see if the dress was still there. It was, and Lia got the dress she wanted! I was out $100. Twenty-six years ago that kind of money could buy a lot more than just a dress. But she was graduating as an honor student so I felt she deserved it. Lia says that she and Loretta got my money’s worth out of it. They both wore size 1 and they took turns for a while wearing it to different events. As for my other three daughters, I was not given the opportunity to take them shopping for a prom dress or to even make one for them. But it was not my fault; that’s just the way things were.

As of this writing Rebecca has not found the right dress. Lia says that they did go to the store where we bought hers, but the prices start at three times more than what I paid for hers. She says that Rebecca did try one on but that they would be paying more and getting less. Lia says (and I quote), “There is less dress and more revealing. It almost seems as if pieces of the dress are missing.” Could this just be the mother in her talking? I’m glad we were in agreement about her dress. And my kids always said I was old-fashioned! Good luck to Rebecca and my other granddaughter, Miranda, and all the other girls out there who are looking for just the right dress, unless they have already found it.

Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is

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