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By Nori Patnode, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

Working as an Advisor at Concierge Care Advisors, I notice how my clients and their families often bless me with the most wonderful family stories. I am truly honored to meet these gracious people and share in their rich family history.

Recently, a family member named Shirley Taylor blessed me with just such a story about her mother.
Shirley’s Mother, Helen Hatch, was quite a seamstress. She began sewing for her community when her family fell on difficult times and her husband lost his job that he had held for many years. Helen was an accomplished seamstress, able to make her own patterns and design her own clothing. Helen lived and worked in Bellingham and became well known and popular for her talents. She became friends with many of her clients.

In 1968, Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet was all the rage. Actress Olivia Hussey played the part of Juliet. She wore an outrageously beautiful red and gold gown that screamed Victorian glamour. One of Helen’s good friends had a daughter who happened to be going to her Senior Prom that year. Her only wish was to have a dress made that looked exactly like Juliet’s fabulous red dress. The only problem was, there was not a pattern available. She and her Mother went shopping and bought the lovely red and gold velvet. They took the material to Helen and asked her to work her magic, and she did. She made her own pattern and made the exact dress and Helen’s friend’s daughter was over the top excited about wearing the gown! She pulled her hair partially back and wore a long necklace with a hammered cross. She told Helen that she would keep the dress forever.

Fast forward to Hawaii, 1999. Helen was visiting Hawaii with her family. Helen’s granddaughter was by the pool with her children and struck up a conversation with the lady sitting next to her. The woman said that she was from Bellingham. Helen’s granddaughter told her what a small world it is, because she was visiting Hawaii with her Grandmother, now 90 years old, who had lived in Bellingham for many years. She asked her Grandmother’s name and she told her it was Helen Hatch. The woman jumped up and screamed with excitement. She was the girl who wore the magical dress to her prom thirty years before! Helen’s granddaughter told her that Helen was up in her hotel room and that she would bring her down. When Helen saw the woman, she recognized her right away. They hugged and she told Helen that she has held onto the dress all these years. Her daughter and her granddaughter both wore the gown to their Prom night, and they plan to treasure the gown and pass it along to future generations.

As Shirley told me this treasured story, I could see how proud she is of her mother who has since passed away. Her mother died three months after this trip. I’m sure that Helen felt very blessed to know how her talents had touched this girl and future generations. Shirley’s story blessed and touched me.

Thank you to Shirley for sharing such a personal and lovely story with me. Thank you to all the other clients and families who have trusted me with their stories.

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