A little girl has already her outfit chosen for her first day of kindergarten. The 4-year-old wasn’t disappointed about this, though — in fact, she was excited.
Caroline wore an old dress that has been in her family since the 1950’s. The dress has been worn by the family’s women on their first day of school for generations.
Jenny Hirt, Caroline’s mom, didn’t really give the dress a lot of thoughts because it’s been around the family for decades. As with so many things, she almost took it for granted.
“At the time it wasn’t that big of a deal,” Hirt, who lives in Durango, Colorado, told TODAY. “I was like ‘Oh yeah, whatever, it’s a dress of my mom’s.’”
The handmade dress has been passed between the Hirt family girls for so long. The dress is originally made by by Hirt’s grandmother and great-grandmother for her aunt, Martha Esch. She wore it for the first time to kindergarten in Saline, Michigan.
Twenty women of the Hirt family have worn the dress. Jenny Hirt wore the dress in 1981.
Even though the dress has been worn by so many people, it kept its fantastic shape. When Hirt first took it in this year, all that was needed were a few patches and the sleeve needed to be re-attached; nothing she couldn’t easily fix.
“I remember wearing the dress. I was worried it was going to be really old, and I was worried she was going to make it dirty,” Hirt said. “It’s really cool to see her carrying on this tradition. There’s not a lot of stuff in our family that has lasted through all of the generations. So to see her in it, keeping up with something that’s handmade, it means a lot to us.”
The person who is especially touched by Caroline’s most recent wear of the dress is Hirt’s mom, Katy Pearce. It was her mother who helped make the dress. In fact, Pearce flew out to Colorado from South Carolina just to see her granddaughter wear it.
After Caroline wore the dress, it was immediately sent to her cousin Sylvie in Oregon to become the 19th girl in the family to wear the family keepsake.
Something so simple as a handmade dress can create something so sentimental that can be passed down for generations to come. After all the praise and recognition her story has received, the dress is sure never to be taken for granted by Hirt again.
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