Certainly they had more money than we did, the women who owned BonJos — an upscale dress shop for the women of Alexandria, Minnesota. They probably had big houses. Nice cars. But when I saw my mom pull back the curtain and step out of the elevated dressing room at the Viking Plaza mall, I knew what class meant. And it was beautiful.
This is not to say that others didn’t have it. People all around us did. At all levels. But what my mother taught me, standing tall above her height and pay grade, was that elegance, grace, true beauty, came from within. And she wore it better than anyone.
And of course she aged. It happens to all of us. But what’s remarkable, I only ever saw that woman — that woman coming out from behind the curtain, daring the town and the mirror to really see her. That woman who never thought she was brave, but dared to extend her height with heels from Herberger’s. I saw her with smiling breath held. And it wasn’t just me, I saw the owners catch themselves in approval. BonJos was lit brighter than the fluorescent of any mall.
Some will tell you that love is blind. I don’t agree. Maybe love is the only thing that truly sees. Maybe love is the reason even well into her 80’s this beauty remained.
Here’s how I see it. I hope we all can see it this way — Youth will fade. Real beauty never does.