Judy C.

First Memories of Cloth

65 years ago I stood next to my Mother in a prestigious fabric store, Kaplans, on the Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.  We had dressed, as if going to church, for a drive to the Plaza.

Fabric could be purchased at "Five and Dime" stores, however to construct my First Communion dress would be special and necessitate a special fabric store.  Kaplans opened it's doors just one year after I was born, all the fabrics, laces etc. were hand chosen at market by Mr. Kaplan and it was known for one of a kind fabrics etc.

 My most vivid memory was the measuring of the cloth.  The beautiful white eyelet fabric was threaded into a machine on the counter, a characteristic "click" was heard when the employee pressed down on a lever and the measuring began.  At the speed of light, (or so I thought) the fabric was pulled through a unique machine, with a dial on top that registered number of yardage being purchased.  A final "click", a lever would make a cut into the fabric and it was pulled from the machine.  The employee would then tear the fabric, fold it neatly and it would be placed, along with a hand written receipt into a brown paper bag.

The device for measuring fabric was called a "measuregraph".

The device for measuring fabric was called a "measuregraph".

 It was a joyful day, being with my Mother and feeling the pride of carrying out a sack of fabric that would become my First Communion dress.