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THE CHRISTENING OUTFIT

February 19, 2007

An heirloom Ė thatís what it has become! It all happened so accidentally. When our best friend Dennis Taus sent me 12 metres of Egyptian brocade as a wedding gift and asked me to have my wedding gown fashioned from it, of course I agreed enthusiastically. The material was so very beautiful that Mrs. Mary Ostashek, the seamstress and I decided that a simple pattern was needed to showcase it. Because of the abundance of material she suggested making a long self-lined train, which was removed for dancing at the reception. Therefore the material never became soiled or frayed and was still pristine after the wedding.

On November 15, 1964, our first child, a daughter, whom we named Jacqueline Marianne Emerans, was born to our great joy! When I phoned my close friend Sharon Heaphy to tell her our wonderful news she asked me what had happened to the train of my wedding outfit. Sharon had been my maid of honour when we were married. I told her that it was hanging in my closet along with the gown. She immediately asked me if I would allow her to use it to make something for my new baby daughter. Sharon is a talented seamstress so I did not hesitate to agree. She called me some time later to inform me that she had completed the item, could she bring it to our home. Alex and I were absolutely thrilled when we saw what she had made. It was a christening dress and matching coat from the material from my train! Just beautiful! This was her baby gift to us.

Father Regan at St. Michaelís in Creighton baptized three-week-old Jacqueline on Sunday December 6, her daddyís birthday. The sun shone in through the church windows causing the lovely dress to shimmer in the light. My mother was most impressed by the talents of my former maid of honour! It was a traditional Dutch custom at that time to ask my parents to be the babyís godparents because our child was a girl. If it had been a boy we should have asked my husbandís parents. My sister-in-law Denise was the babyís porteuse, which meant she carried the baby. That was a French tradition, which unfortunately my parents did not understand.

Our second daughter Michelle Joanna was born on June 11, 1968. Father Regan baptized her in St. Michaelís on June 30. Her godparents were Alexís sister Lillian and her husband Guy Thibaudeau who came from Montrťal for the ceremony. Of course our second baby wore the same christening outfit as Jacqueline had worn. Lillian commented on the elegance of the little dress and matching coat and asked where the material had originated. When I reminded her that it was from the train of my wedding gown she was most impressed.

The next child to be born in our extended family was my nephew Willy de Burger. I offered our christening outfit for his baptism to his mom Shirley who accepted readily. When his sister Grace needed it she also was gowned in it for her christening day.
Our third daughter Allison Erna was born on January 16, 1974. For her baptism by Father Joseph Hompes at St. Christopherís in Whitefish, she donned the lovely family baptismal ensemble. Allison was three weeks old and her godparents are my sister Liesje de Burger and my brother Frank de Burger.

Since then various nieces and nephews have worn these clothes for their respective christenings. Then it was the turn of the next generation. Emily Susan, our first grandchild, was born on September 21, 1988 to our daughter Michelle and her husband Jamie McIntosh. What a thrill it was for me to see my adorable granddaughter wearing the same christening ensemble that her mother and her aunts had had on! Emily was baptized on November 19, in St. Pius X Church in Lively by Rev. Mr. Bob Richer a long-time family friend.
Next came our second granddaughter Rachel Anne Fex Jordan, the daughter of our eldest daughter Jacquie and her husband Scott Jordan. Rachelís birth occurred on May 17, 1995. This delightful red-haired baby was christened in St. Johnís Church in Toronto decked out in the by now famed baptismal garb. Her grandmother Viola Jordan loved the story of how we came to acquire this wonderful outfit. Rachelís brother Trent Alexander Martin Jordan was born on November 21, 1997, weighing nearly 10 pounds. Our third grandchild but our first grandson! We were most excited to meet this baby boy! When we first saw him we wondered if he could be baptized in the traditional outfit, as he was so large for a newborn. However our daughter assured us that he would follow the family tradition and be similarly garbed. I noticed though that the snaps at the neck could not be done up at his christening in St. Johnís Church.
Our youngest grandchild, Matthieu Alexandre, came into the world on September 22, 2006, the son of Allison and our son-in-law Reynald Moisan. Alex and I now are the very proud grandparents of two granddaughters and two grandsons. Matthieu was baptized at St. Johnís in Toronto on December 17 wearing our traditional christening ensemble.

This wonderful Christening Outfit now hangs in my closet awaiting the next family birth. Unfortunately our friend Dennis Taus has passed away so that he will never know the entire story of the amazing material and its uses through the years and how precious it has become albeit in a different form from what he had intended.
 

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