The Green Dress

By Peggy Strait, a member of Get Your Wordsworth

I made up my mind. The plan was simple and straightforward. Anything in my closet that had not been worn in the past twenty years, and unlikely to be worn in the next ten years would go into the box for the Salvation Army.

It was easy. Why do I still have those skirts that I could wear now only if I stopped breathing? And those party dresses! Useless!

The box was filling up. Then I came to the green dress. I looked at it and remembered the occasion for which I had bought the dress. I was scheduled to appear before a panel of professors at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU to defend my thesis for the PhD. I thought that for the occasion I should wear something other than the usual sweater and skirt that I wore to classes. So I made a trip to Bonwit Teller, the high fashion shop on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street.

I looked through the rack of dresses and came across a green dress that I thought would be right for the occasion. It was a sleeveless, linen dress with a jeweled neckline, empire waist and very slightly flared skirt. Simple and elegant, I thought.

I was comfortable defending my thesis in the green dress, and I was overjoyed when the presentation was over, and was told that I had met all the qualifications for the PhD.

I remembered another occasion. I was up for tenure at Queens College and was asked to give a talk on any subject of my choosing. I wore the green dress and spoke on the topic of Gaussian Processes with the parameters in a Hilbert Space. After the presentation, the Committee that would vote on my tenure met, and I was overjoyed when informed that I would receive tenure. Some time later a colleague who was on that committee confided to me that at the conclusion of the discussion of my qualifications, the chair addressed the committee and said, “Well, gentlemen, the consensus then is we grant tenure to Dr. Strait. We are in agreement she looked good from every angle.”

I looked at the green dress. I decided I would not put it into the box for the Salvation Army.

Author’s Bio:

Peggy Strait is a widow, mother, grandmother, professor emerita of mathematics, and since joining “Writing From Life Experience” has broadened her interest in arranging numbers to include an interest in arranging words.


2 thoughts on “The Green Dress

  1. Looks good from here too. Beautifully told; no extra words, lots of memories and deep feelings. I could see it all. Rebecca

  2. nancyeder says:

    Peggy, my eyes filled with tears. You write, as Rebecca has said, with deep feelings and no extra words. I, too would keep that dress forever.
    Keep writing those “words.”


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