Orange and white, silky soft and billowing – a parachute. Made into a dress – voluminous – like Cinderella’s ball gown. The orange and white shaped sections, curving to a point at the top of the parachute – all gathered together at the waist – flowing out in the wind. A fitted bodice and small orange puffed sleeves. I wore it every day that summer (except when I rode bareback on the big horse) – gathering strawberries on a country hillside that sloped away far below to the banks of the Missouri River; playing in the garden shed that was transformed into a play house, with curtains on the windows and a tea set on a tiny table; spinning; sweeping the hearth – two of them – still Cinderella. A parachute transformed by the hands of my loving grandmother. My father was a pilot.
Many years later I visited the house. The garden shed was still there – now painted dark green. The hillside still quiet, open and lovely - the river, more distant than I remembered it. No strawberries; it was October. The hearth was clean. The couple who live there now remember my grandmother. I showed them pictures of the house “back when”. Black and white photographs from my childhood are now in colour in my memory.