One of the items that I treasure is the Christening Gown my great-grandmother Katie J. (Blazer) Johnson hand made. I first saw this gown when I was in high school and needed something that had been passed down through the family for an oral report. Mom dug it out of the storage trunk and handed me the box. Inside was this off-white gown and some pictures. In the old photos were babies wearing this gown: my grandfather – Glen R. Johnson; his son – Glen R. Johnson, Jr.; my aunt – Genevieve; and my mother. I’m not really sure they were all actually baptized or “christened” in this gown as I have other documents and oral histories about each one being baptized as an older child.
The gown is actually in 2 parts. The slip which is plain gets put on the baby first and then the “dress” goes over that. It has hand tatted lace and exquisite handiwork. There are been some rust stains scattered here and there and Mom actually soaked the dress is carbonated water to remove most of them (old laundry hint!).
The dress remained at my mother’s and when it was time for my nephew’s first child to be baptized, the gown came out of storage and used. When my first born grandson was to be baptized at six weeks, my mother shipped the box from Ohio to Texas to me. Then my youngest grandson also wore the gown at 2 months when he was baptized. The Christening Gown has been worn by 3 out of five generations (I don’t believe any of us – children of my mom, aunt or uncle or our children – have worn the gown). It truly is a treasure that I will keep for future babies to use.
(Picture is of my youngest grandson wearing the gown at his baptism in October 2006.)