Grandma's Dress

In Attire
My mom in the dress on my 9th birthday
My mom in the dress on my 9th birthday

My grandma is from Sierra Leone in West Africa. She carried a dress with her when she immigrated to America in 1972. Now it is my mom's dress but when I grow into it, it will be mine. In Sierra Leone men and women wear long or short dresses, so a dress like this is common. It is made of fabric with African print which comes in all kinds of patterns which tell different stories. Some African print is dyed with the pigment of berries. My grandma had the dress made for her in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She said the tailor used an old sewing needle to make it. 
Grandma would wear the dress outside to show her culture. My mom has the dress now and wears it around the house. My grandma wears dresses like this one when she is cooking. When I go to my grandma's house it always smells like she’s cooking something yummy like Cassava Leaves. This dress makes me think of my grandma’s cooking. It also reminds me of all the artwork in my home. My grandma’s dress is connected to art and makes me proud of my African culture.
I feel happy and excited about this tradition of passing down clothes in my family. I chose the dress because it is something that will soon be mine and maybe I will give it to my kids when I get older. The dress is also special because when I go to the mosque I see other dresses like this. I’d like to ask my grandma why she chose this dress to bring with her to the United States. I’d like to know exactly what she wore when she immigrated too. I also want to ask her, “How important is this dress to you?” 

Place(s): Sierra Leone
Year: 1972

– AB

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant