John Shaird

Heirloom dress still serves 69 years later

September 22, 2011 // 0 Comments

‘It deserves a pat on the back’  by BETH ALTENA When Linda Mazur and her family toured Italy in 2000, she picked up some shoes and a jacket. She should have bought a dress. The last one the family purchased from that country has served through four family weddings and is still beautiful 69 years later. There is a mystery behind the family wedding gown that will probably never be solved. When Joseph Fabiano came to the United States as an Italian immigrant and proposed to Madeline Johnson, his father back in the old country—also named Joseph Fabiano—commissioned an extravagant and beautiful wedding gown for his future daughter-in-law. Back then, the $250 cost of the dress, and extra expense to have it shipped to America, as the story goes, was an expensive, perhaps even extravagant gift. “She probably had no idea what a big deal that dress was,” said daughter Linda Mazur today of the gown, made from yards and yards of Italian lace and satin with a thousand buttons down the back. Her mother, Madeline Johnson, married Joseph Fabiano on February 14, 1942, somewhere in Detroit (if anyone can tell from the photo where it was taken, she would love to know). Five years later Madeline’s sister, Delores, wore the gown on her special day as she married Walter Mikulski on September 27, 1947, also somewhere in Detroit. The dress was professionally preserved and packed away from the damaging elements of air and light. Thirty-three years later when Linda Fabiano unpacked the dress, it looked as lovely as the day it was completed. “My mother was all of 90 pounds when she was married,” laughed Mazur. She wanted to wear the dress on her wedding day when she married Cary Mazur on August 18, 1978. The gown was a little tight, so she had it altered somewhat and the dress served for the third time here in Michigan. This year, the daughter of Linda and Cary, Missy Mazur, also wanted to wear the dress. Linda took it to Pam Mauric of the Red Flannel Factory in Cedar Springs where alterations were again made. “She reused every stitch of the fabric,” said Linda of Mauric’s creative use of the material. When the dress served its […]