When Martha was little, her mother gave her a copy of Reader's Digest Treasury For Young Readers (1963). It's an anthology of over 200 pages of true and fictional stories, games, puzzles, riddles and more. Martha loved the book, read it cover-to-cover multiple times, and practically memorized everything in it. She even had the book in hand as she spoke with me over the phone!
But there was one story that really stayed with Martha. It was about a beautiful young woman in Italy who fell in love with a successful salesman from the United States. The local Tailor offered to make her wedding dress, and told the woman he was sad she was leaving. Nevertheless, the young woman moved to New York and married the salesman. The husband eventually died and she became a widow. The loss of her husband put the woman and her daughters in poverty.
One day, one of the daughters needed a dress for communion, but the woman didn't have the money. She decided to alter the wedding dress for her daughter, and discovered a love letter from the Tailor. So the woman wrote the Tailor back to let him know she had finally found the letter. The Tailor got on a plane, came to New York, married the woman, and saved them from poverty.
Martha never forgot the story, particularly the idea of a note lost in a dress, that would have never been found if the dress hadn't been altered. She loved the idea of it being discovered at the time the woman needed it the most.
To The Altar was the perfect opportunity for Martha to draw on this beloved story from her childhood. Thus was born Evelyn Rose and her motto, "Every bride is unique and every dress has a secret." Very much an act of love, the prayers sewn for each bride, in the hems of each dress Evelyn Rose made, harken back to the Tailor in the story Martha never forgot.
What an amazing memory Martha has, and what a gift it was to be able to receive, and share the story with all of you. So thank you, Martha, for sharing it.