Saturday, October 12, 2019

The parachute wedding dress

Maj. Claude Hensinger was a B-29 pilot over China in WWII. In August, 1944, one of his engines caught fire and he had to eject from the plane. His parachute helped him land safely and provided a blanket and pillow until daylight. After the war, he returned safely to the U.S. and settled in his native Pennsylvania, bringing the parachute with him. As a civilian, he decided to look up his childhood friend Ruth. They courted, but when he kneeled to propose, he didn't give her a ring. He gave her his parachute.

Since it saved his life in wartime, he asked Ruth to make a wedding dress out of it.  Ruth was unsure what to do with the massive yardage of nylon, until inspiration hit her. She hired a seamstress to sew the bodice and veil. Then she designed and created the skirt from the parachute, using parachute cords to create ruching all around the skirt. Claude married Ruth in the Lutheran church in Neffs, Pennsylvania, on July 19, 1947, getting his first glimpse of the gown as she walked down the aisle. It was later worn by both their daughter, and their son's bride, and is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution as a significant item in American history.

No comments:

Post a Comment