Hello dear readers. I can’t sleep and it is way, way past my bedtime! Whilst I am suffering from this bout of insomnia, I thought I’d share a fabulous something. The something happened because two weeks ago, I joined Facebook. Yes. I may be late to the party, but I am here now, baby! In any case…
If you’ve followed my blog for long, you’ve probably heard me speak of my love for all things April Cornell. For the uninitiated, April Cornell is a purveyor of the most lovely hand designed, vivid textile merchandise ranging from floral dresses to jacquard dinner napkins, from delicate lace blouses to comfortable bedding, from baby clothes to gift items. Don’t even get me started on her nightgowns! April Cornell is a real person; an artist and designer.
I first discovered April Cornell in December 1998 in Annapolis, MD. Walking through the downtown streets decked out in their holiday best, I noticed two mannequins (a mother and daughter!) dressed in the most gorgeous floral red dresses I had ever seen in the window of a charming shop named April Cornell. Of course, we went in! I was overtaken with all the beautiful things in that small shop! So. Much. Loveliness. I admired the dresses. They were lovely.
My beau at the time, a sweet chap we shall call Toe Knee, accompanied me on that fateful trip. After lingering in the shop for some time, we pressed on. I believe we were headed to dinner that evening. I left the shop without making any purchases. But I was smitten.
Several weeks later, it was Christmas Eve. Toe Knee and I exchanged one gift each that evening. I don’t remember what I gave Toe Knee, but I shall never forget what he gave me. I opened a beautifully wrapped box to find the two red floral dresses from the April Cornell shop window inside! Swoon! The very mother-daughter dresses I had so admired!
Needless to say, darling daughter, who was then a mere four years old, and I donned our April Cornell dresses for the Christmas festivities the next day. And so a tradition was born! Each year for Christmas, darling daughter and I were the recipients of coordinating April Cornell dresses. We wore our matching dresses to weddings, parties, my graduation from Graduate School, holidays, and any other occasion that came our way! We were so very charming in our April Cornell dresses!
Over the nearly twenty years since, at every opportunity, I have collected April Cornell wares whenever I have been able. In fact, my work wardrobe came to consist nearly entirely of her flowery dresses. I collected her beautiful bedding and kitchen linens, including a huge stack of dinner napkins which we still use daily with every meal. Any bauble or tchotchke I could find emblazoned with “April Cornell” was mine. My late uncle used to give me gift certificates for her stores. To say April Cornell has touched my life, literally and figuratively, is a bit of an understatement.
Oh yes! I was going to tell you about the fabulous something! I’d almost forgotten while thinking of these sweet memories. Today (well, actually yesterday as it is now past midnight), April Cornell and I connected via Facebook!!!
I can hardly believe it!
I am such a huge fan of hers!
Here is what happened. I was looking through my newsfeed and I noticed a new post from April Cornell. Of course, I had favorited April Cornell when I joined Facebook. Here is her post:
I was struck by the idea of April Cornell’s legacy of beauty in my own life. From our first coordinating mother-daughter Christmas dresses, to the dozen cotton dinner napkins currently in my laundry pile, to my favorite white nightgown, the softest most comfortable imaginable.
I wrote a heartfelt comment to April Cornell. And then the amazing happened! She wrote back! I felt compelled to elaborate and to thank her personally for the beauty she has brought into my life. She then thanked me. It went like this:
My idol, the indomitable April Cornell, and I shared a moment!
I say indomitable because in 2006, April Cornell declared bankruptcy. At the time, she had over one hundred stores throughout the U. S. and Canada. I know because I had made it a personal ambition to visit as many of her stores as I could. I was devastated when her shops in the U. S. closed.
Somehow, and luckily for myself and her legion of fans, she was able to save her business. Now, in addition to a strong online presence, April Cornell has five stores in the U. S., including her flagship store in Burlington, VT and an outlet store in North Conway, NH. I have to get to the North Conway store ASAP!
I admire April Cornell even more for having gone through a hard time and come through it. She is like a shining light to me. Coincidentally, I noticed the current issue of Victoria features an article about my idol, April Cornell!
Thanks for reading this! I apologize for the long, rambling post. It is late (or rather, early) and things are becoming even more jumbled in my head than usual. I wanted to share my excitement because I feel like I won the lottery! Consider me an April Cornell Fangirl forever.