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September 22, 2013

Family's tradition involving dress dates to 1966

DUBLIN —

The sounds of the rumbling, creaking school bus were still too far off in the distance to hear, but Summer Poppy Castorri's mom Jen knew she had a finite window of time to get Summer lined up for a "first day of school" photo session on the family's front stoop.

Summer posed accordingly, bashfully smiling as she sent joined hands and her head to the right, causing just enough of her shoulder-length auburn locks to stroke the tip of a white-collared scotch plaid school dress.

It was a scene that has played out four other times, some in front of fireplaces, others on slides or in flower beds, across nearly five decades to carry on a makeshift tradition started by Summer's grandmother Ronda when she donned the exact same dress 47 years ago.

"I never imagined that, 47 years later," Ronda said, "I would have granddaughters who would be wearing my little red plaid dress."

In August 1966, Ronda's mom took her on a shopping trip to department store J.C. Penney's in search of a school dress. They came home with the plaid dress that Ronda thought "was so pretty."

The dress was debuted Aug. 26, 1966, when Ronda began school in Mrs. Alene Farr's first grade class.

"She was so sweet and kind," Ronda said. "I was so shy and scared to death. I didn't know any of the other kids. Mrs. Farr took us out on the playground and I began to make some new friends."

It was on that playground, particularly the slide, where Ronda was photographed wearing the dress. It was a memory that Ronda cherished, but never intended to relive until oldest daughter April got the right age and turned out to be a perfect fit for the dress.

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