Once upon a time when I was little more than a tot, my mother sewed me a shiny-new dress for the first day of kindergarten. Made of white, polished cotton, it shone like a pearl and swished when I walked. Mother added delicate lace trim around the neck and sleeves. But my favorite part was the pattern of colorful circles scattered over every inch of fabric. I called it my “Cheerios Dress” because it reminded me of the popular breakfast cereal.
To be sure, Cheerios in a bowl of milk were pale. Listless. Nothing like the multihued, mini-donuts decorating my dress. However, Fruit Loops hadn’t yet been invented. So the Cheerios tag stuck. It became my favorite frock. I wore a crisp, layered slip under the full skirt and parted each layer to make it stand out like a ballerina’s tutu. It rustled as I sashayed from the family’s Ford station wagon up the path to my classroom door. When I plopped on the floor with the other kids, my skirt billowed around me like bloated mushroom. Only prettier.
I paraded around in that dress so often, Mother surprised me with a tiny, twin-edition to fit my doll, matching mine in every detail. Almost. No slip for baby doll. She did score the fashion edge after I found Kelly-green tights to fit her bendable legs. Then pulled red, patent leather shoes onto her feet. How I longed for red shoes, too. But that was beyond the budget. So I luxuriated in the feel of layers of netting under that oh-so-puffy skirt. And dreamed of dancing in the ballet.
Because I still have the doll and her twinny-dress, each glimpse of her reminds me of my first day at kindergarten long ago, wearing the shimmering outfit. The doll’s dress fabric is still crisp and shiny as ever and its texture brings a smile to my heart. In fact, I beam whenever I see a box of Cheerios on the store shelf. Like a secret coupon, it delivers an unexpected bonus to my heart. A reminder of my mother’s love and selfless spirit. And…a balloon-skirted dress worn on the first day of school…once upon a time.
CHEERIOS FUN FACTS:
- CheeriOats was introduced by General Mills in 1941
- The name was changed to Cheerios in 1945
- Jingle: “The toasted oat cereal with Go! (Big G, little o.)”
- Delighting breakfast eaters for more than 75 years with many variations like:
- Cinnamon Nut Cheerios
- Honey Nut Cheerios
EXTRA FUN: Wanna make some Cheerios treats at home? Enjoy these yummy options from Taste of Home: “12 Genius Ways to Cook With Cheerios”