The following is a personal story written by Lindsay Kelbe, featuring some photos I took of her during my brief time in Paris. Lindsay is an Art History student, young designer, painter, and champagne-sipping physicist-in-the-making… But more importantly, Lindsay is a best friend, platonic lover, and never-ending source of inspiration in my life. I’ve read her story a million times by now, and it’s hard to hold back the tears. I love you so much, Lindsay. I am so blessed to have someone as wonderful as you in my life.
I grew up in a perfect family.
The youngest child of three and the only girl (I have two older twin brothers) I was very much “the princess” of the family. Until around age seven I refused to wear anything but dresses, and whatever it was it had to be pink or purple; the beginnings of my love for fashion. My parents loved each other and loved me; my brothers always looked out for their little sister, and, most importantly, above all, I was “Daddy’s Little Girl.” The attachment of this little princess to her father was most endearing … when I was a little girl I remember getting so excited when I saw my dad coming home from work, in his suit and tie, and running outside to hug him. Sometimes I would hold on to his leg while he walked so he wouldn’t leave again; sometimes I would rest my little feet on his dress shoes and we would waltz around the kitchen. I always felt the closest to him of anyone in my family, seeing so much of him in myself.
But, perfection is invariably ephemeral. A flower blossoms to its pinnacle of beauty, then dies. This little princess’ fairy tale came to a screeching halt one lovely spring afternoon.
I was twelve years old when my beloved father told me, through tears, that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. His doctors estimated that he had six months.
I’m a strong believer in the power of an optimistic human mind, the strength of modern medicine, and maybe a little bit in miracles; six months thankfully came and went. Age twelve is a difficult year for a growing princess. She needs her father, and I was lucky enough to have him in my life for five more years.
More or less a full-grown, not so little princess, my sixteen-year old self was, regardless of having been “prepared” for so many years, stunned into a disbelieving state of nothingness. That empty feeling of losing someone, someone who is such a significant part of your life, is something I don’t think will ever fully recover from.
Being the Type A personality that I am, idleness worsened the feelings. I had to do something, either to distract myself or to ease that horrible emptiness by giving back.
Having never sewed a dress in my life, I went through the fashion designs I had drawn in my sketchbook and decided to put together a fashion show to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Quite cluelessly, I bought a bolt of fabric and started pinning it up onto the dress form in my room. I ended up with something in the semblance of a dress, pinned it together, and sewed it up. I really have no more of an explanation, but I had made a dress! I studied my own clothes to see how garments were put together, used myself as a mannequin, and of course received much help and guidance from my more talented mother.
Five dresses, two shirts, two skirts, four necklaces, and six months later, the faint sounds of house music grew louder as nine of my friends paraded down the runway in Lindsay Rose Designs – my dad called me this after my great-grandmother, Rose. All donations the show raised went to the American Cancer Society In Loving Memory of Richard Kelbe, forever the first man in his little girl’s heart.