Do you like to look at old photographs? Sometimes, it’s interesting to pull out the family album and leaf through faded snapshots of great uncles and grandparents.
The images may be browned and blurry. But sometimes, you can still catch a clear family resemblance — in the shape of a nose, the tilt of a head, a gesture, a wave or a smile.
All these things link us to the cherished generations that came before. And the stories people share may be our strongest link of all.
Madison Kantzer grew up hearing all kinds of stories about her grandmother, Adele Schiff Greene. Sadly, however, the two never got a chance to meet in person.
Greene passed away back in 1969, at the young age of 40. Kantzer’s mother, Patricia Greene, was only 14 years old at the time.
But Kantzer herself was treated to so many wonderful stories during her childhood in Potomac, Maryland. Patricia liked to talk about the family matriarch often.
As Patricia told TODAY, her mom “was a woman ahead of her time” and “a very progressive kind of gal.” Adele loved to travel, and she’d evidently applied to law school just before her untimely passing.
Predictably, Patricia also indicated that Kantzer and her grandmother have numerous things in common. “She felt strongly about causes,” Patricia said by way of example, “and I see that in Madison, too.”
And then, of course, there was Adele’s exceptional sense of style.
Kantzer clearly inherited that inclination as well. In fact, her recent choice of wedding dress offers plenty of evidence.
When Kantzer got engaged to Adam Hoffman in 2015, she already had her dress all picked out. It was the beaded, floor-length stunner that Adele had worn to her own son’s bar mitzvah back in 1966.
That amazing gown is one of the few tangible things Adele’s family still has to remember her by. The scant collection includes a few treasured photographs, a smattering of jewelry and one unforgettable dress.
“In some ways, I secretly kind of wish it had been her wedding dress,” Kantzer lamented shortly before her nuptials. “But no,” she added, “we don’t have that one.”
In fact, the exact origins of the bar mitvah dress are fairly shrouded in mystery. The family was told that Adele originally bought the gown from Hirshleifers in New York, sometime around 1966.
They also know it was hand-beaded and custom-tailored to fit Adele flawlessly. But that’s about all the information they have.
Nonetheless, when it came time for Kantzer’s 2017 wedding, the 51-year-old dress was in mint condition. Patricia had preserved it carefully in a brown paper bag — and it looked absolutely gorgeous on Kantzer, without any alterations whatsoever.
“As much as my grandma has been gone for a long time, I think there are still times when my mom wishes she could see the kids she raised,” Kantzer explained. This beautiful bride was incredibly grateful that her beloved grandmother could attend such a special day in spirit.
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