January 9, 1934 - January 4, 2016
My grandma, Dixie Lee Boland, owned a costume shop, Great Falls Theatrical, in Great Falls, MT for over 40 years. Although my family always called it "The Costume Shop," this title never really did it justice. She bought the start of her collection of beautiful vintage costumes spanning several decades and cultures, from the Old Brewery Theatre in Helena in the 70's. Throughout the years, her collection grew to include wedding dresses, tuxedos, dancewear, children's costumes, mascots, and of course more vintage, to fill an entire department store. Her shop moved around Great Falls several times, eventually residing in the old Beckman Fur Factory building downtown on Central Avenue. It fit the personality of her shop perfectly. There is a beautiful photo of the building here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25229906@N00/9719888377/ . I have so many memories of this place. It truly was a childhood dream come true. There were clothes and props for every imaginary life I lived. I was a princess, a cheerleader, a hula girl, a mom in the 1950's, an elf, a cowgirl, a bride, a cheetah, Celine Dion, and an 80's superstar all in the span of a day and I never had to make my own costumes to play the part. It was an amazing place. The costume shop closed a few years ago as my grandparents' health started to fade, but by the Grace of God I have been given a little of her entrepreneurial spirit, her nostalgia, and her love of the arts.
My grandma was so passionate about what she did. She was a dancer when she was young and loved theatre, music, fashion, history and art almost as much as she love her 17 grandkids. Those passions never faded. I am so glad for that because I couldn't ask for a better role model. She was an entrepreneur, artist, and creative and I am so glad to have had her guidance and support on my journey and her footsteps to follow. My grandma passed away on January 4th this year. I miss her daily, but am so happy to have learned from her creativity and her passion.