Chicago (CBS) — Friends of an Orland Park woman have taken to Facebook to find a 55-year-old wedding dress that had been sold off in a storage unit auction.

In July of 2014, Bridget Marlowe moved back to the Chicago area from Texas after suddenly losing her husband of 26 years. With money tight, she downsized and put many of the family’s items in a self storage unit. Among the belongings was the dress Marlowe’s mother wore on her wedding day 55 years ago, in January of 1964.

(Credit: Marlowe family)

Marlowe began to fall behind on the unit’s $223 monthly rental fee. “Yes, I could have asked for help,” she told CBS 2. But she could not bring herself to ask her family and friends for financial assistance.

According to Marlowe, the storage company eventually auctioned Marlowe’s unit in 2017. Marlowe said the person who bought its contents kindly dropped off some of the family’s personal photos at the facility for Marlowe to pick up. “I lost 26 years of Christmases,” Marlowe told CBS 2 about the items she was not able to retrieve.

Until two months ago, Marlowe thought she still had the dress in her current apartment’s storage unit. After her daughter, Britt, who is 27, asked about the dress, Marlow realized it had been sold off in the auction.

“Baby it’s not your fault, I understand,” is what Marlowe said her mother, 73, told her after learning the dress had been sold in the auction. Knowing how important the dress is to her mother and her daughter, Marlowe contacted the storage facility. She was told the person who bought the unit could not remember what had happened to the dress.

Britt, who is studying for a Master’s degree in Argentina and in a serious relationship, is not currently engaged. But Marlowe told CBS 2 that Britt is very close with her grandmother and would love to wear the dress when she eventually walks down the aisle.

In a recent group chat with three childhood friends, Marlowe confided that her storage unit had been sold, and along with it, her mother’s wedding dress. These four women, who have known each other since kindergarten in Sauk Village, call themselves “our Tribe.”

Marlowe’s friends came up with a plan: they would post about the wedding dress on Facebook publicly and request that people help them find it. “Help us find this dress!!” is how Clara Bryant started her post.

“Her heart is bigger than she is,” Bryant told CBS 2. Bryant had no idea Marlowe had fallen on hard times financially. She and buddies Suzette Daley and Kim Denton believe that a Facebook post and a little bit of luck might reunite this dress with its original owners, perhaps even in time for Christmas.

Once the friends received photos of the dress, Bryant quickly typed up a post, included the images and waited to see what would happen. In the past five days, the post has garnered close to 4,000 shares on Facebook.

“I didn’t realize it would go so public,” said Marlowe about the thousands of shares and warm responses the Facebook post has received.

She added, “I hope the person who has the dress sees this. But I’m not asking for anything.” Marlowe said she would buy the dress back from its current owner.