Thursday, March 30, 2017


The other day, a store clerk and I got into a discussion about Easter back when we were kids.

“My mother always bought me a new hat for Easter,” she said. “How about you?”

“Definitely!” I answered. “And the more flowers on it, the better. I walked around looking as if I had a get-well bouquet growing out of my head!”

She giggled. “And let’s not forget the brand new, patent-leather Mary Jane shoes.”

I nodded. “They were so shiny, there were rumors that the boys could see the reflection of our panties in them!”

Our conversation made me think about Easter outfits as I drove home from the store that day. Back when I was young, going shopping with my mom for my annual Easter outfit actually was pretty exciting. I loved trying on all of the frilly little dresses with fluffy petticoats underneath, and then choosing the matching accessories - a hat, white gloves, a purse and shoes.

Even more fun was going to church and seeing everyone else’s new outfits. It wasn’t very often that you’d see shoes so shiny and clothes so crisp on an entire congregation. I swear you could smell the new-clothes scent when you walked into the church…kind of like a new-car scent, only clothes-ier.

Of course, after Easter, those same outfits got pretty boring because everyone wore them nearly every Sunday, so they could get their money’s worth out of them. After all, it wasn’t as if we kids could wear party dresses to school.

On Easter Sunday, I always enjoyed seeing my friends’ new Easter finery, too. I remember one year when my friend Sue, who lived next-door and was about nine at the time, came over to show me her outfit. It was a pale yellow dress with lots of ruffles, topped with a matching flowered yellow hat. As Sue and I were standing out in the yard, her older sister, Diane, dressed in a lacy white Easter outfit, suddenly came rushing over.

“That’s MY petticoat you’re wearing!” she shouted at Sue. “You take it off right now!”

“Will not!” Sue shot back. “Mom said I could wear it for Easter.”

Diane, her expression furious, stomped over to Sue, reached up underneath her dress and yanked down the petticoat. It fell into a heap on the ground.

Instead of pulling it back up, Sue stepped out of the slip and threatened to yank out her sister’s hair by the roots. Diane started running and Sue took off after her. By the time they returned for the slip, Sue’s hat was hanging down over one eye and the flowers on it were all flattened. Diane’s formerly shiny shoes had scuffs all over them.

Sue grabbed the petticoat at the same time Diane did, and a tug-of-war ensued. Diane finally tore the slip out of Sue’s hands and ran off with it, letting loose a stream of evil cackles as she did.

That was a great Easter.

When I was young, my biggest problem was keeping my Easter outfit clean until I got to church. But I swear, it was the Easter Bunny’s fault, not mine. I mean, I’d get up at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday, grab my empty Easter basket and go eagerly searching for all of the toothache-inducing goodies that Mr. Bunny had hidden for me.

Drool would seep out of the corners of my mouth as I uncovered one chocolate egg, jelly bean, marshmallow chick and chocolate bunny after another. And then there always was the biggest treasure of all; a giant fruit, nut and cream-filled chocolate egg about the size of a bowling ball. It was enough to give a kid a bad case of worms.

And every Easter, Mom would remind me, “Now don’t eat any of that candy until we get back from church!”

But what normal, red-blooded kid actually could hold a basket heaped with candy and not sample a piece? When it came to chocolate, I didn’t have an ounce of willpower back then…and all these years later, I still don’t.

So several of my frilly Easter dresses somehow mysteriously ended up with smears of chocolate all over them. And so did my face. And my (formerly) white gloves.

That probably explains why many of the children of today never will experience the thrill of wearing frilly lace dresses and shiny patent-leather shoes, or sprouting flower gardens on their heads on Easter Sunday.

And they have the messy little hair-pulling, shoe-scuffing, chocolate-chomping kids from my generation to blame for it.

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