Easter Dressing

Easter outfits. Those were the good ol’ days, weren’t they? How old do you have to be to have earned the right to make such comments officially, I wonder? I figure, at 51 and climbing, I’ve just about made it. So here it goes. 

I remember when we received new clothes just before Easter. For us girls, we always got a new dress or a fancy outfit, usually something that matched with one another, and we all got new hair ribbons. Those new outfits would be saved for Easter Sunday morning and we had to keep them neat and tidy enough to wear to church. 

‘Squirming arses’

As was the times, we were also sent outside to play as we waited for Mom and Dad to be ready to haul our squirming arses off to thank the Lord for our blessings as we learned about the reason for the season by colouring, then punching out along the dotted line, a cross, a crown of thorns or a rolled-away stone out of some handout passed over to us in Sunday School.

Of course, the reason we were sent outside to cool our fancy white patent-leathered heels before church was because the chocolate left us by the Easter Bunny in our laid-out by our bedside footwear (that’s how we did it back in dem days) had made us all a bit hyper. 

Back then, besides chocolate, the Easter Bunny mostly brought things for outside play. While there may have been a scatter Barbie or a book, I remember skipping ropes, bubbles, chalk and hula hoops being the gifts we adored the most. There was no doubt a method behind the madness. Anything that got us five out of the house and into the yard was a good thing. I have so many memories of Easter’s past. I remember almost every outfit I received, perhaps because the dresses were always so fancy and we were so fussed over. Four girls with curls that had to be tamed to hold the ribbons wasn’t an easy task for our mother. Multiple pony tails. Too many finger curls to count. And tangles? A salacious amount. Mom hauled away, taking the head off us, as she brushed. If we were lucky, we got Dad into the act. While he might have been a lot slower, his hand at hair-brushing was also much gentler. 

One memory that stands out was the morning I let my little brother – dressed up in his new Easter Sunday best like the rest of us, as perfect as a little stick of gum, he was – waddle into a massive mud puddle. When he got in the middle of it, with us well-coiffed girls watching in horror and/or amusement, down he sat, right in the middle of it. One of us ran and got Mom, figuring she’d loose her ever lovin’ mind. She didn’t.

She grabbed the camera instead. I can’t remember if Mom washed and dried my brother’s outfit or if he went to church in something else that day, but I do remember the mud puddle incident and the joy of knowing we really weren’t in trouble. It certainly makes me smile.

No worse for wear

Thinking back, we probably all went to church a little worse for wear. Looking now at a few old pictures, I see white tights  with grass-stained knees. I see a few scrapes on bare legs sticking out from under the helm of a dress. I also see a few skewed ribboned ponytails. No, we weren’t carted off to church as neatly as we were sent out to play and waited to be piled into the family car and marched into the House of the Lord, but we looked good enough to play the part of spirited and somewhat enthusiastic Christians, I suppose. 

Funny. I let the goodies left in the shoe tradition die, but I carried on new outfits at Easter time with my own kids. 

My son was always newly overalled and adorable and my daughter had her curls tamed, her nails polished, and her new dress and tights all laid out special for Easter Sunday – though we didn’t always wind up at church and the bunny never, ever left my youngsters a skipping rope. So why the new outfits? 

When it comes to remembering the good ol’ days, carrying on at least part of the tradition helps us feel warm ‘n’ fuzzy. 

Happy Easter!

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