Spring is just around the corner. Hopefully. I’ve been waxing nostalgic on my blog about childhood spring rituals. Skipping ropes and marbles and white rain boots. And of course, Mum’s opening the big cedar chest to unveil our spring clothes. Sigh… I always longed for winter to be over so we could swap our winter coats and mittens and heavy snow boots for rain boots and spring coats. Like the coat I wore when I was seven, dusty rose with chocolate brown frogging. At least I think that was mine. My memory might be playing tricks. Maybe it belonged to one of my older sisters, and I only coveted it.
Don’t all youngest sisters covet what their older sisters have?
Thinking of spring and mud puddles and skipping led me to think about Easter. Crisply ironed dresses with crinolines… and white straw Easter bonnets with ribbons down the back and an elastic under the chin.
That’s me, above, circa 1958, with my grandmother, brother and my two older sisters in their Easter bonnets. But where is my bonnet? I know I had one because I remember unpacking it from the cedar chest and holding it reverently in anticipation of Easter morning.
My memories of childhood Easter mornings are vivid, as they are for many of us I’m sure. Easter baskets and chocolate eggs. Easter bonnets. Maybe a new dress and shiny shoes. White gloves for Sunday school and a small bible with a white zippered cover into which we slipped a carefully folded tissue and a dime for the collection plate.
But Easter in Canada is not a guarantee of warm temperatures. And even if the snow has gone, the ground might not be dry enough for shiny new shoes. One year when the snow and mud in the yard made wearing new shoes impossible, I remember tap dancing on our cement front step in new, red mary janes. I recall a moment of perfect happiness, doing my little dance in my new shoes on that small square of concrete in the sunshine. Then decamping inside to put my old winter boots on before I dared to venture further. Funny how that moment in the sunshine in my new shoes has always stayed with me.
This is a picture of my sister’s three children taken on Easter morning, 1986. My niece Elisabeth, in her bonnet, is chortling merrily, clearly entertaining her brother. But what I love most about this picture is how Elisabeth’s older sister, Rebecca, is not amused. Obviously she feels that wearing one’s Easter finery calls for a bit more dignity.