Easter, 1950s Style
Have you ever been proud as a peacock?
I'm ashamed to admit just how worldly I've been for most of my life - even as a child, it would appear. In sitting down to write this little anecdote, it comes to me that the reason we celebrated Easter, the triumph and ceneterpiece of the Christian faith, pretty much flew over my head without making a dent in the lesser things that were filling it up at the time - like the fanciness of company meals and new Easter clothes. Woah. I could parrot "Jesus died for my sins" and I knew He rose from the grave on Easter morning way back when, but neither of these incredible facts phazed me.
Nevertheless, during my childhood, Easter was a big deal. Folks always went to church whether Catholic or Protestant, and even people who wouldn't otherwise have darkened the doorway of a church were to be found attending services on Easter Sunday morning. We all decked ourselves out in the best finery we had and most of us kids, I suspect, got new clothes in honor of the occasion. The Easter I remember best was on account of new some new clothes. Why? To understand that, you'd need to know something about my mother.
My mother was a beautiful woman. For starters, she had jet black hair and light blue eyes and as far as I was concerned she could give Vivien Leigh (the actress who played Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind) a run for her money any day. She always dressed with care and good taste, and I was very proud of her, especially when she made an appearance at my school. She was the prettiest Mom in the whole class. I was her biggest fan.
My mother, circa 1945
With that knowlege under your belt you can imagine I was proud as a peacock when my mother decided to make us matching mother-daughter outfits one Easter (it was either 1958 or 1959; I'm not sure which). She chose a creamy white fabric for these luscious outfits. Not being a seamstress myself, I can't tell you what it was, but I can see it perfectly in my mind's eye: it had a raised pattern all over it that was slightly shiny, giving the effect of two-tones althought it was just white on white. We always wore hats and gloves on occasions like Easter Sunday, and it was fun to look around the congregation and see what milinary creations sat on the heads of the ladies attending church. They were usually quite pretty and included silk flowers or cleverly fashioned fruits (cherries were my personal favorite).
I happen to have a snapshot of us wearing our Easter outfits on that Easter morning, taken in front of our car, named "Desert Rose" on account of the fact we drove it from Indiana out to Reno, Nevada where we went to live and where this photo was taken. As you can see, we are wearing our hats and gloves, and my purse has wonderful fruit detailing (oh yes; black patent leather was the rage). I was so proud to be dressed like my mom I was "put'near" bursting at the seams!
Me and my mom on Easter morning, 1958 or 1959
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Susan, what a beautiful story of you and your mom's Easter outfits, and the photos are especially fitting. No wonder you felt like your mom was the most beautiful mom in your class!
Golden, you are always so gracious! Thank you.