The Easter season always bring childhood memories flooding back to me. I guess it's because, unlike Christmas, which was one a two-day event, this holiday season lasts for 40 days. . .40 very long days without candy or sweets of any kind.
When I was a kid, you knew Beelzebub awaited you if ate meat on Friday, too. One of my favorite cartoons that came out after meat on Lenten Fridays was no longer deemed a mortal sin was of two devils scratching their heads in Hell, looking at a group of recent arrivals. One said to the other, “Now what are we supposed to do with all these guys that had a hamburger?”
Fridays at our house were reserved for grilled cheese sandwiches or fish sticks. The dreaded Fridays were those with salmon patties that always had horrible little bones in them. There were no desserts for 40 days either, just loads of tartar sauce.
And while it was always a big treat to find your Easter basket on Sunday morning after Mass, filled to the brim with all those forbidden treats I hadn’t seen for six weeks, the biggest treat of all was getting dressed up for church.
One Easter I had a cool sleeveless turquoise dress with a little matching jacket featuring a Peter Pan collar. Yes, that’s what I wore. . .me and just about every other little girl of that decade.
But I felt my outfit was really special because my mom would make me a matching hat. Back in the 1950’s, we even wore little white cotton gloves and carried tiny purses to that special Sunday service
Coloring eggs was always a big deal, too. I still have a carton full of eggs that my daughters made over the years. Too clumsy to use the worthless wire egg holder provided, we’d all be covered in a rainbow of spring colored dye by the end of the afternoon, but very proud of what we displayed for company at our traditional family Easter dinner.
But my most vivid memory of Easter was in eighth grade, when we girls were allowed for the very first time to wear nylon stockings. Prior to that, we had to wear bobby socks or, heaven forbid, those ghastly little anklets that were eaten up by your shoes by the end of the day.
This was back in 1963, before the invention of panty hose, so we’re talking garter belts and garters, objects of lingerie that were certainly exotic to a young and innocent 14-year-old. (Remember when 14-year-old girls were truly young and innocent?)
There we were, up in the choir loft, proud as peacocks, looking with pious pity at the socks of those girls who weren’t yet eighth graders. We were now nylon-wearing young sophisticates. . .that is until that first garter popped open and you anxiously waited for your silk stocking to crawl down your leg in front of everybody. That was the price you paid for chubby thighs.
Here’s hoping that your family’s Easter holiday is an egg-cellent one.