Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Miniature Southern Belle Easter

Ooooooo, Easter. When I was a little girl, Easter was a time of high excitement and, since my mother is a full-fledged, card-carrying Southern Belle, she pulled out all the stops. You simply could not do Easter properly unless you had a new Easter ensemble to wear to church. And I mean head to toe. Literally.

Several weeks in advance, Southern Belle Mama would begin plotting and scheming Easter outfits. This would entail untold numbers of trips to fabric stores to look at patterns, fabrics, buttons, ribbons, bows, thread, rick-rack, lace, and anything else that might either be used for the actual dress or bobby-pinned and/or shellacked onto my head. (I shudder to think what she could’ve done with a Bedazzler.) After all the necessary elements had been gathered, I would then be summoned to the sewing room, where I would patiently (*cough*) stand while the tissue paper pattern was pinned to me (my clothes, not my actual skin) and adjustments noted.

At some point thereafter – I have no idea how long, because I was much too busy catching ringworm from stray cats, building forts, and throwing dirt clods at the stupid boys who lived down the street – I would again be summoned to the sewing room. This time there would be a dress, or maybe just an appendage of a dress, that had to be tried on and checked for proper fit. It always seemed to me there was an overabundance of straight pins at this stage of the Easter Dress, and it was my least favorite part of the whole process.

Truth be known, the dress didn’t really excite me at all. Considering the time and energy Southern Belle Mama put into those dresses, she would not be pleased to know this. And we won’t even discuss those traumatic curly perms. {shudder} Luckily for me, she steadfastly refuses to get a computer. So, let’s just keep this between us, okay?

No, what really got me going were the accessories. Sweet rhubarb! There is nothing quite like brand new patent leather shoes. Or the way they make you feel. Magically, I was transformed into a fairy princess. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. And there was always a matching patent leather purse to go with them. And, of course, those sweet little pure-white, lace-adorned socks. And, last but not least, white gloves.

Given my obsession with patent leather, I’m sure Southern Belle Mama was certain, with time, my rough edges would smooth out, and I would effortlessly follow in her pointy-toed, high-heeled footprints. Unfortunately, signs to the contrary were apparent early on, and the evidence is right there in the family album. There are a whole lotta pictures of me in my Easter-best ruffled and frilly dress, perfectly accessorized with patent leather shoes and purse, ruffled socks, gloves, and a precious little hat. Yes, there I am, the very picture of miniature Southern Belle perfection, until you spot the Band-Aids on my knobby little knees and elbows. I can almost hear my mama sighing in the background when I look at those pictures.

I don’t know for certain, but I would be willing to bet Southern Belle Mama was on the receiving end of a passel of “bless her hearts,” when the good ladies at the Junior Women’s League were discussing their daughters. I think it’s safe to say some of my tomboy ways were probably clucked over and tsked-tsked. But, you know, I’m also willing to bet my mama couldn’t have cared less what they thought. But I digress.

Yes, Easter was a HUGE deal in my family. After weeks of preparation for the Big Event, we got all dolled up and went to Sunday school and church together. After that, there was a family dinner, usually at my grandma and granddad’s house, followed by a challenging Easter egg hunt or two with my cousins. I say challenging because my grandma had the most amazing gardens (yes, plural) of anyone I have ever known.

If we were really lucky, someone would break out the ice cream maker and all the ladies would gather in the kitchen to concoct their special blends of ice cream flavors. For some reason, it was always my job to sit on top of the ice cream maker to keep it from moving around, while someone cranked the handle. (Those of you of recent birth might have to Google old-fashioned ice cream maker.) I remember my mother would always put a towel on top of it for me to sit on, so my little tushy wouldn’t freeze to it.

Of course, I always got the customary Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies, robin’s eggs, and jelly beans, but that wasn’t that big a deal to me. At a young age, I knew Easter was about Jesus rising from the dead and that it was really important, but I didn’t have a true understanding of what that meant. To me the most important thing about Easter was getting to celebrate it with my family.

Okay, okay, the patent leather shoes and purse ran a close second. Happy? ;)

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Easter. May God richly bless you all on this most special day.

1 comment:

Janice said...

Dear Brenda,

Oh my! The memories this post brings back to me, not all good since I had a hard time getting pretty new shoes to fit my flat feet and I had to wear those gawd-awful hats, but we always got dressed up and went to church and then went to Granny and Grandpop Christman's house for a totally delicious dinner. I also remember getting a solid chocolate bunny one year that was as big as me. Of course, I got lots of help eating him. Thanks for sharing your memories of Easter and the pictures. We're a lot alike! :)