There’s a coffee shop near my home that has been posting the countdown towards spring. This morning it was biting cold and the wind so powerful that the message declaring 5 days til spring couldn’t be posted. I went to look for it in my down coat, pouffe super warm hat with a scarf wrapped around my head. Yes, my usual “look” this winter. The store owner said, “The wind was too much for the sign.” We both looked at each other in sorrow and then I ordered a latte and we went on with our days. I have never dreamed so much of spring as I have these past few weeks.
When I was a girl we would have spent the weekends leading up to Easter shopping. Easter outfits were a right of passage into spring. That was the holiday when everyone would get their very own new pair of leather shoes called Maryjanes and a “Sunday” dress. Yes, I grew up in an era when Sunday clothes were part of any civilized wardrobe. My mother was a practical woman and hand-me-downs from my older sister or any older cousin or friend was the norm. A bag would arrive and we’d dig through it like a pack of wild dogs at a restaurant trash bin. Easter was different though. That was the day you would be wearing something brand new. I can remember the trepidation in cutting the tags off of a dress. Then and only then, you knew it was yours.
Shopping for these outfits was an agonizing affair. My mother not only was practical but thrifty. We shopped for hours looking for the prettiest, simplest and cheapest dress. It had to be worn at any special occasion the summer months ahead held. She knew if you searched hard enough quality and inexpensive could be found in a dusty corner of one store or another. Since there were 3 daughters, we had to find that many more dusty corners. “There’s a button missing here.” she would show the sales clerk. That was the beginning of her negotiations. My mother’s depression era scars would inflame at the thought of spending money. “Look at this mark over here. Are you sure there is nothing you can do to lower the price?” I would stand to the side, my brain numb in horror as she worked the sales staff. It would be years before I would realize my mother’s childhood had unnecessarily scarred my own. We weren’t destitute or poor; we were just being raised by a woman whose ego was battered by the Great Depression. My father was amused by my mother’s thriftiness not witnessing her daily trials and tribulations.
Once the outfits were purchased, we’d savor the delight of ownership by secretly trying them on in our bedroom. Easter Day was the moment when tags would be cut and the dresses and shoes publicly worn. The shoes slightly large as they had to last the entire year. Somewhere after Labor Day, we’d polish them black for winter wear. Easter Day you could finally trash those well worn black shoes.
As I write this, I’m thinking that I should go shopping for an Easter outfit. Maybe that would cure my winter blues. Admittedly, I won’t shop exactly like my mother did. The sales staff is safe from bartering in my company but I tend to only browse the sales rack. My wallet could withstand any purchase I make but there isn’t any joy paying full price. My mother would be pleased.
Yesterday we had a hint of the warmer days to come. Here are a few photos I took as I walked about town.