Rumor has it that Spring is coming…..

6 Days

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.

The High Line waiting for spring

The High Line waiting for spring

Central Park still had bits of snow here and there.  Daffodil shoots breaking through here and there.

Central Park still had bits of snow here and there. Daffodil shoots breaking through here and there.

14th Street from the High Line.

14th Street from the High Line.

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12 Responses to Rumor has it that Spring is coming…..

  1. Dean B says:

    Spring has supposedly sprung here on our side of the world. Last week we had glorious sunshine and it actually really felt like spring has come. This weekend though is a different story. We’ve been engulfed in a sea-mist/fog for days now and it feels like it’s winter all over again. Do hope that spring shows up on your end SOON!

  2. jwpenley says:

    I love to sit down and spend time with your blogs. A lot of time has passed since I took this time and I have missed your comments and observations. It’s a beautiful San Francisco day here and the building is having a barbecue. Wish you could join us. I miss you, your laugh and your indomitable spirit. Be well.

  3. dear Mae,

    this post brought back such great memories of the anticipation of easter outfits. my mom was thrifty, too, but also sewed lots of clothes for me and my two sisters. one year she had the idea to make identical dresses for us (she had found a bargain on a bolt of pretty yellow fabric!). I was 11 y.o. and was not happy to be dressed like my 8 yo and 6 yo sisters – I probably had a bloody fit. but mom understood and thought of something that would set me apart and suggested a belt. the photo of us 3 muskateers is hilarious – my younger sibs dressed age appropriately, but their big sister sporting a w-I-d-e-, dark brown belt that was all the rage on shows like American bandstand, which I HAD to have. poor mom, she bought a thin black patent belt to surprise me – I think it probably cancelled out most of what she saved with the on-sale fabric. but she never said a word, just told me I looked very pretty and snapped the photo that for years made me cringe. i miss my mother – she has dementia now and does not know that i have had 2 cancers, and that i am now a widow. oh, how i long for her comfort, her laugh, and HER. but i know that soon she will be very happy, as she is still able to revel in her beautiful flower gardens – spring cannot some too soon for my mom.

    thanks for such a great post – hoping spring brings you joy and renewal.

    much love and light to you,

    Karen, xoxo

    • maesprose says:

      Oh, your story sounds familiar! My mother was a great sewer too. One summer she decided to make my sisters and I matching jumpers. They were sewn beautifully but the fabric was hideous. No belt would have saved these wonders. My poor sister Lisa never seemed to grow out of it as she ended up wearing all three versions.

      I’m also so sorry for your loss Karen. I hadn’t realized your story. Losing both your husband and your mother, as you knew her, is difficult and then there is the cancer journey… sigh… hugs to you!

  4. Daile says:

    I love the idea of putting on your ‘Sunday best’ and shopping for an Easter outfit sounds like a lovely idea 🙂 I will be in Singapore for Easter with my little sister so I might save me shopping until then, and I’m sure I won’t be as thrifty as your mother either!

  5. elroyjones says:

    -13F here this morning. I remember the cousins hand-me-downs and new Easter outfits w/shoes too. I loved the Easter eggs with the panoramas inside. Lovely memory.

  6. maesprose says:

    That is a horrible number to wake to! Glad I could ignite such memories on such a dreary Monday morning.

  7. LB says:

    What memories this post brings back. Easter Sunday was so special, of course for the outfit and shoes, but for the visit to Grandma’s house, the Easter Lilly we would get at church, and the gathering of family around the table afterwards.
    Grandpa would hide Easter eggs but hold one back so he could be the one to find the last one 🙂
    Lovely post, Mae (well, except for the sign in front of the coffee shop…)

  8. maesprose says:

    I’m thrilled this brought back memories… it’s now spring but I’m still wearing my coat and snow is predicted for tomorrow!

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