Sunday, April 9, 2023

April 9, 2023~Easter Childhood Memories and Vintage Photos

 Happy Easter! 

"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade."- Irving Berlin. (Chances are, if you were born after 1960, this song, written by Irving Berlin, is not a familiar tune to you. Me? I still whistle the melody when I think of the Easter season).

There was a time that greeting Easter meant wearing a new bonnet, and you had to strut down the avenue to show it off! That was the order of the day. This new finery and the new clothes that went with it were symbolic of the end of dreary winter and the rebirth of nature that came with spring. Back in the early 1900s (and continuing somewhat until the 60s), strolling to church and back home, to show off bonnets and clothes became a popular pastime. 

Last week, I wandered down the Easter rabbit hole (no pun intended). I reminisced of some of my childhood Easters. You see, a friend posted a photo, on social media, of the style of dress and accessories that I fondly remembered wearing for Easter when I was a little girl. 

Oh those itchy crinoline slips😝! And the fabrics of semi-translucent organdy and satin. And ribbons and lace! The hats, the white gloves, the white socks, the black patent leather shoes, the handbags ...... all part of the 'total image'. While I do not remember the photo below being taken, written on the back was Easter April 9, 1950. It was taken on Jefferson Street near Elmwood Park. Can't you hear the music of that song? while they strut up and down the street? I was almost 2 years old! 
Our family increased. By 1953, I had gained a sister. Our family of four seemed inseparable from  my Dad's twin brother, wife and 2 boys! (It was as if I had 2 brothers!) Easter Sundays were no exception. How did we get those church choir robes placed on top of our Easter finery😂?
Our family, once again increased with the addition of another sister, Nancy Sue, in 1954. The Easter extravaganza continued with the fancy homemade Easter attire!
Store bought Easter finery was not an option in our household. But oh, how my Mom made sure that we were 'dressed-to-the-nines' with her sewing skills. That sewing machine of hers must have 'burned-the-midnight-oil,' making sure all outfits were ready to wear. How she and my Dad managed get us ready and in the car to drive to Church was an accomplishment! My Dad would keep things moving along, as well as care for my paternal Grandmother, his Mom, who was also living with us at the time. I suspect he was busy boiling (what seemed to be hundreds) eggs that were dyed for the big hunt later Sunday afternoon. THERE WERE NO PLASTIC EGGS BACK THEN!

Easter childhood memories included my Uncle John, a mechanic at N&W, who was my Mom's brother. He worked part time at a florist delivering corsages to customers to be worn with their Easter attire. We, too, were the lucky recipients to receive such delicate orchids. No outfit would be complete without it! Photos below include my Grandfather, Grandmother, Mom, sisters Judy, Nancy, and myself.

***On a side note, my Uncle John lived at home with my Grandparents. He never married. In addition to assuming most of their household maintenance, he made sure that we had transportation to various activities. My Mom did not learn to drive until I left home for college, and my Dad drove the only car to work.
Our family increased, once again, with the addition of another sister, Kathryn Lee, born in 1959. I was 11 yrs old when she was born. No doubt, the Easter fineries continued each year, and I'm pretty sure my Mom continued to 'burn the midnight oil', making our outfits for the proverbial Easter Parade! (Oh how I wish I had more photos 🥰.)  While I do not have 'Easter' photos of the early years of my sisters and me, this one comes close (1960)! Look at those dresses, and patent leather shoes, and white socks! 
Reminiscing of Easters past included the last 'Easter finery' that my Mom made for me. (She made sure I was able to make my own clothes from this point on.😁!)
Our 3 children are now adults with children of their own. 
I wonder what Easter childhood memories they will pass on to the next generation?