With Easter fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my favorite Easter picture that my Mother took of me.
For those of you too young to know, I was miserable in the double layered can-can slip beneath the dress. They were stiff and held your skirts out into that ever so cute bell shape. The dress was a satiny material with pale baby blue bodice and lace at the neckline. The skirt was of the same material but striped in baby blues, baby pinks and white. My white gloves were bunched in my hands. And my parasol handbag hung on my right at,. You can't see the white lace socks, and white patent leather shoes. You can see the white lace fascinator on my head. (Yes, that's really what they were called. And no decent young lady went to church without something covering her head back in those days!)
I also carried my little Bible with me, which isn't in the photo. It was a hardback Bible with a painting of Jesus and the little children on the cover. My Mother taught me to read with that Bible. And Bible memorization was a HUGE part of my upbringing.
Each Sunday we were dressed in our very best dresses, shoes gloves. If I did not wear a fascinator, I wore a small kerchief looking cloth that was pinned to my hair (we were very strict old school Baptists.) In just a few short years (before 1970 I'm sure) we stopped covering our heads, and went without hats or fascinators or scarves. Times were a'changing.
Mother always got us ready when we were small, and we would have to sit and wait for her to finish getting ready. Ever try to keep a 3 year old and 5 year old sitting still? Well, she would turn on the television. And in those days there were Gospel Singers on television before time for church. We would sit and sing along to the songs we knew. See, it really wasn't that hard to keep us entertained!
When Mother came out dressed, I always thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. And she was stunning. Tall and slender. I didn't realize back then that we didn't have enough money to buy our dresses, and that Mother made them. I just know how much we were always told how pretty our dresses were. Mother had this uncanny ability to look at a catalog picture of a dress, and make it herself to look exactly like the photograph! When I was in high school, I wanted a particular dress for the school prom. It was way out of our budget (I think it was like $50 back then!) Mother told me not to worry. She'd see I had it. And I did! When I arrived at the prom with my date, all of the girls came running. "Oh my goodness! I saw that same dress in the catalog, but my mother said it was too expensive! How'd you get your Mother to buy it for you? Your parents must be made out of gold!" No one ever knew that Mother made that beautiful dress simply by looking at the photograph in the catalog! (Give me a sewing pattern and I can do a good job. But throw down some material and tell me to make a dress, and it's going to come out looking like a potato sack! Ha ha.)
I look at this picture, and I can see my eldest son. I didn't realize how much like me he looked when he was little! Of course he is no longer little (He turns 38 this year!)
Easter was always a fun time with my Mother. Daddy was usually gone (he was full time, career Navy, and was at sea more than he was ever home!). But Mother made it a special time for us. She always made up for Daddy not being there.
Some of my fondest memories of my Mother when I was this age, was playing with Barbie dolls. Still a relatively new doll, my Mother would sit in the floor with my sister and I and play Barbie dolls with us. We didn't have Barbie cars and jeeps and houses back then. So, my sister and I took cereal boxes, and cracker boxes and made Barbie cars (I was favorable to her Cadillac, which a cornflake box made such a nice one!) My sister had Barbie drive a van. Her van was made from a saltine cracker box. Barbie sometimes had a pull camper, which we fashioned from a large oatmeal can. Tins from vegetables were washed and turned upside down, and Barbie had chairs. Mom bought a bag of Barbie shoes for us once. And then sat for days cutting out and sewing together whole wardrobes for Barbie! She even made Barbie handbags to match her outfits! She once took an apple crate, and divided it up into "rooms", and papered every room with a different fabric for wallpaper. And then handmade Barbie furniture! Yep, we had a Barbie house well before Mattel ever thought of it!
And my Mother loved to play jacks with us. Did you ever play jacks? I have such short fat hands, even today, that I am lousy at the game. But I have tried. I don't think I ever could get past fivesies. Mother on the other hand had long slender fingers, and she could scoop up 12 or more jacks at a time! She was the best at it!
I did get to be pretty good with pick-up-sticks. Do you remember those? They were great for hand/eye coordination!
Oh, I wish I had pictures of my Mother doing all these things with us!
I remember one Easter Sunday that started out warm and beautiful. And after church, Mother had made a picnic lunch and we were going to go to the Azalea Gardens and have a picnic and walk the miles of trails. Azaleas were already in bloom, and this had become our yearly thing to do. Well, as we were driving the short couple of miles to the garden, the wind began to pick up. And by the time we arrived, it wasn't only windy, but raining cats and dogs as well! Mother turned from the front seat and looked back at me,'Scoot over Sissy, we're all climbing in the back seat for our picnic!' Without missing a beat, my Mother climbed over the front seat, spread out the picnic blanket and began to open up our lunch basket. We played 'I Spy" and sang songs until the windows were completely fogged up! It was the best picnic I can remember as a child!
I later had a picnic with my husband which was just as exciting. It was Father's Day and I wanted to do something fun. So we were going to go on a hike and then eat a picnic lunch in the state park. It could have been a disaster except for his quick wits, and fun loving self. We decided to eat first. Every picnic table in the park was in use! So, we climbed down the embankment and sat on the river bank and ate. It was all very romantic and sweet! Then he carried our belongings back to car, and we started out on a hike. Just a short 4 mile hike. We were almost a quarter of the way through a long climb, and I was in front, when the ground suddenly fell away from beneath my feet. It was nearly 100-feet to the rocky bottom below us. Somehow I managed to get turned toward the face of the cliff, and got my toes and fingers dug into the shale enough to prevent me from falling any farther than I had. I was about 10-feet below the path. I was scared to death! But he was Mr. Cool. He was on his belly, and was leaning way over the edge and holding onto the back of my pants at the waist! 'Climb!' he commanded. 'Come on and climb! You can do it!' And I did. Because of him I was shaken, but I was unhurt. (You would think in a park as crowded as it had been, there would have been someone who would have come around about then! But nope, we were totally isolated there!) Still, it is one of my favorite picnics with my hubby! Maybe because he was/is my hero!
And my Mother was my hero! Always there to help me. Always there to make me smile. To make me laugh. And to love me.
This Easter will be my second without her. She went to Heaven in July 2015. I look forward to it. But it will never be the same without her there. I still miss her Easter Bunny baskets. And her Easter ham.
And I miss hearing her tell why we celebrate Easter every year. She would read the crucifixion with such sorrow. And then she would read the Resurrection. Her voice became 'jubilant'. That's the only way to describe it! And she loved to hear me sing the Jamie Wilson version of 'Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down'.
Getting closer and closer to that Trumpet Sound Mama! I miss you!