In the early 1960’s, when I hit the preteen years, Easter became about fashion. For weeks before Easter, I would search through the Sears and Roebuck catalog to look at the latest fashions. There was a children’s section and those pages became well worn and dogeared. I seldom got the dress that I really wanted because I seemed to develop expensive tastes in clothing at that age and we were not an expensive family. My mother always looked for bargains and clearance items (although they were not called that back then). One year I gazed longingly at a lovely gauzy dress featured in the catalog. It was satiny with cap sleeves. But the skirt… oh! the skirt was colored like a rainbow with wide panels of gauzy material overlayed in lovely pastels of pink, orange, turquoise, and yellow. It screamed Easter Sunday every time I looked at it.
I didn’t get the dress, no matter how much I pleaded and begged. But I did get a nice little yellow cotton dress with eyelet cutouts around the neckline. Suitable for wearing to school after Easter was over, which the gauzy dream dress was not. I was disappointed but as my mother always said, “Beggars cant be choosers.”
Imagine my surprise when on Easter Sunday, one of the girls in my Sunday school class arrived in the dream dress. It was just as beautiful as I imagined it would be and I was jealous. I sat next to her and smoothed out my cotton dress with last years gloves, and pulled up my old Sunday school socks (the anklets with lace around the top that you folded over) noticing that this girl with the dream dress was wearing nylon hose! I hadn’t even considered nylon hose. I knew what my mother would say about that. Besides, what good were nylon hose if you weren’t allowed to shave your legs yet? Nylon hose just smashed down all the hair on your legs and looked weird.
As Sunday School class began, another girl entered the room and I couldn’t believe my eyes. She, too, was wearing the dream dress. My eyes grew big, because even at the ripe old age of 11, I knew that wearing the same dress as someone else was just…..the end. The two girls looked at each other and glared. My eyes grew big as I waited to see what would happen.
Well, nothing much happened at all. After all, it was Sunday School and we were on our best behavior. There was more glaring between the two girls. The girl who arrived second found a seat in class at the far end of the room as far from the other girl as she could.
And I sat there very lady-like, smoothing out my one-of-a-kind yellow cotton dress with last year’s gloves. And maybe I had just the hint of a smirk on my face.