Musings from the Hill, April 9, 2915
Many long years ago before the Great Depression, in the roaring '20s, Easter was observed in a far different manner. In New York, Fifth Avenue truly had an elaborate Easter parade. Newspapers pictured couples strolling the Avenue with men in “ spats” (a shoe adornment) accompanied by white-gloved women in elegant hats. To see and be seen was the goal. Our small town was largely Protestant and our efforts to be elegant were modest. We always wore white gloves and a small hat to church on Sunday. This custom we endeavored to continue after our marriage. My son managed to make this difficult. Our five girls usually cooperated. When we discovered my son was undressing in the back seat of the car as we drove home disclosing his usual attire which he wore under his “good” clothes, we gave up! This time-saving ploy enabled him to jump out of the car into the woods and lake behind our house. I was in sympathy with him. I too preferred the woods to church. Nature brought, and still brings, solace to my soul. I truly need nature’s gentle touch.
When I was a child an Easter basket filled with goodies was not expected. Perhaps a few of my friends received a chocolate rabbit. Our baskets usually contained a few pairs of summer socks to replace the unsightly long stockings we tried to stuff in our winter long johns. Peeps and jelly beans were just appearing on the scene. No one hid Easter eggs anywhere. In the depression years they would have been eaten—not hidden. Farm children usually retrieved eggs every morning. To hide them was unthinkable. I do not remember when the Easter Bunny, hopping down the bunny trail, appeared on the scene. Jelly beans arrived in 1861 in Boston and were sent to Civil War troops but were not associated with Easter until the 1930s.
Times change! I remember long ago an old-time resident of Vinland told me girls could not wear short socks until June. Girls would roll down their socks as soon as they were out of sight from their home; and roll them up before they arrived at school. One girl said they were told they would die from flu if they unrolled their socks before June.
I am often astonished at the clothing (or lack there of) I see in summertime on the streets of Lawrence and in air-conditioned stores. I am not a prude and times do change — white gloves are no longer de rigueur for church. I remember my shocked grandmother saying to me. “Margaret June do not ride your bike in those short shorts!”
Sad to relate I ignored my Nana and blithely rode off. Shame on me!
I wish you all a blessed Easter as you hop on down the bunny trail.