I grew up in the far northeast in Maine. The winters were (and probably still are) quite severe and like this year it seems that Spring is a long time coming. I remember that it snowed the night of my junior prom in May. In Maine, nothing is predictable where weather is concerned. I checked the old hometown weather forcast for today and it’s snow showers in the leadup to Easter.
Spring was always a matter of looking at the calendar and not looking out the window. My youthful memories of Easter were getting new dresses with those snappy patent leather shoes and hats… always a hat for Easter. I would beg for some summery spaghetti strapped dress and my mother would roll her eyes and tell me I was going to freeze and worse yet people would think I had an uncaring mother. (that’s another story)
As far as I can remember, every Easter I got a dress and matching Spring coat, new patent leather shoes (a concession from my mother) and a hat. Always a hat. Back in the day, women needed a hat to go to church. I’ve mentioned before that I’m short. I’m pretty used to it by now but there are times I get on a step stool about a foot tall and look around. You should try it once and see the difference in your world view. I can see the top of the fridge – and the dirt I ignore because it’s not in my line of sight.
In addition to being short, I have very fine hair atop a small head and buying a hat in any shop in the US or Australia is impossible. I’m okay as long as I wear glasses but otherwise any hat goes down over my eyes. It’s decidedly not attractive, plus I bump into things so I don’t wear hats.
As a young person growing up however, hats were required attire for women in order to get through the church door and being a good Catholic family, to church we went. I’m sure it was some archaic law made by sad old men that said women were unworthy and needed to be covered.
Before Easter, early in the morning when the big department store opened, my mother and I would be waiting at the door so we could be first in. I’d look around to be sure nobody I knew saw us go in and headed for the little girls department. Those hats fit. My mother would take off the ribbons and bows and redesign the hat to match my slick new Easter outfit. It was my secret. Friends would ask where I got my hat and I said the same thing every year. “Portland.” It was the largest city in the state and 90 miles away so no fear of anyone doubting my story.
All these memories came flooding back today when I read a Facebook group post from my old hometown. “Anyone remember the big Easter Egg hunts we used to have in Waterville?” Absolutely. Waterville was just across the river, making it one big community.
One year I found an egg. The local radio station would broadcast clues and if you had a loving dad like we did, he’d cart us around town following the clues. The eggs were clear plastic and about a foot tall and filled with chocolate and free prize coupons. The prizes were nice but the best bit was going to the radio station to be interviewed. “Where did you find it, what clue gave it away, etc.” I felt like a star. This photo is a springtime shot from what was called the 2-cent Bridge between Winslow where I lived and Waterville across the river. It’s now got a new name but for me it will always be the 2-cent bridge. Yes, it cost 2 cents to cross. Y0u can tell it’s Spring because the river isn’t frozen over.
Easter is now in the Autumn for me and it feels wacky even after nearly 18 years. It’s the last holiday before winter and the hotels near us are all cheerfully putting up their no-vacancy signs.
No more seeing Easter as a time for baby birds nor the rebirth of flowers but it’s still a lovely time of year. Our climate is Florida-like so no leaves dropping or cool mornings yet but there is a change in the air. After this weekend, taking the dog to the beach will find miles of sand with nobody but us tossing a ball as far as it can go and waiting for those little furry feet to race to get to the ball before it lands.
I used to have chickens at our old place and a friend gave me this toy chicken as a hostess gift at a dinner party. I cracked up. If you pinch the wing it sings and dances to the Chicken Dance and I thought this was a perfect thing to bring out for Easter. I found these tiny coated chocolate eggs and made chocolate oatsie nests and chocolate cupcakes. Yeah, I overcooked the chocolate hoping it would look less shiny and more nest-like. A bit of a fail.
My Easter cupcakes were made from Sugar and Snapshot’s blog and she adapted her recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. Happy Holiday, everyone!