Louise

The photo shows my sisters Judy and Toni (from left to right) on Easter Sunday, 1958.  We always received new Sunday clothes and shoes and, if old enough, a patent leather purse for Easter.

Do we even use the word “purse” anymore?

Somewhere, there’s a picture of me on that same day at age 14, posturing like a model in my “sheath” dress and my new oval shaped patent leather purse, but it’s in my Book of Remembrance, which is presently in storage.  Just as well.  I was such a poser, a drama queen.

Mother made my dress, but she didn’t make these two. They were more than likely bought at JC Penny’s in downtown Salt Lake on Main Street and 2nd South. She didn’t drive, so if you got a “store bought” dress, she’d take you on the number one bus on 9th South and 10th East, which let you off smack in front of Penny’s.

Immediately inside the front doors was the candy and nut counter.  We’d pass this by, take the escalator to the second floor, try on two or three dresses, decide on one, and make our way back down the escalator carrying the sack with the precious new dress and feeling like a princess.

This time we stopped at the candy counter.  When I was with Mother, she always bought a small bag of cashews to eat on the way home.  Toni said that when she went with Mother, they bought chocolate covered raisins.  Mother was a frugal woman, and buying something as frivolous as candy or cashews to eat on the bus ride home was one of the luxuries of my childhood.  It was intimate be able to shop with Mother, without any of the rest of the eight brothers and sister around.

Like I said, she was frugal.  There was no way on God’s little green earth she would ever cough up an Easter hat.  I asked her for one more than once, and her reply was to pucker her lips and blow out “puh,” dismissively.  Mother did not suffer romantic notions lightly.

When I went downtown by myself, I always tried on ladies’ hats at Auerbach’s while nervous saleswomen hovered nearby.  I especially liked hats with veils.  I looked so sophisticated with a veil over my eyes.  Think Audrey Hepburn in CHARADE.  Or did she wear a mask?  And I loved spring hats covered in silk flowers.

Yes, I called my mother, “Mother.”  I called my father, “Daddy.”  Go figure.

A few years ago when I was in the Relief Society presidency in the 27th Ward, we suggested to the sisters that we all wear Easter hats.  I went shopping for one, looked at the price tags and thought, “puh.”  I couldn’t bring myself to buy one, and I’m sure I would have felt silly wearing one.  But it was great fun to see the other sisters in Easter hats.

What about you?  Did you get new Easter clothes?  Were you lucky enough to wear an Easter hat as well?  Wow, you lucky dog, if you did.  Wow.

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