The Fabric of Time
When I was a child Easter was a time for new dresses, baskets, colored eggs and cold weather. Our mother made all of our clothes so some weeks before Easter she would take us all to TG&Y to purchase fabric. TG&Y was a discount store found primarily in the Southern states. We would pile into the car on Sunday afternoon and head out to “Toys, Girdles, & Yo-Yo’s.” Once there, we wandered up and down the rows of fabrics.
I was the youngest of six but more importantly the youngest of four girls stair-stepped in age and size. Mother was a great seamstress and could crank out a dress in very little time. Our dresses were trimmed with buttons, lace, or special collars. Now and then we got to pick our own fabric. I usually chose something a little different from most. My eighth grade banquet dress was a darkish green with even darker green flocked frogs hopping around. I loved that dress and one of my sisters spent at least an hour working on my waist-length hair.
She combed and twisted until I nearly screamed. She teased the bangs and hot-ironed the ends. She teased some more and my “do” was bigger than the state of Texas. I believe that she really liked that kind of hair-do but I also know that with hair like that NO ONE would ever look down to my skirt and see flocked frogs hopping around. All was solved. I got my fabric of choice and no one even noticed the frogs. Mother was appeased.
This particular Easter mother decided to pick the fabric. She liked us to match and often would purchase enough of one fabric to make four identical dresses. She would smooth out the fabric on our large farm table and pin the pattern pieces to the fabric. She cut and sewed and soon we all had matching dresses. I know she was proud of her creations as we marched down the aisles of church in the matching dresses that she had made for us.
As a child, I didn’t mind. As a matter of fact, I liked going to church in matching dresses. We were close in age and folks got us mixed up. It didn’t help that daddy was an auctioneer and would often raise our scrawny arm and begin the bidding process. We would get so tickled at the thought of him auctioning us off. Well, I did anyways. Being the youngest certainly brings a different perspective to many things.
The auctions were great as no one actually bid on us but the matching dresses came to be a sore spot with me. Back at the TG&Y, mother had spotted a hot pink fabric with little zig-zag lines making squares all over to imitate a patchwork quilt (1960’s to be sure). Inside the squares were cute little flowers. She held up the fabric and “measured” against her arm, decided there was enough for four dresses, and had the lady cut her several yards. She worked and sewed. On Easter morning we cheerfully got into our beautiful, new, hot pink dresses and white shoes.
You can imagine how we sashayed up the aisles that morning. We were proud of ourselves and our little dresses. We wore them all spring and summer. The next year as we made our pilgrimage to TG&Y for fabric, mother did not get very much. I didn’t think to question the decision until Easter morning. My oldest sister Cathy received a BRAND NEW dress made of new fabric! The rest of us wore the faded, pink, zig-zaggy dresses from the previous Easter. I was still young so I didn’t think that much about it.
The next Easter, I firmly remained stuck in the third rendition of the light pink dress with barely visible zig-zag boxes marching across in a sagging quilt design. By the fourth year of wearing the now off-white dress, I was fed up. Never again would I vote to wear matching dresses with my sisters. As the youngest of four I was destined to wear the same and yet NOT the same dress for Easter Sunday four years running.
The only death and resurrection I thought about that Easer was the absolute death and NON resurrection of a certain used-to-be-pink dress.
Times have changed and mothers no longer make Easter dresses and rarely, if ever, are young girls compelled to wear every one of the matching dresses from an entire set. What hasn’t changed is the important message that Easter brings no matter what you wear.
Happy Easter to you all. May you be blessed to be with friends and family as we all remember the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.