Easter, Glorious, sunny, crisp, everything-is-new Easter.That’s what I remember when I think about Easter when I was growing upIn Pennsylvania. The anticipation of going to Robert Hall’s to buy a new dress and coatWas almost overwhelming. We didn’t get new clothes very often, but it wasSome sort of unwritten law that you must show up in church on EasterMorning radiant in a pristine outfit. Finding that perfect dress (straightSkirt? Crinoline?) was a time-consuming affair. Then you needed a light coat. Not a bulky, overstuffed drab coat thatWas serviceable enough until you outgrew it, but a lovely, light pastelFrock that just might not be warm enough, but one that you would wear noMatter what — blizzard or heatwave. Then a hat! Oh, the joy! Several dressing tables would be set up soYou could perch that little veil (or some years, a wide brim) over yourTeased curls and decide which one was YOU. Of course, it had to match theCoat. Shoes were important, so mom would march me off to the footwearDepartment. I almost always ended up with flats, with a strap across theFoot to anchor it securely. How I longed for heels, which would make meTaller than my friends, causing others to think I was older than I trulyWas, and make me every inch the sophisticate. Do you remember having your shoes dyed to match your outfit? FashionHad reached its pinnacle! If you were lucky, you also got a matchingHandbag. Now, church handbags were different than everyday handbags. TheyWere usually small clutch bags, perhaps with a rhinestone clasp. As longAs they were large enough to hold a comb, a real handkerchief, andLipstick, they were big enough. And gloves. Discreet, white, ladylike, dainty gloves. I would searchUntil I found some that had tiny pearls or gathers across the back of theHand — certainly not plain gloves for me! I still have some of these dinosaurs in my closet, and I enjoy tryingThem on. After returning from church, where I obediently sat still, straightAnd silent, we returned home, where I would find an Easter basket. EveryTiny piece of candy and chenille chicks had to be removed to be certain IHadn’t missed anything. Jelly beans were sorted out from chocolate, andMental rationing began. But the one thing I miss most about those Easters is my chick. I can’t remember not getting a chick each Easter. The dime store soldThem in huge rainbow flocks for oh, about 19 cents. The colors wereRemarkable! Fuschia, purple, dark green, blue, and orange — each was toBe admired in its own way. You received a small sack of feed with your chick, and away you wentTo create a habitat. I loved the little chicks, and would tuck them upUnder my hair, where they’d contentedly snuggle down and sleep. We usuallyPut our chick in a laundry basket with a crumpled towel in the bottom, andOne covering the top when night fell. Later we’d drift off to sleep to theTune of tiny peeps that got weaker and weaker until the little darlingDrifted off. We used a lot of tissue cleaning up everywhere after theChick, and eventually they’d begin to sprout real feathers and grow out ofThe cute stage. There would come a day when I’d return home from school toBe told that the chicken just wandered off. Was I so gullible? I just accepted the verdict, and life went on. Years later, I realized that mom had probably dropped my chicks off atThe farm near the 3M Company. We had occasionally gone by there to see theAnimals. Had I looked closely, perhaps I would have seen the random orangeFeather peeking out from underneath a majestic coat! And panoramic eggs! Specialty shops still carry them, but you rarelySee a hollowed-out sugar egg with a little scene inside today. They wereEdible, but how could you destroy such a work of art? Ah, the memories of spring and Easter. Those WERE the good old days!

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