Easter is upon us, and I'm sitting here thinking of Easters of my childhood. Most Easters involved my mother making new Easter dresses for me and my sister. Of course the dresses had to be matching, and made of the same material. Sometimes, mother would change things a bit and coordinate with different colors. Sometimes one dress was light blue, and the other one was pink. I would usually get the pink one because I was younger, and I had "big rosy cheeks". Sometimes the style of the dress would be a little different, but it would definitely be of the same material. If there was any left over lace or ribbon, she would make a big huge matching ribbon for our hair.
"A new dress deserves a new bow!" my mother would exclaim.
I would be lying to you if I told you that I enjoyed wearing these creations of polyester and cotton. I hated it. Not only were the dresses uncomfortable and scratchy, it made the whole Easter and church ritual something I didn't look forward to. I was jealous of the other girls my age who went to church in jeans and casual clothing. I felt like my dresses only brought on unwanted attention, especially on Sundays when we arrived late (which was quite often). It's not everyday you see two chubby sisters enter a church in matching dresses and matching enormous bows on the top their heads. I felt ridiculous and juvenile. The ruffles on my dress made me feel like "George Washington". Or the checkers on my polyester pants made me feel like, "Chubby Checker". I could feel the stares behind the big pink bow piercing into the scalp of my big rosy cheeked, chubby head. I would complain to my mother and tell her that I didn't like the way everyone would look at me at church. My mother's reply would always be:
"Oh Julie, they are only looking at you because you look so pretty."
I didn't believe her.
One day, years later, a stranger came up to my cash register at work. I was newly divorced, working two jobs, and feeling pretty exhausted at the end of a 12 hour work day, when a woman came up to my register. As I was ringing up her purchase, she told me that she still remembered me from church. I looked up at her suddenly to see if I knew her, but I didn't recognize her as someone I remembered. She was at least 10 or 15 years older than me, but I grew up in a fairly small town where everyone looked somewhat familiar.
"Really?" I asked.
"Yes, I sure do remember you. You and your sister always looked so pretty at church. I remember seeing the both of you and your family sitting together every Sunday."
I guess mom was right.
Still, I promised myself I would never have any of my offspring go through such an ordeal. My daughter has no need to worry for unlike my mother I have no talent when it comes to being a seamstress. I did try. I bought a sewing machine and made a futile attempt on a dress for myself. I purposively went into the fabric store and bought the most simplest pattern and style dress I could find. As I entered the store, I was flooded by childhood memories. The aisles of Harts Fabrics, where I would run through the aisles as a child, through what seemed to be hundreds upon hundreds of different colored fabrics. It was a playground of bright colors, patterns, and textures. Books and upon books of different patterns, and the buttons! My favorite part of picking the material of a dress were the buttons. Hundreds of different buttons to select from! I left the fabric store fully inspired and confident that I would create a beautiful dress! Apparently the dress pattern however was not simple enough.
My dress came out crooked. The sewing machine was then put away, and dreams of becoming a seamstress faded into the darkness.
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