There’s only one reason I loved Easter as a kid—it meant getting a new dress. I was a girly girl. I liked my dresses to be twirl-worthy—the frillier the better. Going Easter dress shopping with my mother was a thrilling experience. Unlike back-to-school shopping, where practicality and uniform requirements dominated, Easter dress shopping was all about the frivolous and the beautiful.
I would enter the shop full of anticipation. The store was modest in size, but teeming with lace and frill and flower-patterned fabric. Dresses, each individually wrapped in plastic hung tightly packed onto floor racks. Even more dresses—the fanciers ones, I suspect—were mounted on the walls, their layers of tulle lavishly pressed together like flower petals. There was barely any room for people in the store, as the space was completely overrun with clothes.
Inevitably I would pick a dress in a pretty shade of pastel pink, blue, or lavender. Some years I chose a flower pattern, others I opted for smocking. But every year my ultimate goal was the same: to find the fullest skirt, capable of the most impressive lift upon twirling.
Come Easter Sunday, I felt like royalty. I would be wearing my new dress for the first time, having kept it safe until its debut under its plastic skin from the store. If my feet had grown recently, my new dress would be paired with brand-new patent leather shoes, rubbed with just a dab of baby oil to make them even more shiny. I’d carry a matching patent leather purse, empty except for some change to put in the church offering, one of my dad’s handkerchiefs, and a tube of strawberry-scented ChapStick. My hair would be adorned with ribbons and barrettes to match my dress. Also on my head would be one of the hats my grandmother in Grenada had crocheted for me—a hat my father would spend hours starching in the backyard.
My only Easter Sunday discomfort was wearing stockings. I hated them. They made my legs itch, and they were so difficult to get on. And once on, they never fit quite right, but always sort of hung between my legs like the webbing on the feet of a frog. They were almost as uncomfortable as the long church service I’d have to sit through. But I was happy to endure both for the pleasure of getting dressed up like a princess, twirling in my ample skirt, and feeling my most beautiful.