Buy Me Flowers
Lest you think that my fashion-plateness (platedom, platability?) is a recent avocation, let me present to you little Nancy – Easter Sunday, 1958:
Not only do I have a stylish pink dress with matching coat, I have a new Easter bonnet, white gloves, patent leather shoes with matching purse, and a corsage. (And Daddy’s face.)
My hair is naturally fine and poker-straight. I’m sure my mother must have set it in rows of pin-curls, with beer for setting lotion. And she obviously had enough bobby-pins left over for her Mamie Eisenhower do.
How I loved that coat. We called it a “topper” back then. it was a plush material – sort of like the foam rubber inside your sofa cushions. Both my sisters wore it before I did. I thought the single big pearl button was an elegant touch.
That little black purse held my prayer-book, which was especially prayerful because it had a red ribbon to mark the page. I also carried a handkerchief with lace edges – imagine blowing your nose with lace! – and a dime for the collection plate. I was already counting the days until I could have a lipstick in there.
I particularly call your attention to the corsage. You may think seven is a little young for a corsage. In my family, my mother got a big corsage for Easter, and all three of us little girls found a tiny corsage right near our Easter basket on Sunday morning. I don’t think I have any baby pictures of me in a corsage, but I probably had one, held on with a diaper pin.
I don’t know where my mother bought these little children’s corsages. I wonder now if they were expensive. We didn’t have a lot of excess cash lying around when I was a kid. But I guess Easter corsages were a necessity.
The tradition certainly carried on.
This is about nine years later.
I am on the left – which is really about the center of the photo. My mother is a genius is a thousand ways, but centering a photograph is not one of them.
We were still wearing hats to church in 1967 – but probably for the last time. White hats were apparently the IN thing that year, especially those hats that made it look like you had really big hair. My sisters are also still wearing gloves, but at sixteen I was quite the rebel. (but they were in my purse). And yes, that is a mock turtleneck under my double-breasted suit. I was supposed to have Jesus in my heart, but my heart really belonged to Carnaby Street.
And do you see? We still have corsages to wear to church. Our Easter baskets had been replaced by a box of chocolates (except for my little brother – he was still receiving a basket). And on top of each chocolate box was a corsage. Sometimes I liked my sister’s better than mine, and if I got up really early in the morning, I could check them out and make a switch.
And through the years, my fashion-platidutiness drew me further away from white gloves. Then the hat went – which was a good thing, since I have the head the size of a cantaloupe. Where most of my girlfriends had boobs like ripe melons, a cantaloupe-sized head is unfortunate.
Eventually I also abandoned suits, but not before my shoulder pads were much bigger than my head. And of course, the pantyhose – although truthfully I still like the imperfection-smoothing look of nice sheer pantyhose. (Thank you, Princess Kate.)
I told my husband that I didn’t want chocolate for Easter this year. (But I’d secretly be happy if he bought me just a few dark chocolate truffles.) I told him to buy me flowers.
I am hoping he knows that I want a bouquet for the table and not a corsage.
Because today, if I saw a corsage, I would certainly think:
- Are there any bugs in there?
- Do I have to put a pinhole in my expensive blouse?
- Will this leave a stain?
- Where is my allergy medication?
So much for sweet memories.