When Mother Dear was growing up on top of Council Crest one of her neighbors was Bill Berry, a confirmed bachelor. He worked at The Clothes Horse in downtown Portland. One day he confessed to Mother Dear that he would always wake up early on Sunday morning (after a lively Saturday night) to see what The Bolger's were wearing to church. Especially on Easter, which was never a disappointment. Though these photos are from December of 1959 and seasonally inappropriate, you can see why a fashion forward gentleman might rise early to catch the ensembles of the Irish Catholic clothier family across the street. While Mother Dear and I were looking at these photos today I said, "you're wearing wool." She pointed out, "that dress was silk."
I do love the vast potential of the internet. While searching to see if google might know the correct spelling of Bill Berry, I was delighted to find Sentiment: A Memoir by Cheryl Krkoc which recounts her life being raised by immigrant parents. There was a passage about her father's many connections in every town. Her parents frequented The Clothes Horse and made friend's with Bill. They would go for steaks and drinks at The RingSide where Cheryl and her sister would sometimes be invited and Bill would choose drinks he thought fit their personalies. She remembers him once wearing a full length fur coat. He was certainly a dedicated follower of fashion.
At my Grandmother’s funeral Bill Berry arrived with an entourage of no less than five. As MD was shuffling people out of the church, Bill came up to her with his sympathies and apologized for taking up her time. He just wanted to see what she was wearing to the funeral.
With a twirl her voluminous purple wool cape it billowed out, revealing her Mother's purple and pink marbled glass rhinestone pendant center stage as she said, "I hope I didn't disappoint."
“No, that’s exactly what I envisioned you would be wearing."
Though we stopped going to mass when I was three years old, Easter was still a time to get dressed up and go visit relatives for dinner in the afternoon. Evidently, it has always been so as this photo of Mother Dear and Uncle Bill visiting California cousins at Easter in 1949 proves.
The other side of the family was not to be neglected.
Here Uncle Bill and Mother Dear are seen with cousins including JoAnn and Sharon who we have recently rediscovered after they followed my Facebook Fan Page. We've been sharing photos of family members back and forth, many of which have never been seen before by the recipients.
This photo of Uncle Arthur, Aunt Helen and their sons is also from Easter 1949. I find it's a lovely example of spring fashions for men, women and boys for that year. I revel in dated photos as we often don't know exactly when the vintage we find is from. I have found that training with dated snapshots, magazines and movies you can really hone the skill that answers the question, "How old is this?"
Our Easter table was always decorated with paper maché rabbits and panoramic sugar eggs that I would stare into and make up stories about. I shared a paper maché bunny with the neighborhood in my Easter hat window with some decorative egg picks to which I added tiny round brooches. What Easter traditions does your family observe?