By Karen J. Moon
When Easter time comes around, my mind always seems to stray to the traditions or activities we, as a family, found important. Many of us remember the excitement of the celebration of Easter, the special church service and music, and the anticipation of the traditional Easter egg hunt.
When I was growing up, in the 1950s, we usually attended an egg hunt at our church or some family gathering. I remember the excitement of finding the most eggs or finding that special egg that entitled us to a special prize.
My mother’s family grew up in the Riverside area and they always had a wonderful egg hunt in their park or we participated in the generous egg hunt with many fun games at Krull Park in Olcott.
But the tradition I remember the most and the one that puts a smile on my face each year is how my mother always spent weeks, perhaps a few months, getting ready for Easter.
Every year, between Christmas and Easter, our mom made new Easter outfits for my sister and me. They had to be just right in her eyes, and many times she made them to match or coordinate with her own new Easter fashions, which she also sewed.
Mother was a beautiful and talented seamstress. Patterns cost about 15 or 20 cents in those days and that was a lot of money for her; however, making clothes was a lot cheaper than buying them.
The outfits our mother made weren’t quite enough, however. My sister and I would have a special outing with her: We would go to Lockport and look for matching accessories to complete our ensembles – new Easter hats, gloves, purses and shoes. Best of all, the outing included another big treat – eating at a restaurant. Dining out was very rare and a special event, even though Mother gave us strict orders before going into the restaurant, “Only order one hot dog and milk.”
My mother had leukemia and wasn’t always healthy enough to take my sister and me to do the annual shopping. So my aunt, my mother’s sister, would have the privilege of taking us girls shopping. She didn’t have any children of her own and for some reason, she always seemed to enjoy taking us. And our day with her would end with another special treat – ice cream.
After lunch we would visit several stores in Lockport – Williams Brothers Co., the W.T. Grant Co. and Kresge’s 5 and 10 cent store. Williams Brothers Co. was a little pricey for my mother but she was perusing the store for “style.” You can imagine how difficult it was buying all those accessories for both of us girls and for Mother, too. We didn’t always have much patience for trying on hats, so I doubt we were always the most cooperative little girls.
It was exciting buying all those new items. Unlike today, though, we wore those same clothes every Sunday during the spring to church or to any place that required our “good clothes” – to birthday parties, weddings or baptisms. Mother certainly got her money’s worth from this outing.
Our mother passed away in 1978. Our aunt was with us until 2010. We were fortunate to have my aunt with us for many more years because each year we would talk and laugh about those Easter memories, our shopping sprees. She helped us keep those Easter memories and our mother’s memory alive.
Karen J. Moon, of Orchard Park, will never forget her family's shopping expeditions to Lockport.