Thinking about Spring in the 1950’s makes me realize how very different our society has become in my lifetime. I notice it everyday, but reflecting on Spring brought back some specific memories that are undeniably in stark contrast to this new Millennium.
For example, the Spring Outfit. When I was a kid, there were 4 distinct Seasons, and the clothes you wore belonged to them. In the photo above, I am dressed up for Sunday Mass in a Spring Outfit. Each year I got a Spring coat, hat, gloves, dresses, shoes, and maybe a little patent leather pocketbook. These items were specifically used only during March, April, and May. Once Summer came, they were put away in the closet. By next Spring, my Mom would probably pass them on to a younger cousin, since they most likely did not fit anymore. There were clothing RULES. (I am not sure if there were Fashion Police then, but the RULES were adhered to, or else!)
There were Spring games, too. Finally we could play Hopscotch in the driveway with our newly acquired chalk, and make mud pies. I had these little aluminum cake pans, teapots, and plastic dishes for my dolls; my friends and I would take them outside and create meals with mud. Ah, the beginnings of my love of baking!
Bikes were big in Springtime. I got my first bike for Easter from the Easter Bunny. Unfortunately, the Bunny didn’t get the size right. It was too big, and I started to cry because the Bunny had gone, and I was stuck with a bicycle I couldn’t ride. Since my parents were not very good at improvisation, they broke down and told me the TRUTH about the Easter Bunny, so they could return the bike and get the correct size. I miss the Easter Bunny.
There seemed to be an order to daily life. Things had rituals and reasons. “To everything there is a Season”. I believe there was, and is, a great deal of comfort in ritual. We seem to have very little of it left these days. For expediency and convenience we have traded our long-held conventions. The rites of Spring barely exist anymore. It doesn’t matter to the current crop of young people what they wear or when they wear it. No one waits for anything now. Immediate gratification is the order of the day, so Seasons have little say in most matters.
I guess Gardeners still have to pay attention to Seasons. I look forward to receiving the beautiful seed and plant catalogs that arrive this time of year; while it is still cold outside, you can peruse the abundance of flowering plants on the catalog’s pages, and dream of warmer and brighter days. Planting flowers is such an optimistic labor. There is an old poem that I love, which says:
“Who plants a seed beneath the Sod, and waits to see, believes in God”.
That element of waiting to see is the piece that I love. It shows the ability to delay gratification and anticipate. There is not a lot of anticipation these days. I miss that.