Relay: No Sonnet for the Easter Bonnet

I’ve outgrown the whole new outfit thing

   I don’t buy Easter outfits anymore. I don’t wear them. It’s not because Montauk doesn’t have an Easter parade — even though we don’t, that’s what church services are for — it’s just that I’ve outgrown the whole new outfit thing. And forget the bonnet. I’ve always hated hats; I don’t have the head for them.
    I remember going shopping with my two daughters and having terrible rows about the outfits they wanted vs. the outfits I wanted them to wear. Usually, they won. But recently, when they looked back at pictures from when they were younger, I got in trouble for letting them wear what they wore back in the days of Easter shopping.
    When I was younger and shopped with my sister and mother for our Easter outfits, I remember having the same type of fights, but ours were in the Salvation Army, rather than Macy’s or Kmart, so my daughters should consider themselves lucky.
    Now, seeing themselves in pictures, they ask how I could have let them wear those outfits. One year, my youngest, Jenna, insisted on wearing a Chanel lookalike skirt suit. She was 4 and had by then learned from her older sister that if you raised your voice and embarrassed your mother in a store, it was a sure bet you’d get what you wanted.
    Mother didn’t want to be reported on and sent off to court for child abuse, even though Mother was the one being abused by two little girls no taller than her mid-thigh.
    So Jenna got a pleated black skirt and a little shocking pink jacket with tiny black patch pockets. I must say, it was good imitation and a stylish look — for a 50-year-old woman. But she was 4!
    That same year, her sister, Heather, who is now a slightly conservative dresser, wore white leggings splashed with large blue and red stars, pink tights, and a pink soccer-type jacket, while sporting chopped bangs that she had cut herself. I can’t blame myself for that!
    I never made them wear hats, though.
    In my day, the Easter bonnet was all the rage. I have long, curly hair that often turns frizzy in salt air. Frizzed-out hair bulging from the brim of a hat from my ears on out does not suit me. I also refused to wear a secondhand hat, which caused even more fighting with my mother because the only hats for sale in the Salvation Army (before thrifting was popular) were old lady hats filled with God only knows what type of parasites.
    Nope, there was no way I was going to get head lice for Easter, and I won that fight.
    On Sunday, the only new thing I will be wearing is a pain patch across my new knee. But hey, if the weather ever warms up, at least I’ll have a kick in my step. The funny thing is, if it’s as cold outside on Sunday as it is today while I write this, with a light dusting of snow on the ground and my thermostat cranked up to 70, I will be wearing a hat, of the wooly sort.


    Janis Hewitt is a senior writer for The Star.