Saturday, April 23, 2011


Easter always makes me think of one person. OK, two people. Jesus, of course. But secondly, it makes me think of my Grandma.

Apparently Easter is not such a big deal in America as it is elsewhere in the world. We don’t get a day off from work and Good Friday is definitely not a holiday. Easter in America is mostly characterized by sunrise services, Easter baskets full of chocolate, hunts for plastic eggs loaded with Hershey’s candies, Sunday dinners of ham or lamb, and fancy new Sunday clothes. In the South, Easter marks the start of summer fashion – the day after which it is officially acceptable to wear white. And it is an excuse for mothers everywhere to dress their daughters up in big fluffy dresses with hats and bows and patent leather shoes and, if you’re in the South, white gloves.

After my Grandma retired from the mission field and moved back to the USA, it became an annual Easter tradition for her to sew matching dresses for me and my sister - well as matching as we could be considering I had bone-straight platinum blonde hair and my sister had dark brown ringlets. We were pretty much as opposite as can be, and I think my mom enjoyed knowing that for that one day of the year we looked at least somewhat-related, and for once she didn’t have to field comments from strangers about her beautiful daughter and her “friend.”

The dress-making was a whole process actually – finding a pattern, choosing the right material, and sending it all off to Grandma to magically transform some paper and cloth into beautiful dresses. Then we had fittings and hemmings and accessory-buyings until Easter day finally arrived and we paraded into church all done-up. I remember sitting with my sister on the front row in our white gloves and hats and being so proud of the dress my Grandma had made just for me.

Whenever Easter comes around, I remember my Grandma. I remember her with her little red pincushion trying to get a hem just right and begging me not to squirm so she wouldn’t stick me or bent over her Singer sewing machine putting together all the pieces of material to create something magical. Having been an English teacher and a life-long missionary to Africa herself, I guess it’s pretty obvious how much she influenced my life. When I was a little girl talking about my Grandma who lived in Africa, I never imagined that one day I’d be in Africa talking about my Grandma who lives in America. Funny how things turn out.

Anyways, tomorrow I won’t be wearing a fancy dress, and being as I’m in the southern hemisphere and it’s autumn, I definitely won’t be wearing white, but when I wake up tomorrow and go to church in Africa I know I’ll be thinking of just one person. Grandma.

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