Easter Then and Now

Back then, I wore a new dress every Easter. I usually had a new hat too and sometimes a new lightweight matching jacket. We called it a duster. (I was in eighth grade in this photo, out in the backyard by the playhouse our dad built.)

On Easter we celebrate new life, in particular, Christianity’s celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

My mom loved the Easter symbols of new life, eggs: bunnies, and especially new clothes. She was a talented seamstress, and every year at Easter, she made use of her skills by sewing new dresses for my sister and me and also for herself.

That was then. As for now, I’ll just have to look through my closet and find something suitable to wear to Mass and afterwards to brunch. (My sister and I have reservations at Anthony’s Homeport.)

Not being a seamstress like my mom and sister, I haven’t sewed anything in decades. And now it seems to be getting harder to find a dress to buy that I like (and that looks good on me).

My next big challenge is to find something lovely to wear to my granddaughter’s graduation in June. Wish me luck! Although I have two grandsons, C is my only granddaughter, and she’s a very special girl.

I’ll leave you with photos of some of the new life that’s been springing up around here in recent days. We’ve had a cold, rainy winter in the Pacific Northwest , and spring is making a slow, cool entry. Yet, new life won’t be kept down.

Lent may be over, but these Lenten roses in my flowerbed are still going strong.

Daffodils are springtime early birds. I found these on a rainy day walk in the planters around Anthony’s.

Tulips and pansies




Tulips and pansies living in harmony on my deck (or at least I choose to think of it that way).

Skunk cabbage beside the brook. It actually does smell like skunks, although not nearly as strong. In fact, you have to make an effort to catch the scent.

The rhododendron is the state flower of Washington. It’s also the national flower of Nepal. I found this one on the edge of the Edmonds City Park.

Fresh new leaves in the woods

Tender new life emerging from the forest floor

I love these tiny English daisies that spring up in the grass. I found this one in the Edmonds City Park. I suppose it’s considered a weed, but as you can see, it’s not the only one.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone.
















About Nicki Chen

About Nicki Chen Nicki Chen is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Her first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is set in China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, 1937-1945. She's working on a second novel set in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation where she and her late husband lived in the early '90s.
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  1. Happy Easter, Nicki! Love these photos! You were stylin’! Your mom made that? That’s so pretty.
    We also had new clothes for Easter. I was tempted to get something new for church, but decided to keep the old clothes and just have a new attitude. 🙂

    • A good attitude. That oughta work. Since spring is just getting started here, I didn’t see many new dresses in church–except on the little girls. The kids were awfully cute.

  2. Happy Easter, Nicki. Lovely dress and I love the ruffles on the sleeves. I’m sure you turned many a head wearing it 😉 I would not be surprised if your mum had requests to make dresses for the ladies living in your area. It really is very pretty.

    Certainly beautiful flowers springing up and before you know it, summer will be on your doorstep soon 🙂 Avoid the skunk cabbage and don’t step on it 😀

    • My mom may have been one of the best seamstresses among her friends, but in those days most women knew how to sew, so no, I don’t think she got any requests to make dresses for other people.

      I’ll stay away from the skunk cabbage–mainly because I’d have to jump over the creek to get to it.

  3. Lovely post, Nicki – Happy Easter! Here on Vancouver Island, we have had a slow, slow start to Spring, as well. Loved your photos – new life won’t be kept down, that is for sure.

    • Every place you turn at this time of year something new has bloomed. Today after a delicious Easter brunch, my sister and I explored the woods around a salmon hatchery. I wish I knew the names of all the little woodland flowers we saw. Down by the stream (the one the salmon will swim up later in the year to spawn) we saw dozens of clumps of skunk cabbage.

  4. Love the back detail in that dress. My mother always sewed. She was a seamstress for a living but although I can do it, I no longer sew clothes. I still sew window treatments (mostly because I’m too cheap to pay for good looking ones). Love your area. My Lenten roses are done. They heaved themselves out of the ground over the winter and I’ll have to decide what to do with them. If I didn’t live along the east coast, I would live in your area. It’s just beautiful! I have to be within a few hours of water.

    • I’ve never made my own curtains. I’m getting by in this house with blinds. I’m always surprised by how expensive curtains are. When we lived in the Philippines and then in Vanuatu, even though we rented, we had to provide all the curtains. No small task. I always enjoy choosing the fabric, though.

  5. Beautiful dress AND beautiful flowers! My favorite parts of Easter.

    Except for the chocolate bunnies.

  6. I think you missed your calling as a model, Nicki. My poses wearing my Easter dresses never looked as glamorous as you.
    Your photos are beautiful. Wishing you and your sister a blessed Easter. Enjoy the time together.

    • I’m guessing my mom told me to hold my skirt out to show the ruffles. Otherwise I’d just be standing and smiling at the camera.

      My sister and I did enjoy our time together. Thank you, Jill, for your good wishes. I hope you had a good Easter celebration.

  7. Wonderful dress and gorgeous shots of spring.

    Hope you enjoyed Brunch at Anthony’s Homeport with your sister. I forget . . . does she live near you? Or is she visiting?

    • Thanks, Nancy. We had a lovely lunch and a table by the window. She faced the ferries and Mt. Baker. I was facing the marina, the sound and the Olympic Mts. My sister lives about a half hour drive away.

  8. Hope you had a very Happy Easter! Loved the post.
    Here in Beijing it has never felt like Easter at all, but because I had the two young grandsons staying I scoured the town for chocolate eggs, chocolate rabbits, hens etc. They were leaving at crack of dawn on Easter Sunday to return to Bangalore, and we had a farewell lunch for them and friends on the roof terrace of a favourite restaurant in the park of Ritan (Temple of the Sun) so I put a fluffy chick and a small chocolate egg next to every pair of chopsticks, and the boys also had chocolate bunnies, white chocolate ‘chick’ shaped lollipops and new tee shirts!
    Many of our 16 guests were Chinese and didn’t know anything about this most important Christian festival.
    The boys (aged 5 and 2.5) ate dumplings, fried rice, braised spinach with garlic and their chocolate goodies – they said it was the best meal they’d ever had!!!!
    Easter is what you make it be…

    • I’m glad your grandsons thought it was the best meal they’d ever had!!!!

      When we lived in the Philippines, we encountered the exact opposite. Easter and Holy Week, especially Good Friday, are celebrated more seriously there than in the US. On Good Friday, Manila’s seemingly never ending traffic almost came to a stop. (This was in the 1970s and ’80s.) The only traffic was people going to church to do the Stations of the Cross, and for many people, the church was within walking distance. Every year some men drag crosses through the streets and a few brave men have themselves nailed to a cross.

      I’m sure chocolate bunnies are available now, but when we were there, the big treat was a fancy big decorated sugar Easter egg. They’re expensive and not very tasty. I guess they’re more for decoration.

  9. Mam was good at sewing too. I guess in those days it was necessary for survival. I mostly remember getting socks and a paste egg at Easter, and we played ‘jarpies’ to see whose egg was the ‘strongest’ 🙂 🙂 Glad you were able to have a family celebration.

    • When I was in ninth grade, the girls were required to take Home Economics. We spent half of the year learning basic cooking techniques and half the year learning to sew, starting with an apron.

      Old time favorite Easter activities in my family included coloring eggs. Sometimes we made two holes in the egg and blew the egg out. We made scrambled eggs from the egg itself and then colored the shells and hung them on a well chosen branch to make an “egg tree.”

      • I did the self same thing, Nicki, and I’m still a hopeless sewer and very indifferent cook. 🙂 🙂 I loved those old traditions. I have some Polish ‘paste eggs’ on my hearth. Time to put them away for another year. 🙁

  10. I do remember having a new dress for Easter. Every year my mother would either make us a dress and some years even a store bought dress! We certainly must have worn black patent leather shoes because there’s no way we would have been allowed to wear white shoes before Memorial Day. That was a very special picture you shared. Thank you. I do not know if I actually have a picture of my sisters and I in our Easter clothes. We did not always have pictures taken as it was expensive to get them developed!

    • Yes, we used to think a store-bought dress was special. Now it’s the handmade dress that’s special.

      I have only one album containing a handful of photos from each year of my early life. Like you said, it was relatively expensive to have them developed. Now, with our cell phones, we can take dozens of pictures, delete the ones that didn’t turn out good, and download the rest to our computers. The only problem is keeping them organized.

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