"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: New Clothes for Easter

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Clothes for Easter

As a little girl, I looked forward to Easter because it meant a new dress. We would visit the fabric store, where Mom and I would pore over the immense pattern books -- Butterick, McCall, Vogue -- and roam the aisles, fingering the chintz and calico and gingham, being careful not to send the bolts tumbling. In imitation of my tailor-grandma, I would "stroke, bunch, release" (to check for wrinkling) before unveiling the bolt end to peer at the price per yard. Like Grandma, I was pleased if the fabric I favored was expensive, as it meant I recognized quality. (Grandma had a horror of synthetics, calling them all "plastic." She didn't live long enough to befriend fleece.)

Once home, bits of tissue and fabric and scissors flew as Mom or sister (both excellent seamstresses) fed pastel cotton into the old Singer. Out came a bell skirt, poufy sleeves and a wide sash. I would stand on a chair, pins poking my legs, as they checked the length. The hem was huge -- several inches wide -- allowing for letting down as I grew taller. How I loved wearing that new dress! On Easter morning, we had baskets of plastic grass, Peeps, jellybeans and chocolate, and we searched the house for colored eggs (I always found one in the kitchen ladle hanging above the stove). We went to church and gathered at relatives' houses for ham and potatoes. But the dress was the the thing on Easter.

Then I grew taller. By the time I reached my teens, the annual ritual was a source of agony. I was deeply skeptical about my looks, had no fashion sense, and was less than deft with a needle. One year I found myself drowning in lilac silk with a wide cream-collared sailor collar. In the pattern book, on an emaciated model, it had looked fresh, jaunty. I resembled a dessert item.

Changing tacks the next year, I tried a simple "renaissance" pattern from Vogue, in a subtle paisley cotton with a drawstring neck, I felt rather modestly lovely and was pleased with my accomplishment. That didn't last long. After dinner in the kitchen, I was groped by a (married) OALC perv. As I batted away his hands in horror, he hissed "it's your fault for dressing that way."

When I left the OALC, Thoreau's maxim to "beware all occasions requiring new clothes" seemed morally superior. I adopted a utilitarian outlook regarding clothing, with occasional outbursts of experimentation (e.g., snakeskin boots). But as my husband once told me, "In the history of humanity, not all people have worn clothing, but all have practiced adornment."

It may be so, but I find myself wishing for the simplicity of, well, a uniform. Even jeans and t-shirts involve too many decisions.

Last week, our five-year old got giddy over a poufy Easter dress at Costco. I bought it for her. After all, new clothes are symbolic of new life. Easter, if it is about anything, is about new life, and she's far too young for Thoreau.

Go here for a history of Easter from the History Channel.


  1. Re: Scales of Belief
    Tipping Points

    Your negative kitchen experience
    got me thinking about tipping
    points. I am sure it added some
    weight to the disbelief side of
    your scale.

    My experience was a steady adding
    to the disbelief side until a
    a final event tipped the scales

    The final weight was a sermon in
    which the preacher said if we
    had any doubts that sin was
    forgiven. When asked about it
    afterwards he said he would for-
    give such a sin if I requested

    It struck me as the height of

    Bingo! The scale tipped permanent

    The event was much like the TV
    commercial I previously mention-
    ed hurling the axe and smashing
    the screen of brain-washed

    Others I have talked to about
    their change tell a more pain-ful
    drawn out experience ,back and
    forth ,shifting weights, which
    took years to complete.

    It would be interesting to hear
    other's journeys and trigger
    points of disbelief if any. =

  2. Dear Troll,
    My experience has taken years, as I've mentioned earlier, and I went through a very long Dark Night of the Soul. However, one comment had great impact early on. Like you, it was my tipping point. I remember being told that no one in The World could love me like the Christians do. I was a teenager at that time and did not find the Christians very loving toward me. My several "worldly" friends were much more caring and compassionate. Bingo! My perception shifted and continued in that direction for years.
    Troll, your identity intrigues me, and I like your thoughts and comments.

    Dear Free,
    I have enjoyed reading daily postings, but due to personal problems and family events, I have not had the energy to write. I'm back now!
    Thank you for keeping this site going. It has been, and will continue to be, my connection and community.
    Bless you.

  3. Yes, thanks all of you for writing. I have recently decided to leave the apostolic/laestadian community behind. However, I am and always will be intimately connected to it. I love hearing all of your stories. I can related to so much of it.
    Gods bless all of you

  4. The beginnings of disbelief for me starting at confirmation. Listening to the preachers, with no formal training, say the following:

    Why the men don't wear ties-because a farmer was wearing a tie while driving a tractor. He was a
    Christian, but he did not wish to give up his tie. He got stuck somehow and almost got strangled to death. The farmer realized that he did not need the tie. He was being vain for wearing one.

    My question-Why would he wear a tie farming?

    Another one-Jesus said to "Love thy neighbor, but don't hang out with Catholic children because they gamble in their church.

    My question-Does it say that in the bible?

    I left at 18 years of age-as soon as I could.

    God's Peace.