The joy of a purple Easter bonnet

Mar. 23, 2013 @ 05:04 AM

I loved Easter as a little girl.

Beautiful chocolate eggs decorated in foil or tasty flavored jelly beans left little impression with me. 

What I loved the most was the day my grandma would call my mother and make a date to go Easter hat shopping. My sister and I would squeal with excitement over the joy of getting a new Easter outfit — complete with a beautiful hat bedecked with daisies and colorful ribbon streamers that would wave in the wind.

For two weeks, my sister and I would dream about the colorful hats we might see in the shop. We’d talk about the color of the store bought dress we might get to buy, and maybe, if we were good, grandma might splurge on a pair of colorful anklets and black patent leather shoes.

We wouldn’t sleep at all the night before the big day. My father always loved to tease us about our special day. He’d sit at the kitchen table and chide us about spending a whole day to shop for hats when one could assemble a nice one out of a straw hat, plastic eggs and construction paper. His remark always got a giggle from his girls and a hard glance from my mom.

Shopping for Easter clothing and hats was our special day with grandma and my mother. It was our “girl day” filled with lunch at a nice restaurant where waiters would place nice linen napkins on your lap once you were seated. It was a day when sales ladies would pamper little girls with frilly dresses and a little dab of perfume to make them feel special. It was a day that concluded at the hat store, which carried every imaginable color, size and style.

In the days when grandmothers wore mostly drab colors, my grandma loved wearing bright colors. “The brighter the better. They’ll know I’m alive and kicking,” she’d say. Grandma always was true to her words purchasing the most colorful hat in the store. That year, her choice was one with hot pink flowers which reminded me of the peonies in my mother’s garden that blossomed near Memorial Day.

On that particular hat trip, I remember pleading with my mother about a bright purple hat with yellow, pink and lavender-colored pansies. My mother said it was “too bold” of a hat for a young girl eight-years old. She thought I should wear the same style hat as my sister, white with yellow daisies and pink ribbon.  

So I stewed and pouted in the store. I was determined not to leave the hat store without my purple hat.

My mother was so visibly upset with me, grandma had to intervene. Grandma promptly plopped me on the store’s vanity, looked me straight in the eye and demanded to know why I wanted that purple hat. My answer was simple. I didn’t want to wear the same kind of hat like all the rest of the girls going to Sunday Easter Mass. I wanted to be different.

It must have been a good answers because my Easter outfit in 1968 was one to behold. My mom stitched a beautiful lavender dress which was complimented by lavender-colored anklets, white gloves with lace, black patent shoes and my bright purple hat.

When grandma saw me in church Easter morning, she winked and smiled as I beamed with delight.

As I look back on that day in the hat store and think about the bold statement I made to my grandmother, I don’t believe I surprised her.

I think she relished in the fact that her granddaughter preferred life’s kaleidoscope rather than its mundane colors. 


Wanda Moeller is the publisher of The Daily Courier. She can be reached at