Now, In Our Day: Part 7

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come
and the voice of the turtle (dove)
is heard throughout the land.

The great Shakespeare’s poetry could not surpass the Bible’s Song of Solomon. I cannot have too much poetry in my life.
Flirtatious Lady Spring beckons me away from my to-do list. “Come out!” she whispers seductively. “Come out to birdsong, the color and scent of flowers, and the sunrise’s palette. Come out and warm your face in the sun.” Yeah, right! There was snow in downtown Indy Thursday night, and it’s in the thirties this morning. They’re predicting 75 degrees for Sunday. That’s spring in Indiana!
The special days that segment our lives come in Technicolor: Christmas is red, green, gold and silver; St. Patrick’s day is green; July 4 is red, white and blue; and Halloween is orange and black. When I was a girl Easter was a rainbow palette of pastel dresses, fluffy white coats in which girls shivered, white gloves, and black patent leather shoes. Because my feet were so long, I had to wear ugly Buster Brown Girl Scout shoes until I was twelve when Mother discovered Stouts’ Shoe Store in Indianapolis. Easter meant candy and eggs that I dyed with Mother and later with Vicki.
Oh, oh, oh! The dawn has turned from deep rose to palest pink to cream. . . Birds have a built-in detector that causes them to follow the changing of the sun’s trajectory and migrate for thousands of miles. I, too, feel a restless loosening within me and a lightening of my spirit.
During Mother’s Easter feast, my siblings always repeated the story of the big chocolate rabbit that someone gave me during the Depression. Starved for candy, they thought, “Surely she’ll give us a taste!” Instead, I named it “Bun” and dragged it around by its ribbon until it became battered and grubby. I saw a cartoon in which a chocolate rabbit that’s minus its tail says to another, “My butt hurts!” “What?” says the other one whose ears are gone,
Easter signaled that it was time to stow away our sleds and winter clothes. As if driven by instinct and without consulting each other, Wanda and I would put on our steel, sidewalk roller skates that clamped onto our shoes and tightened them with a skate key worn on a string around our necks. They had leather straps that we supplemented with strips of cloth to try to prevent them from coming off and causing us to take dreadful falls. The sound of spring that I most remember was the whir and clash-clash-clatter of our skates.
One of the Sterns girls — Betty? Virginia? — showed me how to turn somersaults on the trapeze in the schoolyard. I got scolded during first grade for hanging upside down and exposing my underpants while bystanders chanted, “We see London, we see France. We see Rose Mary’s underpants!” That ended my plan to become a trapeze performer with the circus. (In our time, we wore dresses to school, and all teachers wore suits. What a difference from today!)
Linda Forst Linke, a memory buddy, wrote, I remember falling off the trapeze at school. Knocked the breath out of me — thought I was dying. I fell out of a cherry tree in Susie Scudder’s front yard — knocked the breath out of me — thought I was dying. Susie had to climb down. She thought I was dead and ran into her house, screaming that I was dead. Big commotion — by that time I had begun to breathe again. Didn’t stop me from climbing trees, however — either a strong sense of adventure or slow learner. I prefer the former.
I’m grateful for the childhood that Linda and I shared where we had the freedom to risk banged-up knees, bumps and bruises and learn from experience.