A few years ago, I came across a picture from my childhood in California in the early 1960s. I was six years old and had a close friend and playmate. We were the same age, and I enjoyed having a friend who always wanted me around and whose mother was anxious to pick me up for playtime and spending the night. But the fact is, we were nothing alike.
- She was an only child, I was the middle of three girls.
- She was tall and robust, I was short and skinny.
- She had dark hair, mine was light.
- She was a bit spoiled with a tendency to throw tantrums if she did not get her way; I was a bit bashful.
- She had a bedroom all to herself but sometimes slept with her mother; I shared a room with sisters.
But all was well.
I believe our mothers met through a mutual employer and learned they had daughters the same age. I filled a role for her parents – a companion and playmate to their daughter, and they were very kind to treat me like a second daughter when I was with them. On occasion, we ate out when I slept over, something I rarely experienced with my family. Please do not misunderstand. I was not, neither did I feel, disadvantaged. My mother was a wonderful cook, and we shared meals and fellowshipped with our extended family on weekends. Dining out at a restaurant, however, was not part of our routine.
But all was well.
Mama and Daddy saved as much of their paychecks as possible and were frugal in their life and spending. My mother was careful to get the most groceries allotted from each paycheck and always looked for sales. We ate a delicious meal from leftovers the night before, sometimes prepared and presented differently; and sometimes we simply ate leftovers. We were satisfied and content.
And all was well.
On this particular Easter, I remember my friend’s mother explaining the new Easter wardrobe she had purchased for her daughter; and she asked if I could attend church with them that Sunday. I remember my mother doing something different that Easter for our baskets. Instead of individual baskets, she took an old, somewhat worn, laundry basket and made one huge basket for all of us girls – a family basket to share with eggs, candy, and three bunnies. She spray painted the basket then wrapped the entire basket with a large piece of lavender-colored cellophane. It was beautiful.
And all was well.
On Easter morning, Mother laid out my clothes to dress for church.
- The short-sleeved dress was clean and soft, a black and white small-checked print trimmed with a red ribbon at the waist and around the collar – it no longer fit my older sister; my friend’s dress was brand new, baby blue, and shiny.
- My white cancan brought the soft skirt to life somewhat matching the fullness of my friend’s new crisp dress.
- Mother found a white bonnet in an old suitcase; my friend’s bonnet had flowers all around.
- Mother found a white too-big sweater and scrunched up the sleeves to make it match my friend’s new fake fur.
- I wore my black Sunday shoes; my friend had new white ones.
- Mother placed a little change for offering tied up in a white hanky in my small box purse; my friend’s new purse was trimmed in gold with flowers matching her hat.
- I grabbed my new yellow bunny as I headed out the door; my friend had a matching blue bunny.
All was well, and her mother snapped a picture of us.
Look at the smile on my face. All of my old and all of her new – none of this mattered. My mama did all things well.