In Your Easter bonnet
With all the frills upon it
You’ll be the grandest lady
In the Easter parade!
It was long ago, but not too far away. I see it all.
With a little hand in a bigger one, we enter Dotty Dunn’s Hat Shop In Minot.
My mother and I meander to the back, passing hundreds of hats majestically throning millinery hooks. It was pre-1950s, the days when hats were essential to a woman’s wardrobe – whether she was 3 feet high or 5-foot 2.
Dotty Dunn’s was a glorious place for a little girl, more splendid than visiting a candy store displaying brightly colored jelly beans in glass bins. More fun than sinking your teeth into a squishy yellow marshmallow bunny.
The finery in Dotty Dunn’s was so fine, it was stunning.
Mirrors covered all the walls. There were bright lights above and hats of every hue – pink, white, lavender, red, yellow, green, blue, black, straw.
There were turned-up brims, turned-down brims, streams of ribbons down the back, clusters of posies on the side.
Each beautiful in its own way.
You could find tiny gloves to match, too, and artificial flowers for your dress.
I’ll be all in clover and when they look your over
I’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter parade.
Each year, hand in hand, we’d go to Dotty Dunn’s, searching for just the right Easter bonnets. One for Mom, one for me.
Mom was an experienced Dotty Dunn hat shopper. She knew right where to go.
When we reached the back of the store, she’d pull open the huge bin where all the hats for little girls were kept.
“There were lots of them in bins,” she used to say when we reminisced. “They were the kinds of hats that wouldn’t crush.”
Settee stations were set up where a little girl could get comfortable as hats were plopped on her head. And there was a hand mirror so she could turn around for a rear view of the hat and how it sat on her ringlets.
Most hats were equipped with tiny elastic bands for under the chin, so spring winds wouldn’t blow the little girl’s hat away.
When she wore her bonnet to church on Easter morning, there were Sunday School papers to hang on to, you know, papers that told of the Resurrection of Jesus.
One year, we found a little white hat and the next year, a navy one. And once we found an American Beauty Rose hat to perfectly match my American Beauty Rose spring coat.
I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet
And of the girl I’m taking to the Easter parade
One year, Mom bought me a tan straw hat with blue velvet ribbons streaming down the back, pink and blue posies on the top and blue velvet trim on the brim.
That’s the hat I have to this day. For a long time I displayed it on a cabinet next to the blue dishes I played with as a child.
I wonder how many little girls and their moms will wear bonnets this Sunday as they go to church to praise the risen Lord?
If any moms bought hats for their tykes, I suggest you keep them always for the create the best of memories.
“Weren’t those wonderful days?” I asked my Mom in 1997 when she was 91-years old. She remembered shopping for hats at Dotty Dunn’s with me even better than I did.
“I wish we could go back to them,” she said at the time.