Childhood Easter Accoutrements and Other Stuff

Easter has come and gone but not without my recalling memories from childhood of my family dressing up for church on Easter Sunday. It was no small feat with a family of eight children – 4 boys and 4 girls. I was nestled smack dab in the middle of the 4 boys – so my parents had 2 girls, 2 boys, then me, then 2 boys, then the youngest was a girl. It’s an ordeal just describing the number of kids, gender birth order, etc. well, just imagine the ordeal of getting us all ready for Easter Sunday Church Service. Of course, we were never on time, and so that was also a huge ordeal – the ten of us blowing in the doors with the Service in full session, cramming ourselves into already crowded pews. We were never on time to church, period, per my recollection, save the one Sunday morning that both my dad and my older sister, Steph, unbeknownst to each other, set the kitchen clock forward 10 minutes. That Sunday we arrived to service right on the button, and it seemed a miracle (who says miracles don’t happen in church?).

So this past Sunday I was amused to find our paper delivery man had slept in – like, by four hours to my calculation, since our Sunday paper didn’t arrive till 11 AM. I guess that’s what triggered my childhood memories of Easter. Lateness. Anyway, I emailed my sister Steph, wishing her a Happy Easter, and reminisced about our large family trying to pull off church with the girls in their stiff white hats with the brims piled high with pink and yellow silk flowers, white gloves, and the weather was usually terrible – so our hats would blow off our heads and halfway across the lawn as soon as we stepped out the front door. Steph replied back, “Mom always took so seriously getting us our accoutrements for Easter. I remember how much I loved that little ‘muff’ – that fluffy white contraption you could tuck your hands into to keep warm.”

The muff!

I remember that ‘muff’. It was a white tube, maybe 12″ long, 7″ wide, made of fake rabbit fur. Lined with satin. You stick your hands into each end where they can nestle in and keep warm. I wore it on Easter one year and it must have been a hand-me-down from Susie and Steph – because I can’t imagine (1) mom buying two muffs and (2) any girl wearing a muff more than once. You shove your hands into the muff which renders your hands completely useless – you’re now a double-hand amputee – I can’t imagine even wearing the muff in the car, are you kidding? While sitting next to your brothers? You need your hands to defend yourself. What, do you bop your brothers over the head with the muff when they start picking on you? Then they grab the muff and play keep-away, tossing it over your head in the back seat, you madly groping the air trying to get it back. I must have worn it on my forearm, actually – what a pain-in-the butt accoutrement. Yeah, you don your hat and muff and walk out the front door – your hat blows off – so what do you do with the muff when you shed it to chase after your hat, whilst trying to keep from getting your patent leather shoes all muddied too?

Even ‘Barbie’ had a muff as a fashion accessory. I Googled it just in case your’re skeptical – here is the link -(Hey, maybe I’d like to buy a muff for Barbie, you know, if I still had one …) My Barbies from childhood had zits, boobs punctured with needles, bitten off toes, singed hair, and were usually found naked, compliments of my brothers. If any of my Barbies had a muff it was probably last seen wrapped around one of the kitchen knives. Or maybe affixed over the end of the dog’s tail. One of my friend’s Barbie’s had a muff, for sure. I distinctly remember it. Except I don’t know how you would play with a Barbie wearing a muff. You shove the muff up on her forearm, bind her hands together, then slide it back over her bound hands. Then you jump her up and down in her stilletos, stiff-legged since her legs don’t bend. What else would you do with her? Move her around so her pony tail flies up and down. You certainly wouldn’t put her behind the wheel of her new Ferrari.

Well, since anyone under the age of 55 will not likely associate the word “muff” with a female fashion accoutrement that hails from the early sixties (specifically worn at Easter) and the Victorian era of history – I will clarify the term using the dictionary – which gives you four definitions: (1) (noun)- “A warm tubular covering for the hands” (2) (noun)- (Sports) “Dropping the ball” (3) (verb) – “fail to catch, as of a ball” (4) (verb) – “make a mess of, destroy, or ruin”.

Well, then if you Google ‘muff’ you will find a fifth definition that arose from “That 70’s Show” – Apparently, ‘muff’ has became slang for ‘vagina.’ That figures. And I suppose anyone reading this who is under the age of 50 (and every male over the age of 10?) already knows this.

“Muff.” Well, it does have a colorful history. For me, anyway.

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2 Responses to “Childhood Easter Accoutrements and Other Stuff”

  1. iowachick Says:

    I remember Margaret and I had muffs. We liked them. Of course all of our brothers were younger so did not have boys antics to deal with. We felt very smart with our muffs. Paullene

    • Jody Caraher Says:

      Huh! That’s interesting. My sisters and I probably felt smart in them too. And there ‘s been plenty a cold winter’s day when slipping my hands into a muff would have felt pretty good. I bet my brothers got their hands inside that muff plenty of times. It was a different era. I dunno – you suppose with the re-entry of stiletto’s these days we might see muffs rebound as well? Nah.

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