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Cotton Dresses and Arctic Weather

The dress you got had no sleeves and was made of cotton.

Child's red shoesMy memories of Easter in the 1950s and early 1960s seem to focus on new clothes and outings.  The new clothes always came first and there was always a degree of forward planning.  Mum usually took me on the green bus from The Winning, Wallsend to Croft Street, Newcastle and we would go to Marks & Spencer, which carried a good range of smart summer dresses for the fashion conscious eight year old.  The problem was making the choice.  With shoes it was a bit easier because you always got T bar sandals, a classic design that were really comfortable and kept you going right through the summer, whatever you were doing.

My favourite pair were red, and I remember them being stored in the walk-in cupboard in the kitchen, where the tin bath was kept.  There was absolutely no possibility of wearing them before Easter Sunday, so I used to disappear into this cupboard for hours at a time, putting the new sandals on and just looking at them on my feet.  Things haven’t changed really, I’m still a sucker for a new pair of shoes.

Of course, the dress you got had no sleeves and was made of cotton, a fact which guaranteed most years that it couldn’t be worn on Easter Day because the weather would be arctic.  I can remember huge debates with my mother about whether it was warm enough to wear the dress to church or dry enough to wear the sandals.

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