The Great Easter Suit Tragedy of 1989 (creative nonfiction)

When I was in the sixth grade, my mom bought me an Easter suit from whatever degrading 80s term was used for the children’s plus size clothing section at Sears. In the dressing room, my mom said I was shaped like a spark plug. I had never seen a spark plug, and have still never seen a spark plug, so I have no idea if that was a compliment or not. I ought to look up a Google image of a spark plug when I’m done writing so I know whether to be flattered or devastated when I remember this memory in the future.

The skirt suit was pale yellow. My mom has since said that this is an unflattering color on me. I am albino and my hair is white with yellow tints from the sun. Wearing yellow makes the yellow tints look yellower and my skin, naturally pink, look even pinker. But pale yellow was the only color of Easter suit they had in the chubby girl section, so pale yellow clad spark plug I was the Easter of 1989.

Bad color and all, I loved that suit. It made me feel adult. I think it even had shoulder pads like the glamorous ladies on Dallas and Falcon’s Crest wore. (Everybody remembers Dallas. Nobody remember’s Falcon’s Crest which I’m sure is why it resonates as my favorite).

The suit had a floral blouse that went with, not even attached to the jacket, so adult-like was this suit. The blouse had a floppy floral bow at the collar, also high 80s fashion for the funny ladies who starred in 9 to 5 or Diane on Cheers.

Loved that suit. Just loved that suit.

I was spending Easter with my dad and stepmom that year. On Saturday night we dyed eggs with various PAAS kits, (does PAAS still make the IT kits?). There were the ones where you used vinegar and dipped the eggs in with a wire thing that looked like a brilliantly rearranged coat hanger. There were also the ones where you used plastic stencils and little tiny markers to create floral patterns on the eggs. I liked the stencils best because the product usually came out great, no matter how un-crafty you are, and I was, and am, supremely un-crafty.

One time, doing crafts with the ladies from my mom’s church, we were supposed to glue a doily and a Jesus quote to the back of a glass plate. I fucked it up. Both doily and Jesus quote came out wrinkled and off-center. Supremely un-crafty even when crafting for Jesus, but enough about Jesus, let’s get back to Easter.

We did six metric tons of eggs. I went to bed exhausted from my artistic efforts, looking forward to the hunt the following morning and my dad’s fabulous Easter baskets. My dad was actually a horrible person, but man did he make great Easter baskets! One year I got a new “Club” Barbie center stage in my basket. She was wearing a white “leather” blazer with the sleeves rolled up, like 80s cool cats Don Johnson and the guy who played Tubbs, and she had on a hot pink foofy skirt trimmed in neon green like that Australian chick who did the 80s dance party show on MTV, ending each show with “Wubba wubba wubba…” I believe the Barbie even had a black, mannish hat like Denise on the Cosby Show wore before Bill Cosby decided she got too edgy for the Cosby Show. (Let that sink in for a minute.)

But let’s get back to Easter:

Who gets a whole Barbie in their Easter basket? I did. Fabulous baskets my jerk dad made. And a fabulous hider of eggs too, I might add.

He thought he was so clever. He was like me or, more accurately, I am like him in that both of us hate to get up early. Easter is already an early day, maybe not as early as Christmas with the whole Santa thing, but close. So I think he decided to give himself some extra zzz’s and hide the eggs in the overgrown grass of his backyard the night before. Cleverly.


The dew. No one counted on the Easter dew. Fresh on the meadow of weedy lawn. Fresh as newborn spring. Fresh as the risen Jesus himself. Fresh dew on the decorated eggs made a bleeding dye Jesus day mess. Who would’ve thunk it, as my dad used to say.

Oh the humanity. Easter egg dye all over my pale yellow chubby girl high 80s fashion suit. But what was I to do? Not hunt? Too late to change clothes. The damage was done. Big splotches of purple all over the straight skirt with the first egg I picked up. What was there to do but to go on going for it.

Oh well, me, that sixth grade spark plug was sure to turn into a pubescent pear by seventh grade. The 80s shoulder pads and floppy bows were turning to 90s 90210 style color blocked blazers. A new suit next year would be as much a necessity as Easter Jesus needed his new ascended body. Let the dye bleed. Let the eggs roll.

-M. Ashley

Happy Easter everyone!

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