It is hard to remember my life before Pentecost. There are specific things I remember well, like when I broke my nose playing jump rope, the D my third grade teacher gave me for cursive writing, and the merciless teasing we submitted my fourth grade teacher to on a daily basis. One day we were a family living one life and the next day we were Pentecostal. Our life was so much better. My dad was nicer, we went to church, a lot; but it was all right, because I had new friends. My mom and dad allowed me to spend Sunday afternoons at my new friend’s homes. I was not allowed to spend time at my old friend’s houses, because my mom was afraid something bad would happen. Life before Pentecost ceased to exist in my mind.
We started attending a Pentecostal church twenty miles from our home the year I was in sixth grade. Sixth grade was a hard year for me at school. My friends didn’t understand the whole Pentecostal thing and I didn’t know how to explain it to them. One day I wore pants and shorts to school and the next day, and every day from then on, I wore a skirt or a dress. A few weeks before Pentecost my great-grandmother bought me a pair of pink pants with Holly Hobbie on the lower right flared pant leg. Those were the best pants. I adored them and wore them every day they were clean. After Pentecost, my mom told me I could no longer wear the Holly Hobbie pants. I cried. I moped. I didn’t scream at my mom though, because I would have been spanked. On that day, I hated Pentecost.
A few weeks after my mom told me I couldn’t wear the Holly Hobbie pants, she called me into the dining room. The dining room was a dining room every day during mealtime. The rest of the time, it was the sewing room. It wasn’t a real dining room, but an extension of the kitchen. One wall had a big window that let in lots of sunlight. The bright sunlight was the reason my mom set her sewing machine up at the table. My mom was a good seamstress. She made all our outside clothes. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school I had a store-bought dress.
Anyhow, my mom called me into the dining room. I figured she needed to measure me, or make me try on something. I didn’t much like trying on the things she was sewing, because the needles sometimes stuck me. You cannot imagine my surprise when she showed me my new skirt. It was bright pink with Holly Hobbie on the right front side. My mom had worked and worked taking those pants apart, detaching the waistband and re-creating pants into a skirt. I was speechless. I hugged the skirt right up to me, rubbing my face on the fabric. My smile almost swallowed my face. I should have hugged my mom. I didn’t though. Like most children, I was a bit self-centered and selfish. I couldn’t wait for school the next day so I could wear my Holly Hobbie skirt. That day, I loved Pentecost.
The next morning I excitedly awoke to get ready for school. My clothes were all laid out and ready to wear. My outfit consisted of white top and pink Holly Hobbie skirt. I couldn’t wait to get to school to show my friends. As I watched for the school bus, I often rubbed my hand over Holly Hobbie. She was so pretty on my skirt. I could not stop smiling. I waited for eons before I saw the school bus coming down the highway. I grabbed my books, kissed my mom good-bye and skipped out to the road. The ride to school was short. I was one of the last few students picked up and one of the first off the bus when we arrived. Eagerly I walked, with fast choppy steps to my classroom. I wanted to run, but we had a ‘no running’ allowed rule. As normal, all the kids gathered outside the classroom door waiting for it to open.
I immediately flounced over to the area where my friends were also waiting, making my skirt swish around my knees. Standing on the sidewalk, books hugged to my chest, I constantly twisted my lower body in small half-circles, my skirt swinging around and around. It was only a few minutes before Darla noticed the Holly Hobbie on the skirt. As she looked at it, impossibly my smile grew larger. She said, “Hey, Vicky’s mom turned her pants into a skirt!” Her voice was full of disbelief. My smile faded as I realized she was not as excited about the transformation as I was. Several other girls came over to look at my skirt, fingering it, rubbing their hands over Holly Hobbie and making comments about how it was a skirt and not Holly Hobbie pants. I was crushed. I hated Pentecost.
After school I went home, it was Wednesday and church night. The rules were strict at our house. When I got home from school, I had to do my homework while sitting at the dining room table. On non-church days, I had a snack before starting my homework, but on church days, there wasn’t time. While I sat at the table reading, writing, and whining over math, my mom cooked supper. Most days, the family ate supper together, but on church nights mom fed the kids first and fixed my dad a plate so he could eat when he got home.
It was twenty miles to church and my dad didn’t get home from work until after 5:00. We had to be ready to walk out the door as soon as he ate supper, showered and dressed. Unless I had gotten dirty at school, on Wednesdays I wore my school clothes to the mid-week service. My excitement at wearing the Holly Hobbie skirt had faded. It had become a joke at school and I was reluctant to wear it to church. There was no way I could say that to my mom though, because she had worked hard to fix it for me. I would have been in trouble if I complained about it and she might not have made me anything else.
The ride to church was usually quiet; I normally read a book during the drive to pass the time. If I wasn’t talking, I wasn’t getting in trouble. Once we arrived at church, I reluctantly dragged my feet all the way to my seat. I wasn’t swishing my skirt; I wasn’t hopping up and down eagerly waiting on my friends to notice my skirt. I was trying to blend into the background. Imagine my surprise when my friends noticed my skirt and started squealing about how cute it was and they wanted one. I started smiling and smiling, my heart swelling up with pride. I had the only Holly Hobbie skirt in the world and the other girls wanted one just like it. I loved Pentecost.