Monday, April 27, 2009

Mayday, May baskets

I discovered, reading Meesha's blog, that Mayday is quite a big deal in Russia.

I left a comment telling how I remember Mayday, from when I was growing up in Iowa.

My mom sometimes bought tiny plastic May baskets for the occasion. Other times we'd make May baskets from construction paper, in school. We'd put wildflowers and small candies in the baskets and head to the homes of friends. It was a rural area, so Mother had to drive me around the countryside to deliver my baskets. I was to go hang the basket on the doorknob, or if that wasn't possible, leave a basket on the stoop.

Then I was to knock on the door or ring the doorbell (there were not many doorbells on farmhouses in 1949-50) and run for the car like crazy, because my friend was to come to the door, find his (or her) basket, run after me, catch me, and kiss me. I remember the panic I felt when one little boy actually did chase me; I don't recall whether he managed to kiss me.

Had the friend been a girl, it wouldn't have mattered. In those innocent times, there wasn't such a sexual connotation to a kiss as there is now, at least not to grade school children. I had never even heard of "sex". My mother sheltered me from such shocking things, until the school nurse in Kansas City finally hinted at the forbidden subject when we girls had a session with the her, in sixth grade. Even then, I didn't have a clue; all it did was confuse me. But I digress.


I recall a little girl having a birthday party on or about May 1, back in Iowa; one of the activities at that party was making May baskets of construction paper. Then we went outside to pick wildflowers to put in the little baskets.

My family moved to Kansas City in 1966, I believe, and I never heard of Mayday being celebrated after that.

I found some information online about Mayday and May baskets as I remember them, HERE and HERE.

8 comments:

Lisa said...

What wonderful memories of May Baskets and traditions and growing up. Thank you so much for sharing Donna!
Lisa in KY

m.v. said...

Our May Day had a totally different meaning :-)

Hollie said...

great memories!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

When I was in grade school (in the 50's) I remember having brightly colored streamers hanging from a pole out on the play ground and dancing around the May Pole. When my children were in school they celebrated the month of May honoring Mary the mother of Jesus and there were always special things going on at school. They always took in flowers to school and my tulips just happen to be blooming at the time (as they are now) and there went every flower I had.
Happy May Day!
'On Ya'-ma

Midlife Mom said...

I used to LOVE May Day! We would make our baskets out of old wallpaper sample books. Then there were the smart ones that knew how to cut tissue paper ones that were long and very beautiful. I never knew how to do that. :o(

Carlene Noggle said...

I faintly remember the May pole at school...and having a good time!
love ya,
carlene

Lindie said...

I also remember a May pole at school, back in the 50s in Wisconsin

Anne said...

OMgosh I wish young girls didn't know about "sexy" or sex" today. It's just too much. There was an innocence that was prevalent back then. I miss it! Anne