March weather in many parts of the world is temperamental, alternating between tempestuous and tranquil, hence the saying, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb!
A. E. Housman alludes to ambivalent March weather in his poem, Loveliest of trees, the cherry now, part of the collection, A Shropshire Lad, where he also reflects on the brevity of life and resolves to live the rest of his life with intensity.
If your’ve worn lipstick, even in mid-century, you may be familiar with Revlon’s famous Cherries in the Snow shade, continuously produced since 1944, when wearing lipstick was verboten for many Mennonite girls and women.
My craving for red lipstick — crimson, scarlet — even cherry, colored one of my memoir chapters in Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl
Before I went back across the street to Grandma’s, I would have to use Kleenex tissue to rub off the evidence of my experiments with Sis Groff’s lipstick, hoping my scarlet lip stain would disappear. Once Grandma discovered a tube of lipstick labeled “Cherries in the Snow” that my sister Janice had brought back from Sis’s house and made her throw it down the hole of the outhouse in the backyard. That didn’t stop us, though. My sisters and I continued our craze for color, from a tube or even from God’s great creation. Out back by the rose bushes at our home, we pinched off bright, velvety petals, and pasted the curvy blobs of crimson or garnet to our lips, moistened to stick with spit. Banned from the world of bright lipstick and matching nail polish, we improvised with natural bloom. We acted silly, pursing our lips and tilting our heads as we watched our girlish faces reflect clownish gestures from the garage window. Naturally, it was just pretend. I couldn’t imagine then ever looking fancy for real.
How has weather in the month of March begun in your part of the world?
Did you ever crave a cosmetic color that has been discontinued?
I love that poem by Housman: it reminds me of the gorgeous cherry tree we had outside our bedroom window in our old house and I wonder if it has started flowering yet. It was often the first thing I saw when I woke up and never failed to put a smile on my face.
We’ve had a lot of rain lately and many parts of the country have flooded. I think we are all ready for warmer and drier weather now. Having said that, the daffodils and crocuses have been out in full bloom for a couple of weeks! Spring is certainly here!
It takes just a photo to spark a memory. I like that the cherry tree sparked yours.
Enjoy the crocuses and daffodils, sure signs of spring. Thank you, Fatima!
Good morning, Marian! I believe last year we had a mild February, and then March roared in with cold and snow. This year our entire winter has been mostly mild, and March hasn’t roared too much, except for the storm we had last night. No fruit tree blossoms yet, but it would be very very early for that here.
I’ve never paid attention to particular cosmetic colors, so I’ve never noticed a discontinuation. 😉
I appreciate that you open my post every Wednesday morning and brighten my day with an early comment.
Two of our Pennsylvania friends are visiting Florida now. Yesterday we went to the beach, and today my sister is taking them to St. Augustine. Thursday is to be rainy and cold, so we’ll enjoy the here-comes-the-sun days. March is usually temperamental, so I guess we should expect wild swings. Thanks always, Merril!
Thank you, Marian! Enjoy your friends–I’m sure you’re having sunny times with them whatever the weather!
Whether it’s cosmetics or another product, it seems like whenever you find something you like it eventually gets discontinued. I’ve learned to stock up, but of course there’s always eBay. I love Cliff’s drawing! We’ve been wet to start March, but at least it’s not snow.
My problem too. Years ago I found a lightweight hooded cardigan of lambswool and mohair. I’ve worn it until the elbows are showing through, but can’t find a replacement at Lands’ End or anywhere else. Obviously, I didn’t buy two!
Cliff’s drawing separates chapters in my memoir, so it’s doing double duty here. I’ll pass on the compliment. 😀
May your NC showers bring forth lovely flowers, Jill!
Sadly, it’s more down pours than showers. 🙁
I wore Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow nail polish on my toes for years! It was *my* color, until I got tired of it. But oh the memories of have of its bright red energy.
Red is the color of energy, you remind me. I need an infusion just now.
Maybe I haven’t thought of cherries in the Snow for my toenails. See, you spurred me on to check. . . . Thanks, Ally!
The weather over the last week in Ottawa has been “tempestuous and tranquil.” A week ago many of us were working from home so as to avoid commuting in a major snowstorm, on the weekend I was on my front porch in sun and above-zero temperatures, and yesterday it teemed down rain. We never know what’s next!
I’ve never had the patience for lipstick – of any colour. Nail polish I can handle because it doesn’t rub off pretty much the minute you put it on!
When I was younger I always wore muted tones of nail polish. But then a close friend of mine got cancer. She said, “Life is too short not to wear red nail polish!” She bought me a bottle of “Ruby Slippers” red nail polish, and it’s my new favourite. That’s also the working title of my book. 🙂
Love your title and the pictures of cherries in the snow. I’m so longing for spring, but here in Manitoba March is still a lion and rarely a lamb! Our maple tree in the back yard stubbornly kept its leaves all winter, not sure what that means. Defiance of winter’s blast?! I can identify!
Good afternoon, Elfrieda. I’ll bet the maple leaves will drop all at once when the Manitoba weather warms up. Right now leaves on 4 oak trees are falling, falling. In spite of little light green shoots bursting forth, the old, brown ones persist. Defiance?
It’s always great to hear from your neck of the woods!
You’ve revealed so much good stuff in your comment, Arlene. Ruby Slippers sounds like the title of a book I’d love to read. . . and shiny nail polish I’d like to try on.
Tempestuous and tranquil sounds like the lion and the lamb where Ottawa weather is concerned. Thanks for tuning in again today!
Lovely poem and post thanks Marian. I laughed at your antics! My lipstick and mascara also got thrown away when I was ‘caught’. I love lipstick and wouldn’t go anywhere without it and I like red and all its shades … a browny red suits me, but also bright red! Did you know that lipstick was the highest selling item during WW2.
I love lipstick and experimenting. My daughter in law was wearing a lovely lipstick when I saw her in Cape Town recently. I want to find out from her what is was … probably a bit too pale for me … but it looked long lasting and comfortable …
I can imagine that lipstick perked up flagging spirits during WW2, among the women who wore it and the troops who may have kissed their lips.
Even though you were not brought up Mennonite, your mother may have objected to your “face paint” because she resisted the idea of your growing up and perhaps attracting the wrong sort of boy. Of course, it was a different era. 😀
May you find a slightly deeper shade of your daughter-in-law’s lipstick.
Ps don’t forget the Ides of March, on the 15th. The weather right now is lovely, the drought has been broken in some areas in South Africa. But it is a strange month … I hear that up north in my country autumn leaves are falling. Hard for me to believe ….
Thanks for reminding me – again – that you live in the southern hemisphere, where weather is leaning into autumn now.
You have the most delightful mind, Marian! Thank you for including that poem. And what a great lipstick shade! It’s always frustrating to finally find a shade you like only to have them discontinue it. I have discovered that in lipsticks and in coffee creamer. Years ago I loved Coffee mate’s chocolate cherry creamer. I bought two bottles at a time! Well, they discontinued it! I was so outdone!
Thanks for the chuckle, L. Marie! I’m sorry about coffee creamer. You could try eBay, but then the product may be caked and chalky. Not smooth and creamy, like lipstick and creamer should be. Ha! 🙂
Love Cliff’s depiction of you and those rose petals! I can’t say I’ve ever been smitten by a particular makeup colour, but I do remember the name of the first tube of barely there lipstick I ever purchased. Baby Buff. My girlfriend and I both bought a tube at the drug store. We felt so fine, but I doubt it was even evident we were wearing lipstick!
When you read my manuscript, the artwork and photos had not been added, so I’m glad this picture was a surprise.
Yes, Baby Buff sounds barely there, but you and your friend could smack your lips and feel the creaminess. It’s fun to experiment at any age!
My daffodils, newly planted last fall, are making an appearance. I may share one online later–I’m excited to have daffodils again.
And yes, lipstick: do you remember the chapstick that was tinted orangish?? We were allowed to use it at home at least. Maybe not in public. I think in high school I started wearing some lipstick even at Bethany (Mennonite) high school but not bright colors–and I have never heard of “Cherries in the snow,” nor that lovely poem. I enjoyed its beauty as well.
I rarely wear lipstick any more. 🙂
Here’s to Wordsworth and daffodils!
I don’t remember the Chapstick tinted orange, but I do remember Tangee lipstick, that turned a light orangey color with your body heat. (Tangee makes an appearance in a memoir chapter.)
Nowadays I wear lipstick to brighten up my winter-pale color and as a kind of “ointment” for dry lips. 🙂
Oh yes, I remember you mentioning Tangee. I thought Tangee was cool! That’s what I meant instead of chapstick.
I never cared much about wearing lipstick. Jeans, maybe. I could get into something like that. 😉
The poem by A.E. Housman is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I plan to add it to my collection of poetry that I love. I have been noticing more of those recently. Sometimes I think I don’t really like poetry and then I read a poem like this and realize I have just been reading the wrong stuff. 🙂
Farmer jeans may be okay, even for a Mennonite girl. And makeup? Perhaps some blush for your cheeks; after all, you are still a blushing bride, Luci. 😀
I’m glad you liked the Housman poem, one I used with my students. Very often, I find poetry others post online too, which make my eyes open wide with wonder. That’s how I got so many poems in my desktop folder, a good thing.
I tried makeup in high school, but gave it up after a few months. Too much time spent, and besides, it got in the way of all my tomboy-type activities! Nowadays a bit of lipstick if I remember to. I love the poem choice! Here, my daffodils are blooming in the face of overnight temps in low-30s, and my succulents recently brought north from California are struggling to survive the unseasonal start to Spring. I gently remind them this time last year was a severe snowstorm that had power out in the area for 2 weeks, but they just shake their leaves and soldier on.
I guess your daffodils and succulents can feel the earth gradually warming, even with some cold temps, alert to the season rather than the thermometer. Love your last sentence, especially!
As I recall, mid-March in PA we often got a storm with heavy snow, even a blizzard, announcing the end of winter, its own version of lion & lamb. Thank you, Ginger!
Wonderful memories, Marian!
You experienced many of these cherished memories growing up near Etown. By the way, the “Growing up in Elizabethtown” Facebook group is closing in on 5000 members. Wow!
Cherry red is always a nice shade of lipstick. It is very lovely here in Spain right now. Not too hot but lovely and warm. The poem is excellent, thanks. Enjoy spring.
You fit right in with the warm, cheery colors of Spain, Darlene. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem too.
When one of my close friends contemplated traveling after the loss of her husband, she chose Spain, no doubt because of the weather AND the cheeriness. 😀
Marian — I, too, enjoyed the poem by A.E. Housman, it’s beautiful. But Cliff’s drawing of you takes the take! Our weather in Boise has been unseasonably warm. So much so, I’m afraid the hummingbirds are going to come back too early. My go-to “lipstick” is Burt’s Bees plum lip shimmer.
A color addict, like you, I just had to look up the Burt’s Bees plum lip shimmer, just to see the color. Wow, so rich and vibrant. I recall your in-depth exploration of color in your first book, still on my shelf, Note to Self. In rainbow meditation, plum may be the color of one of your “dream sticks.”
Thanks for showing up regularly here, Laurie. Love it!
Here in Maine, March is in like a lamb… Hope it stays, but surely we’ll have more snow and the winds are singing through the pines today! As for lipstick, there have been way to many disontinues over the years, so I try to really stock up when I find a gem. Today it’s L’oreal’s “Ballerina Shoes.” Happy March! <3
Don’t you just love when a lipstick color makes you feel like dancing. “Ballerina Shoes” sounds like an energetic shade. For years, I’ve liked Clinique’s “Ginger Flower,” sort of coral pink, perking me up even in winter.
Here’s to more March days of calm in Maine. Thank you, Bette!
Mr Houseman was certainly not visiting Vermont when he wrote his poem on March. For here we are still surrounded by snow, though the temps are hovering in the 40s during the day. This is sugaring season up here when the warm days mix with freezing nights and the sap flows freely into the buckets ready to be boiled down into syrup. Did you know we need 40 gallons of sap to get one gallon of syrup? Yummm.
Mr. Housman grew up in Shropshire, so I guess he was clueless about New England weather.
Thanks for the education here about the Vermont sugaring season. My eyes bugged out when I read that 40 gallons of sap equates to one gallon of syrup. So it’s happening now? Wow! Maybe a blog post?
Good morning, Marian. I just came across a CNN Style article entitled: Empowering, Alluring, Degenerate? The Evolution of Red Lipstick. Of course, I immediately thought of you and this post.
Here is the first paragraph of the article:
In 1912 thousands of suffragettes marched past the New York salon of Elizabeth Arden. The cosmetics brand founder, who had just opened her business two years earlier, was a supporter of women’s rights, and she aligned herself with the cause by handing out tubes of bright red lipstick to the marching women.
Here is the link to the rest of the story:
Thanks for the link, Linda. I read the article with interest, including the mention that “In 1941 and for the duration of the war, red lipstick became mandatory for women who joined the US Army.” I think it’s safe to say, instead of the label of “morally dubious,” the color red connotes power, particularly feminine power.
Good for Elizabeth Arden, and good for you, Linda Lee, for mentioning the article here – brava!
You’re fancy now, and I’m glad you are. The story about Elizabeth Arden is fascinating. Thanks for sharing it, Lady Quixote. I haven’t worn lipstick since high school. Maybe I should experiment. (I love Cliff’s drawing.) Bert’s Bees Plum Shimmer? It sounds exotic and decadent.
Marian, it’s strangely warm here and I’m grateful because all the ice melted in my woods which means the trails are clear and easy to navigate. An early spring often mean snow on the cherries. They flower early and then we’ll get an April or May hard freeze.
You’ve embraced puppyhood, so exotic and decadent may be next, Elaine.
I’m glad you can navigate your property without the danger of “slip and fall.” Have you seen cherries on the snow recently? If it happens this spring, I hope you’ll post, perhaps on Facebook. I’ll be on the lookout. 😀
I’ll let you know. I hope not for the sake of the cherry orchard owners.
Agreed! Pretty for the eyes (maybe); disastrous for the orchard owners.
Hi Marian – great post – I’m not a lipstick girl, but I enjoyed reading how you improvised! The weather here in the northeast has been erratic. Lots of rain and some warm days, then cold ones. Our flower bulbs don’t know what to do!
Sometimes, cold plunges lead to bursting blooms when the weather warms up. Maybe there’ll be some surprises for you in March or April.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post and told us so. Thanks, Barbara!
HI! How I love that poem. And the photo of cherries in the snow! As much as I find the snow beautiful (when falling and the first day, not so much after) I’m grateful that we’ve had little snow here in NE this winter, and that March is mewling like a lamb. May it remain so. My mood is affected by the temps and sun. I think I’m a Floridian at heart! 😉 I’ve noticed that as I get older, I need a brighter, darker color than pink. I’m fair, so red lipstick used to make me look too pale. Now, for several years, I’ve been using “merlot” (Clinique, because it has no scent). So I say YAY to you for wearing bright red cheery lipstick every day.
Clinique’s “Ginger flower” and a garnet shade have been my go-to’s the past few years: The garnet, close to your “merlot,” I would imagine. I’d probably often skip lipstick, but hubby says, “Oh, you’re wearing lipstick!” so I oblige most days.
Seriously, Pam, you are welcome to our Florida home anytime, sunny almost every day. 😀
Gosh I’m completely took back by your post this week . The poem is a delight , the story of Revlon’s humble beginnings gives me a lump in my throat …cherries in the snow , such a name and the drawing of you by Cliff is perfection .
I never , ever go without makeup particularly lipstick . My dad didn’t allow me to wear it either and I used to wear it in secret …so he didn’t win did he .
I adore March it’s my birthday month I love it’s roar and love it’s bleating of a lamb …much like my personality. Keep wearing the red lipstick 💄. I love Burt’s Bees too , never heard of plumb shimmer , I’m on the look out .
You are SO funny, Cherry. You always make me laugh with your clever “outbursts” of pleasure or pain – ha! What a clever girl, too, sneaking behind your daddy’s back to wear LIPSTICK. No, he didn’t win!
What date in March is your birthday? I must send you good wishes!
And, I’ll pass on the compliment to Cliff. 😀
Tomorrow and thank you 🙏😊
My weather in March has been pretty much the same as yours, I think! 🙂 And, I don’t use cosmetics.
What a great poem and memoir extract you’re sharing here, Marian. I’d never heard of the phrase “Cherries in the Snow” – in a poem, as an expression, or a cosmetic term – but I must have seen it in your book. I wonder where it came from… Cherries should not have to deal with snow! Have a wonderful week ahead!
Ha ha! You look beautiful au naturel. Youth is on your side + a healthy lifestyle. And I agree, cherries should not have to deal with snow.
I just peeked in again at the Jill’s post of you in her “I’d Rather” series. 😀
Have a wonderful week at Hickory Hammock. (Just a side note: A few days this week I’m doing a stint feeding cats, Smoky and Daisy, my daughter’s kitties.)
Such a beautiful poem and lovely photo.
Thank you, Lady Fi!
I have never been a lipstick girl…red shoes now thats my thing…sigh…which is now reduced to red flip flops with an eztec pattern….Loved the poem and your March references…We had rain in copious amounts..I will not talk about my ceilings …sigh…Now we have sweltering heat…March through to June is our hottest time of the year …
Red flip flops with an Aztec design sound nice. I can no longer wear heels either – legs and feet not up to it (sigh)! I understand about ceilings. A small leak is in the living room is telling is it’s time for a new roof, which has been repaired once before.
It’s good to hear from you, Carol!