When I was five and my brother was three, we lived in Germany. In the spring, they have their Carnival time in connection with Lent (which, I think is during the 40 days before Easter). We wanted to take part in the fun of the local customs. When we heard there was to be a dress-up parade, my brother and I wanted to be in it.
My mother was concerned that we were too young, but she said if my older cousin, Brigitte, would look after us and we promised to stay by her side, then we could be in the parade. I don’t remember what my brother was supposed to be – maybe a messenger, as he had something in his hand, but I was going to be a Dutch Boy (incidentally, now a famous pickled herring brand). I put on blue pants and I had a blue hat. My mother added her trademark makeup to our faces. Every “dress-up” occasion called for red lipstick hearts being drawn onto our cheeks. I think she was the original face painter.
We held hands to look after each other. I took Brigitte’s hand and, as always, I took my brother’s hand. We felt very important as we walked through the streets of town along with the rest of the citizens who were also dressed up. Brigitte’s outfit needs some explaining because of the black and white photo. Her dress and cape were bright red with big white polka dots on them. She was dressed up as a fly agaric (amanita) mushroom.
It looks like my mom reclaimed my brother after a while. He was only three and probably got tired, but I was quite happy to continue, with Brigitte lending me courage.