Sunday was March 25, a legal holiday in the state of Maryland. On this date in 1634, English settlers from the Ark and the Dove first set foot on St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac river in what was known as the Province of Maryland. A colony had been established there two years earlier and, in thanksgiving for their safe landing, a Jesuit priest from one of the ships celebrated a mass for the colonists, thought to be, perhaps, the first mass given in the new land.
In 1903, when my Pennsylvania-born maternal grandmother was already ten years old, the Maryland State Board of Education chose March 25 to honor Maryland history, and in 1916, two years after my mother was born (also to the north in Pennsylvania), the Maryland State legislature recognized March 25 as a legal holiday.
To honor Maryland’s history, I proudly flew my Maryland state flag from the front porch of my historic farmhouse in Baltimore County on Sunday. This colorful flag is the only state flag based on heraldic emblems. The first Lord of Baltimore, George Calvert, adopted a coat of arms which combined the yellow and black colors of his paternal family with the red and white colors of either his mother’s family or his wife’s family. There is some dispute as to which. Either way, the Maryland state flag displays the arms of the two families in diagonally opposing quadrants.
Today, I celebrated the historic day further, by wearing a scarf featuring the festive red, white, yellow and black coats of arms tucked into a vintage red skirt-suit by Danny & Nicole, which I purchased at JCPenney when I worked for them in northern California in the 1970s and 1980s. I cinched the waist of the one-piece suit with the included self-belt and added gold-metal earrings engraved with a delicate pattern that mimicked engraving on the brilliant brass of the belt buckle and buttons adorning the front of the suit and on faux pockets at the chest and on the jaunty peplum.
I tried on some red, pointy-toed stilettos by Two Lips that I bought at a shoe store by the same name in Grapevine Mills Mall near Dallas, Texas, when I lived there from 1994 to 2001. I had never worn the shoes and was surprised to find they were so comfortable. They would have to be, for my commute to the Library of Congress includes a half mile of walking. I added only a gold-metal bracelet watch from Chico’s and a gold-metal fashion ring, and I was ready to celebrate Maryland’s heritage in colorful style!