When I was a kid back in the 40's, May Day was a celebration on the order of Valentine's Day for us kids in elementary school. It was the next-to-last hurrah of the school year.
We'd get to spend time in class making May Baskets out of colored construction paper. The usual type was the cone with a handle attached across the top, although I remember making other styles. The idea was that the basket would be filled with goodies and after school you could deliver it to someone--like a friend or sweetheart. You would hang the basket on the doorknob, ring the door bell and then run away. That was it--not really much of a payoff. That was only if someone gave you a May Basket.
The last hurrah of the school year was Mother's Day. The teacher told us that we should ask our mom for a clean ketchup bottle or pop bottle--but it was a big secret, so don't tell her what it was for. The idea of a conspiracy was great fun.
When everyone had brought in their bottles, the day came for the activity. The teacher spread newspapers on a table and filled trays with a mixture of colored paints. It was serious business taking your bottle and carefully rolling it in the paint to get a variegated, patterned bottle.
The next day, after the paint dried, the teacher passed out sprinkler heads to be inserted into the bottle. (I always hated the sound of the cork squeaking as it was pushed in.) I wrapped the bottle in white tissue paper and tied a red ribbon around it.
After I took it home on Friday, it was so hard to wait until after church on Sunday! It was a very long time for me to keep it secret. The presentation of my homemade gift was delightful, and all the more so because that sprinkling bottle was in use for many, many years.
I went on Google Images and tried to find a photo of a painted sprinkler bottle and couldn't find any. If you should come across one, you might want to post it or even try to sell it on ebay!
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