Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Memories

Happy Easter, friends!

Once upon a time, there would have been four or five dozen dyed eggs in my fridge this evening, and baskets of chocolate (and later fruit as the boys got older) all a-waiting on the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Not so these days--I don't even dye eggs anymore--but I remember the excitement of my sons on this holiday, and it still brings a smile.

Today as Larry and I were driving home it suddenly struck me what an odd holiday this is. I mean, decorated eggs, chocolate and bunnies to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ? Seems ludicrous and yet it's what we do, all across this country and a few others as well. And when I was a child, it all seemed perfectly normal. I loved every minute of it, from the egg hunt to Easter Mass to the candy and the special clothes we wore on this momentous day.

I'm the one in the little navy blue hat and coat, almost 3 yrs old here
 I remember very well my picture hat that I had for quite a few of those Easters. Every year the hats were brought out to have the fake flowers removed and new flowers and ribbons added to "freshen them up," as my mother would say. Our patent leather shoes would get a thorough polishing with vaseline, and we'd have new lace-edged white socks and clean white gloves to wear to church. Crinolines under our spring dresses made them stand out, and we thought we just looked so pretty! Sometimes we even had little handbags to carry, with lacy hankies inside. Often this finery wasn't new; much of it would be hand-me-downs, although I do not know where they were handed down from, especially mine since I was the oldest girl in the family. We didn't mind, anyway--as long as we had new-to-us dresses, new flowers and ribbons on our hats and shiny patent leather shoes, we were happy.

And there would be candy! Candy was not a frequent commodity at our house. We usually had it mainly on the three recognized candyfests: Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Even Valentine's Day did not guarantee sweets. But Easter brought candy and lots and lots of Easter eggs. When we were little, the Easter Bunny dyed the eggs but as we grew the older children were allowed to do it to help out the ol' bunny. Easter Saturday would be a colorful, glorious day in our kitchen as we dunked 10-12 dozen eggs in various colors, finding ways to make beautiful, interesting and sometimes downright ugly colors and patterns.

Mom on Easter, probably in the 1980's. The fence
along the front walk is gone in this photo.
Sunday morning would find us decked out in our Easter outfits and on the way to church, usually for the 9:00am Mass. I always loved the soaring, joyous Easter hymns and the white vestments the priest could finally wear. After church it was time for a big Easter breakfast. Our baskets, I think, were by our places at the table.

You'd think I'd remember something so important as when we got our baskets, but I don't because the egg hunt was the really big excitement. Somehow the eggs were all hidden by that bunny while we ate breakfast. Dad would saunter in, look out the window, and say something like, "Look! There he goes!See his cotton tail?" Then the hunt began, kids scurrying all over the yard searching for the bright orbs and trying to find the prize egg, a plastic one with money inside it.

Dad on Easter, probably the same
year as Mom's photo

We weren't allowed to keep all of the eggs we found though. Many were returned to their cartons, to be made into deviled eggs for dinner and egg salad the next day. I highly resented that. They were my eggs, after all!

As I got older I understood what a financial effort it was for our parents to make this holiday, and all others special, with all the things children learn to expect. It could not have been easy on Dad's lineman salary to provide such treats for so many children, but somehow they always managed. I often think it was their devout faith in God and belief that all would be well in the end that helped them create these miracles for us, year after year.







Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

Debbie Couture said...

Great memories and pictures Sue. Nice to see your parents. Happy Easter.

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