I guess that this year, most of us will miss the old, time-honored Easter celebrations that we associate with our pasts, but today, I am remembering the Easters from my childhood, and I am pledging that from now on, we must not miss another Easter celebration — TOGETHER.
I was born in 1950 and although many things about the 1950s were less than ideal, Easters then were superior.
On Easter morning, I would wake up to discover that during the night, the Easter Bunny had come and hidden the eggs. God Bless that Easter Bunny! He was almost as great as Santa. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night would stop me from looking for those eggs.
And then it was time to go to Sunday School and Church.
Of course, the preparation for Easter services began long before Easter Sunday. We had to travel to a large enough town to buy a proper Easter dress and shoes–generally, my Easter shoes were white patent leather. But new shoes and new Easter dresses were not enough! For Easter, we always had to buy a fancy Easter hat, too.
When I was a child, Easter was a special time in our home. I am not sure that I ever received any toys on Easter, but I always got a new basket.
On the day before Easter, my mother would boil a big pot of eggs. After they cooled just a bit, she would make cups of color with vinegar, food dye, and hot water, and we would color our eggs in soft, muted tones of Robin’s egg blue, pale strawberry pink, minty lime green, a hint of purple, a sherbert-like orange, and a whisper of golden yellow.
On Easter day, we would hunt for the eggs that the Bunny had hidden in our yards. Mind you, these were real Easter eggs and not plastic wannabees. Usually, we would fail to find one or more of the eggs hidden outside until much later, when time and heat had turned it into a toxic bomb, but it was all good.
One Easter, I spent the night with a friend, and somehow, her mother had made a cake in the shape of a lamb who was sleeping in a bed of green-dyed coconut. The lamb was covered in plain white coconut. To this day, I still associate coconut cake with Easter.
Easter seems odd this year. While Easter bonnets went out a long, long time ago, community egg hunts managed to survive until this year. This year, extended families will not gather for baked ham and potato salad. We cannot expose our great grandmothers. Whatever party remains for Easter this year will be a distant one. This year, more than ever, I’ll enjoy looking back at the Easters of my childhood.