Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Childhood Easters

Easter, 1957, my sister, grandfather and me

Happy Easter, late, to those of you who celebrate it.  Ours was relatively warm and sunny, though in Wisconsin it isn't unusual for it to snow on Easter.  I was always puzzled, as a child, why Easter cards and advertisements showed light-weight dresses, white shoes, and flowers, when in my world, more often than not, we were still wearing winter jackets for Easter egg hunts.

At the time when this snapshot was taken, little girls always dressed up for Easter.  My mother and grandmother took delight in making sure my younger sister and I had new dresses, shoes, spring coats, and hats and gloves.  We wore these pastel outfits to church, and were expected to keep them clean through the noon meal.  After that, when we hunted for hidden eggs outside, we could change into casual clothing.  

Since we had dogs on the farm, finding all the eggs was something of a race.  Dad was pretty good at hiding the eggs, but the dogs often found them before we did.  We'd look near the roots of a tree, under a bush, near the back porch step, and find nothing but a few bits of colored shell.  The really bad thing that sometimes happened was that nobody would find an egg, until much later in warm weather.  They made terrific stink bombs then.

The routine was that we would be dropped off at Sunday school, and while we were there Mom and Grandma would work on Easter dinner.  We'd come home, eat, then go out hunting eggs. After that our grandparents often had baskets with candy, marshmallow peeps, and little toys. We got good candy, and sometimes little panoramic sugar Easter eggs http://blumchen.com/easter_shop_party_favors.html from the Rexall drugstore where my grandmother worked.  My mom knew I liked my marshmallow peeps stale, so she'd buy them early, open the package, and let them get good and chewy. holidays.net/easter/peeps.htm The other treat she sometimes put in my basket was a little seed tray of marigolds, the kind you start early on a windowsill.  I loved watering the seeds and waiting for them to sprout.  She baskets for me until I was way too old, maybe in my thirties, and only quit when my sister and brother had children.  Then the baskets went, as they should, to the grandchildren.

Those Easters are fun to remember.  These days the holiday is much quieter.  My husband and I sometimes make a good breakfast and have egg wars, cracking hard-boiled eggs against each other to see whose cracks first, or we just go out to a restaurant buffet for Easter ham.  I don't wear dresses, and certainly not a hat and gloves.  Time passes. Things change.  This year we joined friends for dinner out, which was very enjoyable.  I hope I don't ever spoil today wishing I had yesterday.


laura said...

This was the first Easter I was able to resist the candy: a major milestone for me! I dread all the candy-related holidays.
Peter and I went fishing, which, now that I write it, though we are both lapsed believers, seems pleasingly appropriate!
As always, love your photos and the memories that go with them.

Sharon said...

These photos sure bring back Easter dress memories for me, Sherry. Although our family was not religious, I do remember getting an Easter dress every year. I love the seed ideal, too. I will have to remember that for my granddaughter. Her parents are not big on candy, so the eggs for the hunt this year were mostly filled with things like stickers, barrettes, bunny pin, etc. (Not nearly as good as candy, IMO!)

Sandy said...

I loved the photo and the post. Not sure how I came on your blog, I think I had flicker bookmarked for line and watercolor or something and saw your top post, which said new (by the way great job on those dolls).

But...I have a pic of my sis and me (I'm 58) standing with my grandfather outside in the front yard and it looks like my sis and I have the very same outfits on. We grew up near Kansas city and this really brought memories back, with the spring coats, etc....hats.. going to church, and the easter egg hunt later.

Margaret Ann said...

A beautifully written post...so many things I could relate to...hats and gloves...for one! Thanks for sharing another sweet and precious memory with all of us! :)