This particular blog is a little bit of strolling down memory lane. We are counting down to Easter as this Sunday is Palm Sunday and I thought I’d finish off March with a couple of blogs about Easter before launching into a new series in April, whatever that may be, I’m not sure yet. As a child Easter meant different things to me than it does now. So, I thought my first blog would be about what Easter meant to me in the past and next week’s blog would be about what it means to me now.
When I was young, Easter meant Easter baskets. My mom would make me a basket full of goodies: chocolate, jelly beans, of course marshmallow peeps and the occasional stuffed rabbit. Some kids remember their parents hiding colored eggs so they could hunt for them Easter morning. I don’t remember that. However, I do remember my mom hiding my Easter basket that I would have to search out and find. It wasn’t much of a scavenger hunt. After all, how hard is it to find a big Easter basket full of treats? But it was still fun. When I was real small, under five, I remember my mom and dad getting me dyed chicks to play with. We could go down to the hardware store in those days and purchase them. PETA wasn’t around then and nobody seemed to worry about the dye affecting the demise of the chicks or even if the chicks lived or died. The chicks were pink and purple, blue and green and in fact, mine never lived long. My mom said I chased some of them until they fell over and died of exhaustion. Gasp! Remember, I was less than five and didn’t know any better. Also, I remember my parents getting me the occasional real rabbit for Easter. One year I remember very specifically taking my rabbit out in the the yard and watching it hop right out of my arms and away. I didn’t get it back. I don’t remember if I was very upset. Maybe I thought that was what Easter rabbits were supposed to do.
I colored eggs as well. Anyone who lived in the beautiful Susquehanna Valley like I do, remembers Hinkle’s colored Egg Dye, and would paint their eggs in beautiful patterns or with pictures on them, not just dipping them in color. My husband still loves to paint eggs and will do it whether a kid is participating or not.
And of course, I remember getting all dressed up for church. The Easter outfits were lovely dresses for girls, complete with bonnets and sometimes even special white buckle shoes. Boys wore nice suits, complete with vests and ties and dress shoes. Sometimes we got special treats at church on Easter as well. There was often an Easter Cantata at church where the choir would sing.
When my children were little, I continued the tradition by painting eggs with them, making Easter baskets, purchasing the stuffed bunnies and taking them to scavenger hunts. My parents almost always bought them their Easter outfits. My oldest daughter loved to dress up much more than I did and wore the frilliest dresses, straw bonnets and even white gloves. I always put her hair in soft rollers Saturday night before Easter so she could have long lovely blond curls Easter morning. My son, always the goofball, liked to mess up the Easter pictures by making faces at the camera. Gathering with family for the ham dinner was one of the favorite parts of Easter for all of us.
Another fun part of Easter when I was younger was the Easter sunrise service at church. It wasn’t always at sunrise as I recall but it was rather early, and in the best days, it was at our local park a few blocks from our home, so we walked to it. We sang hymns, heard a short Easter message and reveled in the beautiful Easter day. My favorite memory of this time was one year when we set the clocks ahead for daylight savings time the night before, and our Pastor arrived late for sunrise service because he forgot to set his clock for the right time.He stumbled into the park looking a little chagrined and disheveled and we all had a good laugh. After the service, we would head back to the church where we had an Easter breakfast.
These were all very fun times. This is what Easter meant to me.