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  • April 14th, 2009 | 8:23 AM
Tuesday Memory Challenge - Easter

Since we just had Easter dinner at our house I thought I would try to remember what Easter was like as a child. Easter baskets, of course, filled with jelly beans and a big hollow chocolate bunny. We dyed eggs but mom wouldn't hide them. They just sat in their cardboard container for me to take to school every day.

But Easter dinner, as long as my grandmother was alive, that was a big deal. Everyone would come to our house (I lived with my grandmother) for a giant feast. The meat was always a canned ham with a brown sugar glaze. Always. Scalloped potatoes. Peas and corn. Those flakey dinner rolls, heat and serve. And pie of some kind, whatever fruit was in season at the time. Those were the absolutes. As the relatives came there would be additions to the table. Some kind of jello salad. Maybe another dessert. More veggies. I can't remember if candied yams were served here but I think so. Black olives in a little bowl that I would sneak from in advance of dinner.

When everyone was still alive and still speaking to one another, it was a great crowd of aunts and uncles and great aunts and great uncles and cousins. We kids had to sit at the card table in the living room because there wasn't enough room for us at the big table (and because we might break something.)

What I remember most of all is the joy I felt at being surrounded by family. My family. My home. It always seemed a little too quiet after everyone left.

What do you remember about Easter as a child?

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 12 comments — Leave comment )
(Deleted comment)
April 15th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Oh yes, when I was younger, like 7 and under, it was gloves and anklets with lace and big ribbons in my long hair.
April 14th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
My father is a minister, so Easter was a Big Deal.

Most years, once we moved to Ohio, we were down on the beach for Easter Sunrise Service. This meant that for the week before Easter (often my spring break), we spent every day, all day cleaning up the beach and getting it ready for our service. If we didn't have spring break the week before, all that cleaning had to be crammed into one single Saturday, but often the rest of the congregation would come help, then.

Easter Morning was busy. Had to be up at 5 to get dressed and go get the beach ready for the service. That was the job that I, my siblings, and father had. Mom's was to go to the church and supervise everyone setting up Easter Breakfast at the church.

Then, Dad would take us back to the house, and we'd have to run around and get into our Easter get-ups. New dresses and hats for the girls, older girls got gloves. New shirts, slacks and ties for the boys, older boys got new suits. (That was expensive though I know Mom made our dresses.) Hair had to be perfect and then sunrise service at 7am.

After that, it was up to the church, to the breakfast (what I remember was it was like a continental breakfast, but nothing major). Then, Sunday School, and church. Mom usually, just before church, right after Sunday School, ran over and began putting things in the oven (we lived like 500 feet from the church), and then made it back in time for the opening invocation. After Church, during which I always remember being starved half to death, it was to the receiving line, where we (as the family) shook hands and had a few words with any member of the congregation that wanted it.

Finally, back to the house. We never got coloured eggs, or Easter baskets or anything like that. But Mom could, and did, cook. We always had tonnes of food. Before eating, however, there were to be pictures to show everyone our pretty Easter outfits. Once you had your picture taken, you could go change, so your outfit didn't get ruined. We usually sat down to dinner by 1.30.

Friends usually started arriving by 3, so we had to have dinner done, dishes done and the house spotless before they began showing up. We always had a potluck on Easter night, after a Sunset service (about 7pm) at the church. Church members would come over to the house, and bring the leftovers from their own dinners, and mix them with ours, and that would be supper that night.

Supper was always very, very late. I want to say like 8.30/9pm. The big thing I remember is being alternately stuffed and starving.

Now, this is all post-trampling recovery. During my recovery, I was exempt from cleaning the beach -- I got to hold the garbage bags and watch everyone else do it -- and some of the other things.

One thing I do remember. The Thursday before Good Friday was always 'decorating night'. It was the night we went in, cleaned the Sanctuary, and decorated the church for Good Friday, and then Saturday night we did it for Easter.

Sorry for the novel!
April 15th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
Don't apologize. You know how much I enjoy your stories.
April 14th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Your meal is exactly what I had at my father's house on Sunday! Down to the corn and peas. Frozen of course.


When I was a kid, Easter meant a new dress for church. And a basket of candy.
April 15th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
ooh...matching memories.
April 14th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
One particular year, my grandmother (the woman who raised my mother) burst into tears when my mother called her the night before Easter. Poor her, she was going to be alone (my grandfather was still alive!).

So my mother and father packed the three of us into the car and drove the 60+ miles so that my grandmother wouldn't have to be 'alone'. I remember waking up in a strange place, not knowing how I got there, and wondering if the Easter Bunny knew where I was.
April 15th, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
I remember some of those times away from home and wondering if the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy or Santa could find me.
April 15th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
What I remember most (and this will show you what a mercenary child I was) was the one year we each got one of those GORGEOUS solid chocolate eggs. The big ones. We did get baskets, I think--or maybe not? But if we did it was just the usual. Then one year, there they were, each in their own plastic case that was just the right size not to damage any of the icing decorations. I have no idea why this happened that year--I'll have to ask my mom. It was the BEST chocolate, and it lasted SO long.

I want one now.
April 15th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
oh now I remember those sugar spun eggs with the little scenes inside them and I want one of THEM now. LOL
April 15th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
Easter Dresses
Easter Dresses were a big deal. Mom made a lot of our clothes (which spoiled me for being grown up - I HATE shopping for clothes because you can never get exactly what you want and it doesn't fit anyway), so in spring and fall we'd have these big trips to all the stores that carried fabric and patterns, which in those days included the big department stores. We'd pick our patterns and the fabric, notions, etc. for ourselves. In fall it was all school clothes, but in spring the biggest deal was picking our Easter dresses, which would be our best clothes all year and then retire to second-best or get handed down next Easter. Usually we picked pastels and fabrics like dotted Swiss, and patterns that we perceived as particularly fancy - tiered skirts, flounces, ruffles, the works. The one I remember best was my sixth-grade Easter dress, a pale green dotted swiss "granny dress" (as we called maxi skirts) with a fitted waist that tied with black velvet ribbon. I felt soooooo elegant in that dress!

Easter morning we had to line up on the couch with our baskets in our laps for a picture. We had plastic baskets (color coded) that we left out for the Easter Bunny like we left out stockings for Santa. The Easter Bunny was frugal and reused the plastic snap-together eggs that fill with candy, too. One year my little sister dropped her basket as the picture went off and its fall is preserved forever. Dad would also line up Mom, my sister, and me right before church to commemorate the Easter dresses. My brother's new suit was store-bought and less lovingly recorded - he's in some pictures and not others.

We never dyed eggs because it was messy and Mom said we'd never eat them anyway, but we did decorating crafts. Remember those L'eggs pantyhose eggs? Best Easter craft item in the world!
April 16th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
Re: Easter Dresses
Thanks for sharing the great memories!

I remember dotted Swiss...lots of dotted Swiss. And yes, those pantyhose eggs.
( 12 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

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