There are some memories from my life that are so distant, they seem to exist in another world and I seem to be viewing them as a stranger.
I'm suddenly three or four years old, walking with my mother in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey. She goes into a shop to buy an Easter bonnet. After carefully contemplating many selections , she decides on a lovely white hat garnished with a small spray of spring blossoms.
On Easter Sunday she wore the hat with matching white gloves, a gorgeous spring outfit, and (of course) high heels.
Do ladies still wear Easter bonnets? Do people still dress up for Easter, or is this an archaic ritualistic tradition of the dark and distant past?
I must interject that this was when my mother was still a (disbelieving) Catholic. A few years later, when we moved to California, she denounced Catholicism completely - to the absolute horror and hysteria of her devout Catholic family.
St. Peter's Church
in New Brunswick, which I remember as a child. It was built in 1865 - slightly before my time.
There were Easter egg hunts at my maternal grandmother's house. We grandchildren spent part of the afternoon eagerly scouring the back and front lawn, searching for Easter eggs and candy.
My father whispered hints to me, disclosing where the treasures were hidden, and I angrily said "Don't tell me! I want to find them myself."
I was a stubborn little booger, even back then.
One day my cousins, Maryann and Dianne, walked with me to a department store downtown to see the Easter Bunny. The most vivid thing I remember was that the Easter Bunny reeked with the strong scent of perfume and was wearing a woman's wristwatch.
She was also wearing a smiling bunny mask and - strangely - the open mouth had a little screen over it.
"The Easter Bunny's a lady," I mentioned afterwards. "And she had a screen over her mouth!"
"That's to keep out the flies," Maryann told me.
Me with my cousins Maryann (left) and Dianne (right)
It wouldn't have been Easter without going to Woolworth's downtown to see all the candy displays - - and especially the baby chicks and ducks in the basement.
This was during those cruel, unrestricted times when baby animals were sold for Easter. The chicks and ducks were crammed closely together in wooden pens, with lots of light bulbs glaring overhead to deep them warm. Some had even been dyed in pastel Easter colors.
The feathered critters always intrigued me, but - thankfully - my parents never let me have any.
And - even more thankfully - this inhumane tradition is no longer in vogue.
In conclusion, I never thought Easter memories could be boring - but I think I've proved the point.