Monday, March 26, 2018

MEMORIES OF EASTER



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.

 

21 comments:

  1. Dear Jon, I too remember the tactile attractions of fuzzy bunnies downtown. But my Easter mornings were mainly highlighted by egg-hunts, which I adored --even though I was the youngest of 4 kids and found the least eggs. Then we'd all pile into the Willys Station Wagon and head off to the Presbyterian Church, where dim lights gave me presbyopia in later life. Few years later, I found out the world was far too wickedly pleasurable for a Presbyterian so I did not remain one for long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geo - my father had a Willys but it wasn't a station wagon. It was a two-tone sedan, red and white. He sold it right before we moved to Calif.

      Delete
  2. Not boring. I remember the colored chicks and ducklings. SOOOO glad they don't do that anymore!

    We were Methodist. I remember those days when my sister and I wore Easter dresses with little white gloves and shiny shoes with new white anklets...and my brother wore a new white shirt, dress pants, and a vest (growing too fast to buy little boys suits every time you turned around but people with more money did). But we didn't always have bonnets. Lots of people wore them, though. Mostly the moms. Men wore hats, that they removed when they entered the church. Times have changed a lot since then.

    We never went to see the Easter Bunny and get our pictures taken--like with Santa. I remember seeing it going on once in a shopping center, but the rabbit looked really creepy to me. I'm surprised you didn't have a post filled with sinister Easter bunny photos--ROFL! ;)

    It is snowing here. Supposed to get 1-4 inches. We've already passed one inch for sure. It's actually coming down more gently and not wickedly horizontal. Just beautiful!! The grouse are digging through the snow to find the seed I tossed out that immediately sunk into the fluffy white blanket. Have a great day! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow - it seems very likely that you'll have a white Easter! Our snow melted quickly - and now we're plagued with endless rain.

      I had several sinister Easter Bunny posts on my other blog (long ago). I just might post one on this blog later in the week.

      Delete
    2. Oh, Yes! I think I saw them on your other blog! Yes--that's why I associated you with creepy Easter Bunny kid pics--ROFL! Sorry. ;)

      Delete
    3. That's okay - I love creepy Easter Bunny pictures!

      Delete
  3. We have Easter eggs here, and the Easter bunny is a rather minor figure. The eggs as I remember were bought by parents or family, with no mystery about where they came from. But easter egg hunts are popular. Do you have hot cross buns in America? A good thing that live creatures are no longer sold. I have to say that those chicks' hair colour does not seem natural to me .....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love hot crossed buns Jenny! I just made some homemade ones last weekend.

      Delete
    2. Jenny - When you mentioned hot cross buns, the first person I thought of was Maddie. Yes, we do indeed have them for Easter - but they're not as popular in the U.S. as they are in other countries.

      Delete
  4. your memories are never boring. i too remember easter bonnets like your mother wore. and my husband had dyed chicks as gifts from his aunt. thank goodness i never got one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like all of the "old" Easter traditions - - but I'm truly thankful that chicks and ducks are no longer dyed or sold for the holiday. I thought that was horrible, even when I was a child.

      Delete
  5. Easter is a festivity and getaway celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the deceased, discussed in the newest Testament as having occurred around the next time of his funeral after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary. Easter is celebrated every year in the month of Apr. We have been exhibiting Inspirational Easter Messages and Easter Greetings Sayings in this article.
    Inspirational Easter Quotes
    Happy Easter 2018 Images

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting my blog and providing the links!

      Delete
  6. Why yes, my family still does dress up for Easter and has a lovely dinner. My little fair hamlet as a egg hunt still in the park, and lets the kiddies find them. I watched one year...it's so cute to watch.

    BUT NO DYED CHICKS!!!! That was before my time. But when my mother was young and working downtown, she took the bus to work. One day returning home on the bus, a huge fat woman got on with a box of chicks for a kids for Easter. When the driver went around a corner, the box must have slipped from her lap, box fell and came open, and chicks went running all over the bus. People trying to get them, and then there's this big fat woman up and down the aisle trying to catch them. My mom said once she got toward the front, she bent over to get another one, and left out a big healthy fart. The bus driver replied, "That's right lady, if you can't catch em", shoot em"! The whole bus apparently broke out in laughter.

    My mother said two days later the bus driver was fired. Turns out it was the mayors mother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG!!!! What a hilarious (not to mention unusual) story!!! It's too bad that the bus driver got canned just for being funny.

      I guess people in "high" places blow the biggest farts...

      Delete
  7. Glad I didn't miss this post altogether. It brought back memories of dressing my little girls in white hats and gloves and fancy socks. Except youngest daughter didn't like said hat so she would take it off and sail it across the yard.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Waxing nostalgic ... and I love it. So much of the time I'm left feeling like a dinosaur; it's nice to read others' recollections. My own mother went through a phase of making her own hats (how I hated the smell from the steamer!) ... but I've never out-grown my love for Real bonnets. And high heels? Yes!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey, Myra - I've been thinking (and worrying) about you. Hope all is well.
    I had a lot more Easter memories but didn't want to be boring (what? ME boring??).
    Take care and have a great Easter.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. Go ahead and leave one - I won't bite. But make sure you have a rabies shot just in case.