Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easters From the Past

I don't know about you, but I'm a little distressed by the over-commercialization of Easter. We've long bemoaned such a practice concerning Christmas, and now we're over-doing it for Easter, too. When did Easter become like a second Christmas? I began noticing this several years ago when the stores advertised, "Play More--For Easter gifts, buy electronic games, hand-held videos games, dolls, stuffed bunnies and chicks, cars, guns--you name it, and We Got 'Em!" I've also heard of families holding "Easter parties," in which many children are invited. There might be a clown, an air castle, exchange of gifts, and if someone Easter egg hunt.

All the slick ads from Sunday's paper are filled, not only with clothing and shoes for children, but far more pages urging parents and grandparents to buy toys.
Remember the little woven baskets we made in grade school (notice I said "grade school) with strips of colored construction paper? I loved those, and even made more at home using strips of any kind of paper I could find.
Remember the straw Easter basket? I know those are still available, but I promise the children today don't hold those with such reverence as I did. We had no such thing as plastic eggs, either. No, Virginia, plastics have not always been around.
Remember PAAS Egg Coloring kits? All we needed were the boiled eggs, white vinegar, small bowls, and a spoon. I learned to write something or draw designs on the egg with a crayon before coloring, and the egg would be nicely decorated. I can still smell that vinegar.
Remember new clothes and white shoes? We always got a new dress. One year the dress was yellow satin with a sash tied in a bow in the back. Tiny white buttons ran down the back. We drove 225 miles to our grandparent's house for Easter weekend, and Mother had not sewn on the buttons. But she took all the needed materials to finish our dresses before Sunday. However, she became very ill there, and had to spend Easter Sunday in the hospital. Daddy sewed the buttons on our dresses, helped us dress, tied the bows in the back, brushed and curled our hair, and took us to church. I will never forget that Easter.
In fourth grade, the Room Mother Parents held a school-wide Easter egg hunt. This was on the South Plains, my friends, near Lubbock. The playground was mainly dirt and rocks. A late-spring Norther blew in, but we still had the Easter egg hunt. All the girls wore dresses, of course, and the wind picked up sand and small pebbles which stung our legs and faces. Still, the entire school population raced out to find eggs for a basket. It was announced there was one Golden egg--wrapped in gold foil--well hidden, and the lucky person who found it would also get a prize. I spotted it, but a boy had, too. He saw me, and I saw him. We raced, but he got there first. Just as he reached down to picked it up, I ran up and kicked it away, then grabbed it. And you thought all this time I had been a sweet little girl. Not always.
In first grade, we lived in a small duplex. We had no yard, as such, so we worried how we'd find eggs. When we woke up Sunday morning, Mother said the Easter bunny had left eggs and a gift inside. Behind a door, we found two paper mache bunnies with a small basket on his back. The grass awaited there, so we raced around the rooms, finding eggs everywhere.
Do you have any special memories of days gone by?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. We didn't have egg hunts, and I don;t actually recall an Easter bunny. But we painted hard-boiled eggs and then rolled them. This was an old Lancashire custom, dating back to the Middle Ages. There was a park in my home town which had a wide grassy hill. People used to go there on Easter Monday (and still do), to roll their eggs down the hill. If it was raining, we just had to roll them along the rug in front of the fire at home instead of going to the park. Until I was about 9, sweets and chocolate were still rationed (following WW2) so I never had any chocolate eggs as a child, just hard-boiled ones!

  2. Paula--oh, I didn't have anything chocolate, either, until the war ended. I think I was four at the time.
    I've heard of egg rolls. The White House, I think, holds and Egg Roll on the lawn...I'm not sure about that. I'll pay attention this weekend.
    Easter egg hunts were just so much fun. We always did them after church.As a kid, I wanted them hidden again and again...I liked looking for them in the yard.
    We guarded our "stash" in our baskets with intensity. Dare anyone take an egg from my basket. After a couple of days or so, Mother would gather up those that weren't smashed, and use them in potato salad.
    Good memories.
    Thanks for sharing yours, and have a beautiful Sunday!

  3. Our 'rationing' didn't end until about 1953, way after the end of the war. And the White House has stolen its egg rolling idea from good old England! I'm going to write something about that when I get to Q in the A-Z Challenge this month - Quaint Customs, including what are called Pace-Eggers. Q will be the letter of the day on April 19th, so check my blog then LOL!

  4. Celia,
    I was a child in the 70's. I remember the hand woven baskets with construction paper, chocolate bunnies (but they never tasted that good) and new dresses. We never did Easter egg hunts. When I was 17 I went and bought chocolate from the best chocolate company in Manchester, VanOtis and arranged an Easter egg hunt for my cousins at my grandmother's house. They had a blast. The adults somewhat frowned on the activity (I think they thought they were upstaged by a 17 year old) but they didn't say much because they saw how much fun the kids had.

    Nowadays I buy new outfits for the boys, they get "high end" chocolate (because I refuse to buy the cheap stuff because the cheap stuff tastes bad) and we do egg hunts. Easter is much funner for me as an adult than as a child.

    BUT - the whole reason for the season is the happiness that Jesus has risen from the dead and that's one message that resonates with me throughout the day and one I hope my boys take to heart.


  5. Wow, that brought back so many memories. Not just of Easter, but of growing up in West Texas. Remember walking home from school (in a dress, of course) and that sand and grit stinging your legs and face? I agree that Easter has turned into a commercial event instead of the Holy celebration it really is. I remember in high schoool I baked my dad his favorite coconut cake for Easter, but I put a nest of green coconut filled with jelly beans in the center.

  6. I never heard of Easter bunnies and egg hunts until recently. Growing up we had new dresses to wear at the grandparents' Easter luncheon. The whole family went to church for the midnight Mass.

  7. Your post brought back some serious memories, Celia. We always got new Easter clothes, and after church, we'd go over to my Mamaw's for an egg hunt and dinner. We always had straw baskets, but between the Easter bunny and the grandparents, they were filled with chocolate eggs, jelly beans and (my favorite) the hard-shelled candy eggs that were hollow inside.

    I grew up in Ohio, so it was always cold for Easter. Even if it had been 80 degrees the week before, come Good Friday it would get cold and stay that way until after Easter Monday.

    Paula, I know they rolls eggs in England (and cheese). I've never been able to find out why, though. Do you know how the tradition started? It is a race?

  8. I can still smell the vinegar, too, Celia. The mess, color everywhere and all those hard boiled eggs. It was wonderful and a good memory. BUT just the other day I was thinking about a friend I hadn't thought of in a while. We were teens and sitting in his parents small living area. It was raining so no egg hunt. Little did we know, while we played the board game both our Mom's were hiding eggs in the room where we sat. One even lifted up my arm and put an egg next to me and I didn't even pay attention. We were so shocked when we found out what they'd done. A happy memory of days gone by.

    Thanks for sharing your stories. Our parents were quite wonderful, weren't they?! It was an easier time in those days and everything seemed to be more appreciated and a lot more homemade was enjoyed.

  9. Steph--you amaze me.I'm proud of you for stepping in and making hunting eggs a part of our Easter celebration.
    I went through a period in my life that I thought the egg hunts and candy were somehow sacreligious, but changed my mind. Yes, we know the real reason for Easter, and if someone doesn't more the pity for them. I learned to see it all as part of a new life celebrations--in the Christian's heart, the new life of our Lord.
    Thus eggs and new things, and happiness.
    Thanks for sharing that part of your life.

  10. Caroline---I figured you'd remember the sand and grit hitting your legs, and of course, getting in our eyes. It seemed like there was always a cold front at Easter, well, even today--I always expect cold weather on Easter. And we often get it.
    We were lucky this year!
    Hope your Sunday was wonderful.

  11. Mona--I can't imagine anyone not knowing about Easter bunnies and egg hunts, but of course it all depends on where you grew up.Thanks for commenting.

  12. Keena--oh, we often had cold Easter, too. Ohio, more so, I'm sure, but we called them Easter cold fronts. The cold wind would often interfere with our egg hunts.
    I want Paul to explain the egg rolling business to me, too. I think I'll Google it--it would be interesting to find out. There surely is a good reason.
    Thanks for sharing your Easter memories.

  13. Paisley--those were the days, weren't they? It'f funny that you didn't know they were hiding the eggs! Kids are like that--pay no attention to adults at times.
    Hope your Easter was wonderful!

  14. Hi Celia,

    We had very traditional Easters. I remember the white shoes, of course, and the little lacy socks that went with them.

    Our family Easter egg hunts were always a challenge. One reason was the disparity in ages of us kids. The older kids always got the eggs before me and my little brother. A few years later, the older kids would hide about two dozen eggs for us. Then we'd race outside and try to find them, but we had stiff competition from the neighborhood dogs. We were lucky to nab a half dozen each. But what fun.

    Happy Easter, my friend!

  15. Celia, a very good blog to bring back many memories.I will always remember one Easter when there was a deep unexpected snow following warmer weather. Jonquils were blooming and my grandmother hid Easter eggs in the snow under the yellow jonquil blooms. Yes, we do get deep snow in West Kentucky!
    Happy Easter to all and to all goodnight.