Friday, April 10, 2009

Making Memories

Packed away in a box marked “Easter,” are four baskets made of woven wooden slats. When they were new their colors sang together in bright spring hues of purple and yellow and pink. Now the colors are faded to soft memories and one basket is missing its handle. Each one still holds its nest of green, shredded paper “grass,” matted now and permanently indented with egg-shaped hollows where, years ago, heavy, handmade chocolate eggs decorated with swirls of pastel flowers lay in wait for Easter morning. There is a small crocheted chick in each basket. They used to snuggle over hardboiled eggs that had been dipped in colored water until the shells turned pink or green or heavenly blue

On Easter morning there were decorated, hand-blown eggs, the fragile shells painted with tiny skipping bunnies or miniature bouquets of flowers. There were also small, foil wrapped chocolate eggs, soft, sugary marshmallow Peeps, a handful of jellybeans scattered like fragments of a rainbow, and always a small toy—a plastic yellow chick that, when pressed down, laid a tiny white egg, a wind-up bird that hopped frantically about on stiff little legs, a gracefully sculptured rabbit painted robin’s egg blue with the faintest bit of pink blushing its long, delicate ears.

When I was a child, there was an exciting newness to Easter morning. New clothes were bought especially for Easter Sunday church services and the soles of new shoes had to be scuffed. Finding the carefully hidden Easter baskets was part of the excitement. It was the only morning I was allowed to have candy for breakfast. Dinner was traditional, too. Glazed ham alternated each year with roast lamb and there was fresh asparagus and a coconut covered cake baked in Memere’s cast iron lamb mold.

Even after they all went off to college, my kids would still come home for Easter dinner, and though the holiday had long since ceased to hold any religious significance for me, I clung to certain rituals. Early on Sunday morning the kids would drift sleepily into the kitchen, fetch cups of coffee and ask, just as they had when they were small, “Did the Easter Bunny come?” Then they would set off in search of their baskets, the same ones they remembered from early childhood. The Bunny never disappointed them. This year, however, with all my children far away and the grandchildren with plans of their own, the baskets will stay packed away in the box marked “Easter.” It is a landmark of sorts, the same way Christmases and birthdays away from home become milestones in the process of growing up. But, the baskets will keep, just as the memories have.

photo credit:


red dirt mule said...

during the last two years, easter has come and gone in my house .... the bunny making a belated pit stop at the house. it put major confusion in the mind of my youngest.

this year, baskets have been prepared for weeks. and the youngest slyly points out that he KNOWS who the easter bunny is... sigh.

i, too, remember the brand new Easter outfits and the shiny patent shoes that pinched toes. the easter egg hunts where my 7 yr older than me brother would always help me find the prize egg. cheating i suppose ...

i have some lovely painted ukranian blown eggs .... somewhere in that garage. i'll think of them on easter.


ps. what time's dinner ??

Barbara said...

I wonder what ever happened to my Easter basket? I did love getting up early on Easter Sunday to attend the sunrise service. I also loved Easter dresses and getting all dressed up, sometimes with new white shoes.

Paul said...

Nice description - "newness" is the best single word I'd use to describe my memories of Easter too. And it must be fantastic to have had the kind of continuity in life that lets you/your children/granchildren remain in contact with your family past in a physical way.

Pauline said...

RDM - we blew and painted eggs too. I had one for years but with all the moving I've done, it got broken along the way. IN all my years, I've never gone on and Easter Egg hunt!

Barbara - I had one pair of white patent leather shoes and I loved them! Every other year they were black.

Paul - I sometimes spend Easter alone now when everyone else gathers with the ex. I still make myself a roast lamb dinner and buy a dark chocolate bunny from the handmade chocolate store in town. After dinner, I take a long walk in the spring sunshine and count my blessings :)

Anonymous said...

You took me back. What fun it was blowing and decorating eggs.My kids are elsewhere this year but I carry on just like you!I hope you are enjoying your Easter as much as I am mine.

meg said...

What a lovely post. We were talking yesterday about our differing traditions, with friends, who still have a young child. We never did the egg hunt thing, & my brother & I only ever got one egg each as children, from our mother.
We did used to decorate hard boiled eggs though, & that was fun.