Aunt Carol with Lucite Handbag, sister Judy, Mother(Pregnant with my sister Abigail), Mariellen, Claudia, Grandma,center my sister Martha Gertrude
Mr. Wonderful and I retired to Florida seven years ago and can now say we like living here. The weather is my biggest challenge. It is simply too hot and there is little change in the seasons. I miss the smells of spring and Easter that prompt renewal with a burst of color.
I can recall Easter as a young child living on Long Island. The Dogwood trees bloomed and the pink flowers used to make corsages. The Weeping Willows wore yellow-green buds to announce the occasion.
I remember Easter Baskets, the kind filled with love, jelly beans, and hollow chocolate eggs laced with confectioners squiggle. Our grandmother made them for us eight kids, niece and nephews; a total of twelve baskets.
She filled them with squishy marshmallow chicks called Peeps, jump ropes, jacks, spanking clean pink Spaulding balls and laced trimmed socks for the girls; and army men, matchbox cars, baseball cards, and sunglasses or shades, for the boys. When teens, panty hose and paper underwear replaced the socks.
She continued the tradition with my children until she died.
My grandmother baked butter cookies made to look like Easter baskets filled with dyed eggs, by adding a handle, shredded coconut, and jelly beans. She used cookie cutters for Bunnies with chocolate ears, and included mini linzer cookies filled with cherry jelly, egg white cookies laced with walnuts and her famous chocolate chips cookies.
We usually had new dresses and shiny black patent leather shoes, bought by Aunt Carol at Macy’s 34th Street. The shoes were a perfect fit because Aunt Carol would trace our feet on card board, cut out the pattern and bring it with her to the store.
Aunt Carol always carried a pretty handbag
Easter morning, after the excitement of the baskets, my mother dressed us in order of our behavior. Once wearing our new clothes we were told, “Sit on the couch, and don’t move, or else!” And we didn’t. Drew, the youngest at the time, was dressed, after my mother dressed, and held by the hand until he was in the car and Mass over.
I remember Easter Egg Hunts where real dyed hard-boiled eggs were hidden outside and eaten later no matter how much dirt was brushed off.
After mass, the company arrived, and when the whistle blew, we ran, desperate to be the first to find THE GOLDEN EGG, a chocolate egg wrapped in gold foil. I did not know my brother, Victor, cheated and looked ahead, while I closed my eyes and prayed to find the Golden Egg just once. The prize was one dollar.
Although Easter is about baskets and hunts, it is really about hats. as seen in the above picture.
I remember being in a panic shopping at Montgomery Ward’s, the day before Easter, and thrilled to find the hat I am wearing, an exact match to my homemade celery- green coat. Judy was ecstatic about her hat, the red band makes the outfit pop, and Mariellen’s was simply perfect. Don’t we look marvelous?
. . . . just saying