It was normal to have company for Easter from up north. Relatives would take their holiday and drive to Florida. I was always excited to have company, to meet the relatives we rarely saw. This was long before Disney and as much as I liked them being here, I have absolutely no memories of what they did when they came. I do not recall our family doing anything out of the ordinary so company must have come and gone on their own. I do have a picture of my cousin Karen and me in the back yard sunbathing in our bikinis. I love that picture because it reminds me of when I was skinny enough to wear a bikini, and of course my love for Karen!
The Easter Bunny of course came to our house. Our baskets were hidden so first thing in the morning we would all be up running around trying to find them. They were filled with the typical chocolate bunnies, Peeps, Robin Eggs, jelly beans, etc. I fondly remember the year they came out with the giant Sweettart, I was very excited to find one in my basket. After Easter Mom used to collect all the uneaten chocolate, melt it down, add peanuts and freeze it. We would have chunks of it, which was delicious. Mom never let much go to waste. As we got older candies were replaced with shirts or other practical items but there was always an Easter basket for each of us.
I remember in first grade Catechism the nun asked why my Dad didn’t go to church and I told her he was a Prostitute. Dad loved that. Dad went to church with us three times a year, Mother’s Day, Christmas and Easter. When he was in church, he almost always fell asleep during the sermon and he always sang loud. It surprised me that he knew all the songs since he never went to church but he did and he loved to sing them. Did I say LOUD? We all had new clothes and shoes for Easter Sunday. Girls used to have to wear hats to church which I hated. Dad always bought Mom a beautiful orchid corsage, which is a tradition that you don’t see much anymore. I wonder why?
Mom planted all the Christmas poinsettias in the back yard along the fence and they grew as tall as the fence. At Easter they were still in bloom so our Easter family pictures used that as the backdrop. It is a little confusing why we are all dressed for spring and there are all those poinsettias.
Mom always set a formal table for holidays. I mostly remember Lamb for Easter dinner. After us kids married and moved on, Mom and Dad started having Easter Brunch for their friends and neighbors. They would really fuss and put on quite a spread. Dad made his own kielbasa and there was everything from eggs Benedict, sticky bread, hash browns, ham, it was all there. The house would be full and they enjoyed every minute of it. I think they were sad to give them up when it became too much work.
As I have matured I found that Easter means much more than the Easter Bunny and candy. I have embraced the religious holiday and those traditions. We still gather together to celebrate Easter. It’s less formal and new memories are being made. Times change, life changes but it is still a time for family.
Happy Easter Everyone.