We are not holiday people by any stretch of the imagination. We don't really celebrate any of them to any great extent. It's very different from when I was growing up. Mama was Mrs. Holiday as anyone who knew her can attest to. I'm sure many of her students might remember her witch get-up for Halloween or the Santa hat and vest that she wore during the last week before Christmas break.
Easter was always a big deal for her too. We always decorated several dozen eggs as a family and they hid them for me. I also remember getting Easter baskets every year. I still have the wonderful Pooh Bear that was in my Easter basket in 1968. He was my constant companion (at home) until I was 12. He's even travelled across the US many times as well as to Canada and Alaska. He wasn't allowed to go to the British Isles with us in 1969 though as they were afraid he'd go missing. He had to wait at Aunt Dora and Uncle Joe's house in PA until we got home. I also remember the Easter when I was about 13 or 14 and we were in Tucson for the weekend. We went to services at Catalina United Methodist Church and it was so crowded and hot in there that I passed out right in the middle of singing a hymn and Daddy had to cart me out to get fresh air. After I got married they would always invite us out for Easter dinner and we would go to the lovely buffet they used to have (or maybe still do, I don't know) over at the Holiday Inn on Palo Verde. It was fun.
My fondest memories though are of her Easter dinners. She was from a large family and I think she never quite got used to only having three at the table, especially on holidays. Every Easter that she was home she would invite several of the ladies from our church who were widowed to share Easter dinner with us in our home. She would plan and cook the dinner and we would break out her fancy Wedgwood dishes, Waterford Crystal and sterling silver. I was allowed to set the table with the dishes but I had to be EXTREMELY careful and she carried them to the table for me. The Saturday before was spent polishing the silver--with Noxon's Silver Polish, of course. (That was her maiden name and her grandfather was the one who had invented it, or so I've been told.) It was my job to make decorations for the table. I remember one year making little blue Easter baskets out of crepe paper. They came out quite well, as I recall. We put a little bit of Easter grass and jelly beans in them and placed them at each place. I know there were other decorations that I made on other years but those are the ones that stand out in my mind. I loved getting ready for it because she would be so excited and happy to be planning a special dinner with people over.
The day itself was wonderful too. The ladies that she invited were Annie Huff, Nellie Lantz, and Alma Wootan, if anyone from home is reading this and remembers them. They were such fine ladies. I loved them dearly. I always had to play the piano for them while we were waiting for dinner to finish as Miss Annie had been one of my first piano teachers and she always wanted to hear how I had progressed. I remember sitting on the sofa cuddling with Miss Nellie. I think that was my favorite part as I never got enough cuddling after my grandparents left Willcox. She loved my long, thick hair and she would braid it into the most beautiful, intricate braids. She told me that it reminded her of her best friend's hair when they were children. She had always had thin hair that would barely make one decent braid but she loved braiding so she had learned to braid on her best friend's hair and enjoyed doing mine as well. I remember Miss Alma telling me about her husband who had been a sheep-herder and she told me her first married home was in a cave and she had to learn to cook all their meals over an open fire. They were such fascinating ladies. Miss Annie was a gifted pianist and Miss Alma sang in our church choir and had a beautiful singing voice. After dinner we would all retire to the living room and I would cuddle with Miss Nellie some more while Miss Annie and Miss Alma treated us to a beautiful concert of hymns from an old hymnal that my mother owned. I loved those afternoons and was always so sad when it was time for Daddy to take them home.
Sometimes now I think back on those times and the wonderful people I was surrounded with when I was growing up. That town had so many wonderful people living there at the time. I was truly blessed to know some of the people I knew. It makes me sad that my son doesn't have those types of memories but then I realize that he is such a totally different type of child than I was that he wouldn't enjoy stuff like that. He would want it to end before it even started. It makes me sad but that's just the way life is, I suppose.
Happy Easter to all of you from our corner of the world. Hope you all had a wonderful day.