Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easters Past

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.

6 comments:

MsCaroline said...

Wilma - I loved reading about your Mom's Easter dinners! Even more interesting because you have mentioned before on KF that you are not a big holiday person. Our Easter this year was a non-Easter. Chan, of course, was not here. I was still too swollen and miserable to drive to the store to get goodies for the Easter baskets like I'd planned, and of course no Easter Dinner since I couldn't eat it, not to mention cook it. No church, of course. And Sutton was working. Cullen and I had dinner at a neighbor's, but obviously I couldn't eat much. All in all: not great. I've always been a holiday person but this year it just passed me by. I enjoyed reading about your Easters past...thanks for sharing...

Mel R said...

I know what you mean. I grew up with tons of family and cousins around at every holiday with dinners and church and cookouts, etc. Bren has had none of that and never will because we will always live in other states plus me and the hubby are a bit on the anti-social side, him more than me though, so having people over for dinner will just never happen. I feel guilty about it but it is what it is.

Wilma said...

Thanks, Carolyne. I like to write about that stuff sometimes. It keeps the memories alive for me. I miss my folks a lot when the holidays come around but I especially miss my mother at those times because she loved them so. I'm sorry you're still hurting. I hope it will go away quickly. I'm praying that you'll be all fixed up in no time. :)

Wilma said...

I know what you mean about the anti-social bit. We are pretty much too. I'm extremely shy (I know, I know, nobody who only knows me through the computer will believe it LOL) and John doesn't really like having people over or going to other people's homes so there you have it. LOL It's not a big deal really because Sean could care less. I just feel bad sometimes because it feels like I'm cheating him out of something because it meant so much to me as a kid. :(

Karen said...

I enjoyed it as well, Wilma, having missed Easter this year due to our travels. The traveling was great but I did miss our Easter celebration! I didn't really care for Easter as a kid...long Mass then a trip to the convent to visit my great aunt, the nun. All the sisters delighted in seeing children and fussed over us something awful. The convent was a cool place, though and we did enjoy exploring. Christmas was much better!

Wilma said...

Christmas was okay. She was big into decorating for that. LOL The best part of Christmas when I was in elementary school was that we went to FL for it and stayed with my Gramma and Uncle Howard. I loved that because I got to share the bed with Gramma and we talked half the night. Also I got to sit in Uncle Howard's lap as much as I wanted and for as long as I wanted and I was a frustrated cuddler. haha I didn't get to do that at home because my mother said I was too heavy and my dad's bad leg didn't really lend itself to that. :( Also my Gram and Grampy wintered in FL during those years and we would go see them as well and I loved playing shuffleboard with Grampy and his friends at the trailerpark. I missed them so much when they quit taking care of me after kinder.