This post doesn’t have much to do with fiction, unless you count embellishing the past to be used as a scene in a novel. I guess much of my past has been used this way – there’s plenty of truth in all my fiction. But today my thoughts bring me to Easters of the past, some from my really long-ago past, and how much things have changed.
Okay, I’m getting nostalgic. Sentimental. Yearning for a more simple time (or maybe just the naivety of childhood). I remember a new Easter outfit every year, with shiny patent leather shoes, a straw hat, white gloves (can you imagine?) and a bright, pastel topper jacket that was so light, I swear the thing was made of spongy foam. The thing is, you wore that outfit, even if was twenty degrees outside and you had to climb over four feet of snow to get to the car – just to fall asleep in church during a marathon high mass. See above as an example of yours truly, dressed to kill at five years old.
We kids were plied with so much chocolate, not to mention jelly beans and Peeps, that I’m shocked we’re not all diabetics. As if the candy wasn’t enough calories, we piled into the car again after church to ride to my grandmother’s tiny apartment – where twenty kids with thick towels covering our new dresses and suits sat on chairs with ironing boards stretched out between them to accommodate more tiny behinds, and downed heavy, delicious homemade cavatelli (gavadeels for all you Italians out there), and meatballs that were actually fried before they went into the gravy (sauce for all you non-Italians). Of course there were vegetables and salads, which we kids never bothered with except for a tiny bite at the very end of the meal so we could say, truthfully, yeah, we ate some greens.
Easter dinner at my Irish grandma’s house was pretty much the same, except we had things like spring lamb or a huge, greasy ham (there was no such thing as high-sodium or cholesterol back then). Still, different cultures are basically all the same. The towels came out to cover the new clothes, the kids ate first, and then were unceremoniously shooed outside when their meal was done so the grownups could sit down, eat in peace, and possibly, after dinner was through, play cards (yeah, for money).
The holiday was colorful, loud, crazy, discombobulated, and a whole lot of fun. I miss that.
Even raising my own kids, we fussed more. There were baskets to fill, eggs to be colored, flowers to be bought, plans to made as to which grandmother would feed us on Easter Sunday, and which one would be taken out to lunch the day before and brought candy and flowers.
Things are so different now. So quiet, so up-in-the-air, so not-a-big-deal, so laid-back, so sad! Things change, and not necessarily for the better.
So there are my Easter memories – not exactly steeped in religion, but bursting with traditions that no longer apply in today’s world. Ah, for the good old days.
Have a glorious Easter, girls and boys.