Tell me about some of your favorite Easter memories. What made them so special?
Easter is the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and a cherished holiday, its only rival being Christmas. The entire family would dress up in their best clothes, attend Mass at Our Lady of Mercy and go out for brunch. Our family did not eat out very often so that in and of itself was special. It’s also a kind of unofficial start to spring, so by Easter, the days were getting longer, temperatures warmer and we were a couple of months away from our summer break from school.
A day or two before Easter my siblings and I would get to color a few eggs for the Sunday afternoon hunt and deciding what color, or better yet, colors to use caused much deliberation. A hard-boiled egg would be suspended on a copper wire which was bent to hold the egg on its bottom half. If one color was desired, the egg would be carefully rolled off the wire at the bottom of the glass of dye where it would lay submerged, soaking up the dye. The dye started out as a tablet, the proper amount of vinegar was added, and we would stare at the tablet as it slowly dissolved. Deciding how long to leave the egg covered was crucial. Too little and the egg would be pale and have to be dunked again. Left too long, the egg would soak up too much dye and be darker than desired. A bi-colored egg would require a strong and steady hand, holding it half-submerged for several minutes, allowing it to dry, and repeating the process on the remaining white side with another color. I think making the Easter eggs was more fun than trying to find them after our parents hid them. Inhaling vinegar to this day always takes me back.
My children grew up with the same thrill of coloring Easter eggs. When they were very young it was easy to hide those eggs in places that they would initially overlook but obvious when they slowed down a bit. But there are only so many places to hide eggs outdoors and they quickly learned where Dad liked to place them. I had to get creative and discovered that kids, like all humans, don’t naturally look up and any hiding place above eye level was the same as being invisible. The first year using my new method resulted in a very long hunt and a couple of frustrated kids. They eventually caught on, of course, and like many things that make childhood special, they outgrow it and move on, but the memories last forever.
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