Easter used to be a big deal, but not so much anymore.
We went up to Boston (Natick, actually) to visit the kids and grandson. I even managed to get out of going to church on Easter morning, thus cutting my annual church attendance in half. There were two masses offered at the local church at 7:00 and 9:00 on Easter morning. Elisabeth and I told Kathie we would accompany her to the 9:00, but count us out for the 7:00. She opted for the early mass, thus giving us an extra two hours of sleep while damning our souls to perdition in the process.
She reported that most of the attendees were elderly people. We had brunch at a local café where most of our fellow diners, young family groups mostly, were wearing the usual assortment of faded jeans, rumbled t-shirts and greasy Red Sox caps; not a lacy dress or pill box hat in the crowd.
That’s the way it seems to be for us anyway: Easter is just another Sunday.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was growing up, Easter was right up there with Christmas on the holidays-to-look-forward-to list. Of course, you had to get through Lent first when you were expected to give up something you liked and keep a Lenten box that you filled with leftovers from your allowance and turned in to the nun on the last day of school before Easter vacation. If you filled it up, you received a glow in the dark statue of the Infant of Prague. It was pretty neat actually.
My sister and I each got a new set of clothes and my mom got a new hat. My Dad’s standing joke was that he got a new pair of shoelaces. I don’t recall if I got a new suit every year, but I vividly recall getting a handsome grey suit with pink pin stripes when I was ten or eleven. This was a very hot color combo in the fifties. We were going to my aunt’s for Easter dinner and while waiting outside for my parents I got to running around with some friends in the vacant lot next door. I fell and tore the knee out of my new suit.
I don’t recall if I was punished but remember that my mother cried, the worst form of punishment I could receive.
We believed in the Easter Bunny, although not with the fervor with which we embraced Santa Claus. A large rabbit who delivered candy and colored eggs was a stretch even for naïve children of the fifties. Still a basket of candy appeared every Easter Sunday morning and we sure as hell weren’t asking any questions.
We made a big deal about it when our kids were little: dying eggs for the bunny to hide, putting the baskets out after they went to bed, and getting dressed up for church. Kathie didn’t get a new hat and I didn’t get shoelaces since I always preferred laceless shoes.
I can’t imagine kids still believe in the Easter Bunny today, though they might say they do. I miss the big fella. Here, on the day after Easter, there is not a piece of chocolate or a hard boiled egg to be found; no sugar egg that you can hold up to your eye and view an Easter scene; no marshmallow chicks or jelly beans.
I guess to recapture the Easter spirit I will have to get in touch with my Inner Rabbit. He says his name is Harvey.