In My Easter Basket

Ours were not this pretty!
Ours were not this pretty!

When I was a child, Easter meant dressing up for church on Easter Sunday, maybe even with a hat and gloves in my youngest years.  Daddy gave each of us girls a corsage to pin to our dress.  In good years it was an orchid, and in bad years it was a carnation.  So the celebration involved spring and going to church, as we did every Sunday, but with extra accessories.

For me the best part of Easter was the Easter basket which the Easter Bunny left for me.  Mother and I would color eggs with one of those Paas kits, robin’s egg blue, bright pink, pale yellow.  But these didn’t go in the basket.  The basket was always a surprise, even when I got to be a teenager.

Mother loved any holiday and believed strongly in special food and decorations.  One year she made an Easter cake for my nephew John B. which she had seen in Good Housekeeping or some other magazine.   It was a from-scratch white cake in graduated pans like a traditional wedding cake, with coconut frosting, and little nests of coconut dyed green holding multi-colored jelly beans. It was really cute, except the cake was too “short” (i.e., full of butter or, more likely, Crisco) and the layers crumbled as she tried to frost it.  John B. loved it anyway; I think he said it was an “Easter mountain.”

Mother in her guise as the Easter Bunny got the ingredients for the basket and put them together–colored fake grass, jelly beans, and a chocolate rabbit.  The rabbit was always hollow and not huge, because chocolate rabbits were expensive.  She never had such treats when she was a child, growing up on a farm before the Great Depression.  I never questioned why the Easter Bunny used the same basket every year!

But the best treat to me was the stuffed animal.  I loved stuffed animals and collected them, sleeping with my favorites.   Even as I got older Mother got me one.  One year she let me pick it out from the offerings at this old drug store in town.  It was a rabbit, but a brown one with longer fur that looked like a real rabbit, and was soft and squishy.  I loved that one dearly.

Happy Easter to everyone.  Spring is here at last, after an awfully long winter.

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