By Jeff Salter
Of course, I know the real point of Easter Sunday has nothing to do with bunnies, egg hunts, or candy. And it’s not supposed to be about new dresses with frilly gloves and bonnets and shiny shoes. [Or, for boys, a scratchy new sports coat and a new button-down shirt with an itchy stiff collar.]
But those are the contemporary trappings for many who take notice of this special day. Consequently, most memories of childhoods at Easter time likely involve something about baskets of candy and more-dressy-than-regular clothing.
And, yes, I have such memories.
My favorite aspect of Easter was dyeing eggs. I still remember that pungent smell of vinegar (and boiling ? water?) which was mixed with different concentrated tablets to make those several cups of vivid coloring.
Actually, regarding the outfits, I don’t recall the clothes. I more remember seeing those old black-&-white snapshots … and recall that I always felt gawky and uncomfortable in the clothing. In my case, however, it usually was NOT new clothing. My family practiced the time-honored tradition of hand-me-downs … so my ‘new’ trousers were my big brother’s old slacks and most likely didn’t fit me at all. Same for the shirts and sports coats. My parents splurged on the shoes, however, likely because they realized the physical harm of wearing wrong-sized shoes.
But the candy was perhaps the biggest snack event of the year. At no other time in my childhood were we lavished with tasty treats containing absolutely NO nutritional value whatsoever. It was wonderful.
I had different tastes than the others in my family, however. It seemed everybody else liked something called “Heavenly Hash” and another called “Gold Bricks”. I didn’t care for either of those, but I would eagerly trade with siblings for other goodies which I DID enjoy.
My all time favorite, of course, was pure milk chocolate. Most, I suppose, were molded as a bunny, and I loved both the solid and the hollow types. Still do, in fact.
One of the biggest retail days of the year – for me and my brother – was the Monday after Easter, when we’d ride bikes to town and visit the dime stories and drug stores looking for half-price candy. We never had a lot of money to spend, so having it go twice as far was a real victory.
As a grown-up, I still like to catch the candy on sale. I have a bit more money now, but still relish the bargain prices.
And I love seeing the grandkids get excited — about the new clothes, the basket of candy, and hunting eggs.
Yeah, the oldest grandkids already know that Easter is really about our risen Savior, rather than a benevolent bunny, but it’s still fun to see the excitement in the eyes of the littlest ones.
What do you remember about childhood Easter time?
Do you have a favorite candy?