The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Beyond The Picket Fence

by Sherryanne De La Boise

Easter Sunday

On Sundays, we change our sheets, bathe, dress beautifully for church, followed by Family Obligation Dinner at high noon. After which, everybody naps. Dad had a labor intensive job, as did Grandfather and nearly every adult, in the family. Regardless of the weather, hunting season, or other enticements, whether behind a newspaper or under the covers, the Sunday afternoon nap has been a sacred event, in my family, for generations.

One Easter Sunday, when my sister and I were tiny, the Easter Bunny left an empty basket on each of our bedposts. We filled our baskets by hunting around the house for brightly colored plastic eggs, filled with candy. The baby sister only found a few, as finding an egg, she promptly sat down and delightedly opened and closed every one previously found, matching the colors perfectly. Much to my annoyance, Mother kept pilfering from my burgeoning basket, placing them in plain sight for the baby to find.

Following wisdom of a small child, if the baby was so thrilled with the plastic eggs, and I was more interested in the candy contents, well you know what I spent nap time doing… She awoke to a basket piled high with empty shells. She was delighted! Mother was not! Mother continued to lecture me about this thievery well into adulthood, never understanding the gift of all of my plastic eggs.

The following Easter, we flew to Cambridge, Massachusetts to visit our Aunt in her apartment with the very long hallway. Spent half of our time there running and sliding down that highly polished floor, ruining those white fold-down socks, with ruffle trim.

The rest of the time, dressed in our Easter best, we saw the sights of Boston. Although I have a scrapbook to remind me of the historical sights we saw in Boston, like the house with Seven Gables or Old Ironsides, from that trip, I remember better the white hats we wore. They had long yellow ribbons, just like pretty Marlo Thomas wore in her TV show, ‘That Girl.’

We tried desperately to toss them into the air, twirl around and catch them on the downside, just like Marlo Thomas. It rarely worked. Our hats got a bit dented, The wrist length white gloves with tiny pearl buttons never recovered. We wore black patent leather shoes, lace petticoats, and matching above the knee-length smocked dresses with puffed sleeves under our matching Robin’s egg blue wool coats. Little girls of every socio-economic group always had a pretty new-to-them dress for Easter. In some ways, an above-the-knee girls’ dress is our American native costume (the topic of one of my first published papers).

We were terribly worried that the Easter Bunny would not find us. We made posters with specific instructions on how to climb the stairs to the correct apartment, then plastered the building and the front walk with these instructions. The upstairs apartment had a lively party, the night before, with our posters providing quite a bit of amusement for the arriving guests.

Downstairs from my Aunts lived Ralph Nader. He used to call my tiny Aunt "the little elephant," because she was heavy-footed walking overhead. He was not a morning person and would sleep through multiple alarm clocks, which woke my other Aunt. She would march downstairs and wake him, so he always made it to his law school classes on time.

"Unsafe At Any Speed" might never have occurred, if my Aunt had not been so diligent. But, Ralph Nader stories need to be another article.

The Easter Bunny did find us in the apartment in Cambridge. He tied kite strings to the foot of our beds. We had to wind them up, going over and under furniture, in and out of closets, around the dining room table, until we reached our respective baskets.

Thus started, the kite string tradition. Now that we are older, the Easter Bunny ties the kite strings to our chairs at Sunday dinner. After dinner, we wind them up, going around the house (inside and out), through shrubbery, in and out of cars, down the laundry shoot" That rabbit has gotten quite mischievous with his string antics" All to find a basket of colored boiled eggs, Fannie May candy and a new kite. For, our tradition has expanded to an afternoon of kite flying (to be ready for the nap, of course).

This year, in spite of COVID, there will still be Easter traditions. Jesus’s resurrection will be celebrated, though on Zoom. The poor rabbit will be laying string, although for less folks at our table. With two nonagenarians and three octogenarians, the strings might not be quite so long. But, there will still be strings, baskets and eggs. And, the Sunday afternoon nap will not be neglected.