Easter Past and Present

Easter will always conjure up great childhood memories of Easter Egg hunts at grandma’s house.  Each year all the grandchildren would go to her house in Haymarket, Virginia, and the parents would go outside to hide the hardboiled eggs we dyed the night before.  We all waited inside while grandma would make sure we didn’t peak out the windows. 

Then, the parents would all yell, “Ready!”  It was a thrilling, mad dash out the door and off the porch, baskets filled with green celephane grass in hand.  Always, always, there was an egg in the hole of an old tree in the middle of the yard.  Each year as we got older and that tree grew taller, the hole was harder to reach for the little ones.  That egg was the first one we all ran for, like an Easter beacon. 

The real prize though was the one coveted Golden Egg.  If you found this treasure, you got a special basket of Easter candy with the centerpiece of a chocolate bunny.  While there was real competition between all of us cousins, we also were a team.  We’d pass by the easy eggs in the grass and point them out to the younger kids, and we’d help the kids who had fewer eggs to fill up their baskets so that nobody got left out of the game.

Easter at Grandma's in Haymarket, VA, 1969 and 1974

It was a rite of passage when I became the parent hiding the eggs.  For the past several years our family has hosted the neighborhood Easter Egg hunt.  Its a tradition that has gone through many evolutions — as now it is in our backyard in Los Angeles, where our diverse group of friends and neighbors gather.  Some are Christians, some are Jewish, some are Buddist.  We use plastic eggs now, filled mostly with toy prizes, to avoid food allergy issues; and the Golden Egg was tossed out, as some parents thought it would create too much competition and dissappointment.  We also made sure that we had gender-neutral prizes, eschewing the princess rings and superhero bouncy balls at the Dollar Store for bunny and chickee shaped erasers and stickers.

I do appreciate that times have changed, and so has the Easter Egg hunt, but I sure do long for that excited scramble for the Golden Egg and the cherished memory of taking home the foil-wrapped solid chocolate bunny.  I only got it once, and I think my brother probably let me find it first that year, but I will never forget it.

 

 

and run off her porch to gather as many eggs as we could

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