Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Easter comes but once a year, but the chocolate you eat will stay on your hips forever.

What the hell ever happened to the Easter bonnet? When I was a kid, all 4 of us little girls (my sisters and I) would line up in our fancy dresses, with our little white socks with the ruffle trim folded down over our patent leather shoes, and my mother would curl our bangs just so, thus ensuring that our hair would be worthy and do justice to our Easter bonnets.

This picture was taken in 1984 when there were still only 2 of us, and only 1 of us had hair enough to curl, but by god we wore our bonnets, with all the frills upon it. We were the grandest ladies at the Easter parade. I sometimes think that my sisters and I were the last kids to ever wear the Easter bonnet because I haven't seen it since.

Another Easter staple of my childhood was the poncho. The Easter poncho (hand knitted, of course) was especially exciting because we certainly didn't get to wear it just any old Easter. No, it had to be a very mild Easter indeed where we would be granted permission to wear the Poncho instead of the dreaded "dress coat" that we'd been wearing to church all winter long. You see, my mother was one of those militant types who strongly believed that if we didn't wear coats, we would all die messy, phlegmy deaths. So the poncho was a treat. It meant spring, and relief, was here.

We always hunted for eggs in the morning, even when we were all cranky teenagers and we didn't wake before noon anymore. This being Canada, we only hunted indoors, but my mother must have hidden hundreds of eggs around the house, some of which were never found, and are probably still rotting in dark crevices of that old house today (don't worry - we never used real eggs as some families do; we were strictly into chocolate). I never found as many eggs as the others because I am not a morning person and not particularly industrious either. Not to worry; my mother always insisted we dump the eggs into one communal basket and "share". Hah.

We often would receive small presents in addition to chocolate.

In 1990, as you can see, we received neon sunglasses. What you can't see is that we also got neon sandals to match. Styling. Often we would receive some "spring" toys, like bubble wands, skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk, and butterfly nets (which, though we never caught any butterflies, we often came home with toads, much to my mother's dismay).

This was also the Easter that my baby sister, then 3, caught the chicken pox and generously gave it to my father. While the rest of us ate ham, the two of them soaked in a baking soda-bath that didn't do much to relieve the itching. The rest of us tried to feign sympathy as we strutted about in our ponchos, caught toads, and pretended to eat all the chocolate.

When I was a teenager, I began to think that perhaps 13 lbs of chocolate was not the best thing for my waist line. Ingeniously, my mother took it upon herself to hide fruit that year. Of course, it's much harder to hide a watermelon than a tiny chocolate egg, and the results were as preposterous as you are imagining. I also had little use for frog-catching paraphenalia and my bonnet days were over (as I was then going through a bit of a mohawk phase), so my mother started me on my Easter purse collection.

It's so fuzzy and pink, could it be anything other than an Easter purse? I think not. It's also so impractical that if I didn't limit my usage of it to 2 or 3 days per year, it would either drive me mad, or turn into Easter garbage. It didn't come with money, it came with "cotton candy" pink hair dye inside - just the perfect colour to for ushering in spring.

This is my best-loved Easter handbag. The pastel beading reminds me of an Easter egg. This one I "inherited" from a deceased woman who had no further use for it. I've since seen other antique Goldco bags on ebay, but I've yet to see this exact one...and yes, I do wish I had the Easter bonnet to match.

These days I have relinquished my role as Easter egg hunter because I have become the Easter egg hider. No, I don't have children, but I do have a husband who missed out on some key elements of his childhood and as long as they involve chocolate, he is more than happy to relive them. If we're brave (or drunk), we may even try our hand at dying some eggs, because frankly, the stain-to-furniture ratio has been appallingly low lately, and let's face it, now that I've posted the neon glasses, what's left for next year? I'll turn out my famous Easter cakes and keep none for myself, watch Jason blow up Peeps in the microwave, and maybe, just maybe, I'll go outside without my coat.

Please feel free to share your own Easter memories/plans/traditions in the comments section.

And remember, real men hunt with a bucket, not with a basket.

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