It was a gorgeous Easter day here in Ohio. Nothing but sunshine and blue skies! I made my mom’s spaghetti sauce and meatballs this morning and let everything simmer on the stove all day before assembling a big pan of lasagna for our holiday dinner.
The smell of that wonderful sauce gently bubbling away and having lasagna for dinner brought back happy memories of Easters past. When my daughter was growing up, most of our egg hunts were done indoors due to the typically cold, wet Midwest weather – but we never missed one! And as with all of our holidays Mom was up early and making all kinds of magic in the kitchen. No one could put together a scrumptious meal like she could.
The photo above is one of my favorites; her and Jess at Easter – I’m guessing 1989. So funny to see her with white hair; she was only 52, a few years older than I am now.
My Favorite Easter Cape
Of course, the real throwback years were the late 1960s and early 1970s. When I was a little girl, wearing a special Easter dress and hat was the norm. It was always exciting to get dressed up for church that morning and slip on those shiny patent leather shoes! For some reason, one of the most vivid childhood memories I have is of the year my mom made me a cape – she was a fantastic seamstress and made a lot of my clothes back then.
I just remember the little dogwood tree exploding with pink blossoms, as my dad took pictures of us standing in front of it. I loved that cape so much! It was robin’s egg blue, and had those giant frog fasteners on the front. I think I may have even worn white gloves that year! Boy, how things have changed.
Sweet Easter Memories
Back in those days, Easter was chock full of tradition. Every year, we would go to Cummings Candy Shop on Main Street where Mom would buy huge chunks of milk chocolate. I doubt I was tall enough to see over the counter, but I was the perfect size for gazing through the glass display cases at all the mouthwatering treats!
Mom made two varieties of eggs, peanut butter and fruit & nut. I remember watching her carefully form the sweet white concoction for the fruit & nut version into perfectly shaped eggs. Perfectly shaped! I wanted so badly to be able to do that, but mine looked like big oval blobs of white stuff!
Even years later when I made them as an adult, they didn’t come close to Mom’s beautiful confections! Like a paintbrush to an artist’s canvas, she would use a butter knife to cover them in the delectable melted chocolate from Cummings, and the finished eggs were flawless – she even managed to get the swirly designs just right!
Then, of course, there was the beautifully braided shiny Easter bread and Italian taralles. It was the special time when I got my own cup of hot tea to dunk the taralles in – yum!!
Good Friday: Remembering Grandma
My paternal grandmother died on Good Friday when I was around six-years-old. I’m not sure if I actually remember the priest coming to the door or if I’ve created that imagery in my mind based on Mom’s telling of the day’s events. She was very close to Grandma Napoletan, having lived right next door and learning everything she knew about Italian cooking and baking from her.
For as long as I can remember, she told the Good Friday story as Easter drew near; I think that must have been a devastating day for her.
My mom was only 29 when she lost her own mother just a few months before I was born. Now having lost her, I can’t even wrap my head around saying goodbye to such an important person at that age, especially while being pregnant.
My Guardian Angel
Odd, but I remember when Mom died just ten days before Christmas, one of the first things I thought of was my grandma’s passing all those years ago. I wondered if I would be telling the story of Christmas 2012 as the holidays approached from here ever after.
One thing is for certain; holidays certainly do stir up memories. I’m still not at a point where I can remember much about my mom before Alzheimer’s took over, and I pray that changes with time. Every now and then, though, I get a clear vision of Mom as she was when I was a child, and it makes me smile… My sweet Guardian Angel, always and forever. I love you, Mom. <3