While I am quite fond of them now, as a child I disliked eggs intensely. I vividly remember sitting in front of an eggcup containing a boiled egg and staring at the hateful thing as it grew cold. The rule was that I couldn’t get up from the table until I had finished whatever meal I was supposed to be eating. Sadly, I hated to sit still and perhaps would have been termed hyperactive if such a term had existed then. However, sooner or later I suppose I must have swallowed the contents of the eggcup and been released from my chair. The eating of it is not recorded in my memory.
While I certainly have some happy Easter memories I also have one that is not so. However, it is still vivid in my mind even after the many years filled with all the things I surely have forgotten. This was during World War II. My parents kept chickens, both for eggs and for food. We had quite a large flock of hens, and as I recall a rooster or two. There were times when they laid many more eggs than we needed. As anyone who has kept them will know, chickens lay in cycles, sometimes more sometimes less. When we had overage, my parents would sell the eggs to friends and occasionally to acquaintances.
This particular Easter I might have been eight or ten. My parents had too many eggs and decided to have an Easter egg hunt. All of their friends and most of their acquaintances had children so there were plenty of guests anticipated. The adults would have cocktails while the children hunted for eggs, and the person who found the most got a prize. While they hid them, I was told to stay in my room so I would not see where they were. Later they decided I ought not to participate because it was up to the guests to find them.
Fast forward to a happy memory: When my oldest daughters were grown enough to know about the Easter bunny they decided there ought to be one for the parents. Their father and I hid candy eggs for them and their younger siblings in various places in the house. Each year they in turn spent their own money for candy eggs for us and hid them in the kitchen, having told us it was off limits to hide eggs. Their delight as we hunted was a great joy, and what fun we had uncovering the Parent Easter bunny’s gifts.
Holidays often trigger memories of times gone by. These can be a treasure to hold and caress, most especially if they concern any who have passed on from this life. If there is sadness for us in them, perhaps it can be tempered by the happiness of our recollections. The most precious memories are those that remain for us to recount and perhaps to share with those who come after us. I once recorded my father on tape telling me about the chickens he had as a boy. There were only a few and they didn’t last long. Perhaps they were the inspiration for the ones he had as an adult that laid the eggs I so disliked yet remember so well.
When spring comes, like the creatures in the woods and fields, I feel as though I am beginning to wake up after a time of hibernation. I want to get out doors and spend more time in the light. I welcome the brightness that comes in through the windows even though it also shows the accumulation of dust that is so easy to miss in the dimmer light of winter. I get out of bed more eagerly, most likely because the sky is brighter when I do. Spring also brings me memories of what it was like for me when I was a child and the seasons were more defined by what we ate as well as what we did.
Growing up I spent much of my time out of doors. My mother believed the fresh air was good for me. As well she wanted me to be active rather than sit with my nose in a book. Whenever the weather was relatively decent, neither raining, snowing nor windy and cold, I was sent out doors to play. I grew up in the country on a property that belonged to my great aunt Alice, with a good bit of land to it. Thus I could wander to my heart’s content in the fields and marshes that surrounded her large house and our cottage.
When the spring came and the ice receded from the marsh, I would trek about looking for interesting objects that the sea might have delivered during a winter storm. Once I discovered a large log, perhaps three feet or more in diameter that formed an interesting place to play. Another time I found a pane of glass with a lovely blue design on it that was yellow on the underneath. Thinking back I can see it still. It was probably once part of a picture frame. Sadly one day it disappeared, as did the log I liked so much.
Spring also meant there was more daylight time after school to play out of doors. As I wandered around, I made up all sorts of stories in which I imagined myself having some kind of an adventurous part. Although I had no one to play with I was good company for myself, and my active imagination helped me to create all sorts of fun. I was alone but never lonely. Being on our own property I was completely safe as well. It seemed to me that I had a little kingdom all my own to enjoy. Spring brought new opportunities for adventures as well as the chance to be by myself with no one to tell me what to do.
My brother lives in the house we grew up in and whenever I visit with him I marvel at how much smaller the property seems to me now. Too, the days seem far shorter than they did when I was a child, when Saturdays especially seemed to hold endless hours in which to enjoy myself. I greeted the advent of spring with joy because it meant I could get out and explore the surrounding fields and marsh in search not only of adventure but also of signs of the new growth that spring would bring to share with me.
Thinking about lilacs I remembered hearing a song with the words “Lilac Time” featured prominently in it. Looking it up on the Internet I found the full title Jeannine, I dream of Lilac Time, as well as an old recording of it to listen to. It brought back memories of my hearing it as a young child. What fun it was to listen again, courtesy of the Internet and whoever was kind enough to resurrect it. Seeing lilac,s like hearing the song, brings back a host of memories.
Stephen and I were driving to an appointment when I saw a lot of lilacs by the side of the road. They were so lovely I had to stop the car to look. What was even more wonderful was the fact that there were a several different varieties of lilacs in this particular collection. What I really wanted to do was get out of the car and pick some. However, I resisted the temptation and drove on before their lure grew too strong for my will power.
I have many memories involving lilacs that go back to my childhood. There was a cluster of bushes in the back yard of the home where I grew up. There was a lattice fence in the midst of them. This helped to form an enclosed space on one side where I played house. There I made mud pies using water I would scrounge from the house and berries from bushes nearby. I also mixed up other concoctions to feed my doll family.
I kept my doll sized dishes, pots and pans and other implements on shelves made from boards stuck into the branches of the lilac bushes. These usually collapsed when it was windy. For some reason that escapes me now I didn’t mind too much; I’d just pick them up and rearrange things as best I could. I even wrote recipe booklets of my efforts, though the pages became illegible when they got soaked in rain.
There were a great many different kinds of lilac bushes next door, growing at the end of my great aunt Alice’s back yard. Her father had been a horticulturalist and most likely chose the various different varieties so that they would bloom for longer as well as present different colors in display. Some were double, some had an incredibly sweet smell. All of them were lovely. I used to pick them and bring them home for my mother to put into vases.
Each year I worried that there wouldn’t be any lilacs still blooming to honor veterans on Memorial Day. My family always went to the parade in Beverly Farms where there was a square dedicated to my father’s father who died in World War One. The children who marched at the end of it used to carry lilacs to throw in the water when the parade ended at West Beach as the band played “For those who perished on the sea. Seeing the lilacs as they bloom now I greet them with joy and with gratitude for their beauty both today and in my memory.