I remember looking down from the balcony of St. Rose Church on Easter Sunday at the sea of hats below and thinking it looked like a flower garden. Like each girl or woman was a stem and their hat a bloom. It was truly a beautiful sight. When they would kneel or sit it was like watching a breeze stir the flowers. As far as the eye could see Easter Bonnets and bright homemade corsages on each one.
A balcony view of life. I remember the enormous “Fruit and Nut” eggs and a sea of Easter Baskets waiting for us on the Dining Room table each Easter. Every basket with a name and a Big ‘ol chocolate Easter Bunny. I remember my niece Michaela, the first-born grandchild being roped into making an army of those solid chocolate rabbits by her Granddad. She lined them up on his big corner desk like a delicious demonic army just waiting to enter the Easter fray.
I remember a sea of Easter Baskets on that huge leaves extended Easter table. With those leaves extended that table’s ’bout twelve feet long and with nine kids and a huge setting in the middle for Mommy , my Dad gloried in bringing in the tons of bags and boxes of peeps, jellybeans and chocolates eggs and Rabbits each Easter Eve and then sending someone scurrying off in search of errant Easter Baskets. Our big Easter Bunny (Dad) liked those last-minute 50% off Easter sales at “Uncle Bill’s” or Surplus City or Revco…where ever he could find a deal on candy by the bag full.
I can clearly remember switching the name tags on the baskets thinking the biggest would get the most. Everybody but Mom got the same. And in the middle of the table Daddy would set up a table centerpiece with the biggest bunny for Mommy. Over the course of years Kel, Therese and I must have dyed thousands of eggs.
When I got older and had children of my own, I can remember running into my sister Anne and her former husband Al, at Cunningham Drug 24hour store about 3AM on a Easter Eve like espionage agents with a job to do, we busted out laughing and recognizing in both of us Dad-like behavior, and we wondered what was the likelihood of running into a couple more sisters before the night was over? Or before you could say “The Bunny has landed”
I got carried away with the pictures today…that www.clevelandmemory.org just doesn’t have any bad ones. So I took a trip back into the church of the past.
A new St. Rose Church, 1957…before even the statue of St. Rose was put up. And then St. Rose’s after her arrival.
Then an Interior view of St. James at what looks like Easter.
The good Sisters in front of St. James School.
And finally two pictures of St. James on busy Sunday mornings in 1962 and in 1936. What crowds, huh? Well at that point there were a lot more church goers and a lot fewer churches.
And lastly Garfield’s Monument in a nod to my Dad and Anne for all those Easter Sunrise services they attended. For being steadfast, for having faith. The best is yet to be, it is time now to buy new Easter bonnets and ties and bunnies for a whole new generation that need to believe in themselves too. Just breath and help them belive in themselves, and let this Easter be the start of their wonderful beginnings of treasured Easter memories for them. This birth and death cycle is tiring enough, just let the little ones be happy and eat their candy and wear their new little clothes and hats for a little while, please God. It’s the song of life. It starts in the spring so keep listening. As Elizabeth Berg writes, “I’m listening with all my might”.
Photographs; Ladies in hats courtesy of Google source: Life
All other Photographs Courtesty of Cleveland State University Library the Michael Schwartz Collection