Intro: by Charlotte Underwood
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – It was the one day of the year my mom could get me to wear a dress. The lure of Easter egg hunting after the Sunday sermon was enough to get this tomboy to dress like a lady, but only for about half a day.
I can remember the the solemnity of the preacher’s message and the seriousness with witch the men of the church dutifully slipped outside to hide the eggs while us kids waited impatiently inside. It was the one day of the year the church blinds were closed so us kids couldn’t see out the windows where the hiding spots were.
I always secretly hoped to find my eggs, the ones my mama and I had colored ourselves. We didn’t really have money for egg dye and my mom would create dye out of onion skins. Purple and yellow onions and sometimes we would write on them in crayon, words like love and Jesus, or just a Bible verse. The purple onion skin would produce various shades of light blue, lavender and even darker purple if you soaked them long enough. The yellow onion skins produced beautiful shades of gold. Sometimes we would dip them half and half and I loved those purple and golden eggs. I thought my mom was wonderful because she knew how to make egg dye out of onion skins. The Easters that we dyed eggs like this are some of my best Easter memories. More than I wanted to find the prize egg, I would search out those special eggs my mother and I had decorated together.
This Easter we won’t be gathering at churches or at family get-togethers like usual, but that doesn’t diminish the meaning of Easter. I have those Easter memories of hope etched in my heart and just like Jesus rose from the dead, so too, shall we all rise out of this difficult time. Despite not getting to see most of my family this Easter due to this virus and our needed social distancing, it’s memories like these that keep us all going. WLAF would love to hear some of our reader’s and listener’s favorite Easter memories.
Campbell County native Jocelyn Woods Griffo shared her Easter memories from 1944:
Easter When I was a Child
By Jocelyn Woods Griffo
CARYVILLE, TN (WLAF) – The earliest recollection I have of Easter was finding the prize egg in an egg hunt, aided by the gentle persuasion of a man who was a community leader. The egg hunt was on the grounds of the newly created Cove Lake State Park which had become the primary recreational area for townsfolk.
I recall holding the hand of this tall (to me), lean gentleman wearing a suit, tie and hat. A watch chain looped from his belt. He stopped and stood still, which I intuitively felt was significant for some unknown reason. When I looked down, there in a clump of grass was a shiny object. He nodded at me, indicating I should pick it up, which, when I parted the grass, proved to be an egg covered with the silver foil used to wrap sticks of chewing gum. This was probably 1944; WWII was on everyone’s minds, I’m certain. Rationing was a fact of life. For finding the prize egg, I was rewarded with a shiny coin, a quarter, I think. Everyone made a fuss.
Mother made Easter Sunday in our house a day not unlike Christmas. For several years during our childhood, she somehow managed to purchase 3 or 4 colorful chalk rabbits – they were at least 2 feet tall, or so I seem to remember. During the night she would stash them in the parlor and hallway, much to the waking delight of myself and my brother, Eddie.
We would have dyed eggs from our grandparents farm the day before. Maybe a dozen or more. They would be hunted and hidden over and over on our lawn during the coming week by us and neighbor friends. One year Mother brought home an egg dye kit that included a sheet or two of tiny cartoon characters that could be separated with scissors, placed on the dyed eggs and when wet would transfer to the egg shell. Wow! We were artists!
There were two Easter services at the Caryville Methodist Church which sat on the hill above our house. We attended the earliest in order to drive to the farm in Fincastle for Easter dinner. Mammaw Cora Robbins prepared fried chicken (young hen or rooster from her flock that she killed that morning), countless vegetable side dishes (all harvested on the farm), cakes, pies, and Ambrosia salad – the latter a special treat because the many fruits required were only available at the market from November to Easter. My father never liked chicken, so she also prepared some type of beef roast just for him. He was the son she never had and treated him with love that he reciprocated.
There would be another egg hunt for eggs she had dyed and hidden before our arrival, then Eddie and I spent the afternoon hiding, hunting, hiding and hunting until we tired of it. Next we changed out of our Easter outfits into “play clothes” free to scout around the farm in places not appropriate for patent leather shoes and frilly starched dresses or little boy suits.
I don’t recall a single Easter in my childhood that wasn’t sunny. Maybe I just forgot, because the joy of Easter shared and made possible by my loving family has endured. And I thank them still.
Easter Joy to all! (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/12/2020-8AM)