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An Easter Story from Long Ago

7 Apr

Well…maybe not “Biblical Times” long ago.  But from my childhood.  My “I thought it was pretty normal until I started telling others and they looked at my oddly” childhood.

The boys and I circa 1975 - we were/are as cute and mischievous as we look(ed)

I was the youngest of a set of three. My brothers were ages 3 and 2 when I was born.  My oldest brother J1*. was always the natural born leader – J2 and I just sort of followed along.  I’m not sure why…

J1 was also a very early riser.  Especially on holidays.  It wasn’t a problem on Christmas because Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve, while we were at the 5 p.m. Christmas Vigil mass (proving once again what innocent little children we were – we never questioned why Santa made a special trip to our house on Christmas Eve afternoon.)

Easter though – Easter was a no-holds-bar thing for our eldest sibling.

Now, I don’t know if it’s because he wanted company or because our parents told him he couldn’t go for his basket until we were all up.  All I know is that sometime in the darkness one Easter morning, I awoke to  “Phoebe…psst…Phoebe…are you awake?  Huh?  Are you? Phoebe are you awake?”

And there were my brothers standing over my bed – J1 all bright-eyed, J2 looking not as bright-eyed.

My brother could be most persistent.  So I got up.  Because going back to sleep was not an option.  He had a plan, and we were all going to be part of it.

Of course, THAT was the year my parents decided to hide our baskets.  Thus began what turned out to be pretty much a three hour tour of our house.  One was found on the basement steps.  Another was found under some fabric on my mom’s sewing desk.

But one was missing.

We searched.  High, low (my job, I was the short one), in cabinets, on top of the refrigerator, behind the couch…I’m not kidding when I state we looked for hours.  And then we noticed something odd….our terrier, sitting perfectly still in one spot.

If you have ever owned a terrier, you know this is strange.

There he sat, in front of the dining room window, perfectly still, looking up.  We looked up.  There, in plain sight, hanging off the end of the curtain rod, was the final basket.

At that point the sun began coming up.  And I was cold.  So I crawled under the one boxy chair we had that sat in front of the hot air vent, and curled up like a cat as the heat came on.  I could have cared less about the freaking Easter basket.  I was cold, tired and slightly miserable. I don’t know how long I stayed under there – I remember the heat coming on, blowing, warming me up, going off, me getting cold again, only to have the heat come back on. Why I didn’t just go back to bed, I don’t know – I was about seven years old and let’s face it, you’re kind of stupid at that age.

At some point my parents woke up (at a reasonable hour) and came downstairs  and discovered us in various states of sugared and tired.  I may have still been under the chair at that point.  I don’t know.  I do know that my parents made the rule that you could not get out of bed on a holiday until the sun rose after that incident. I can only imagine what a cranky bunch we were by the end of that Easter Sunday.

Of course there was that other Easter that my mother thought she could sneak carob bunnies past us.  She was wrong.  So very wrong.  The carob bunnies were replaced the next day with milk chocolate ones.  Eventually we forgave her.**

*Names of brothers have been shortened to initials for the sake of some privacy.  
**My mother sends good chocolate, Jelly Belly’s and lots of Peeps for the grandchildren. 

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7 Responses to “An Easter Story from Long Ago”

  1. Rosemary Rizzuto Moses Niedziela April 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    It is good to know that I have been forgiven, but for the record it was Parent 1 who thought it would “fun” to hide the Easter baskets. He said as a child they would find their’s at the foot of the bed. Parent 2 said that was because you didn’t have a dog. Hence the hiding places that were terrier proof. (Christmas Eve Vigil Mass was at 7:00PM & hey, Chicago wasn’t that far south of the North Pole…) Have a great Easter! Love, Parent 2

  2. Angel Brookins April 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    I am an insomniac. Always have been. I won’t go into painful detail over how much trouble I got into for ‘sneaking out of bed’ in the middle of the night as a child, but I was forbidden to go anyplace other than the bathroom before sunrise. On holidays, this rule was soft. At least when I was little, and if I had my even littler sister in tow. So I’d get up VERY quietly and make sure the baskets had been set out (of course I knew where they’d come from, as I slept an average of two or three hours a night). I’d then get my Sissy very wound up about how very excited she’d be to see what the Bunny brought for her!
    Then I’d suggest that we go get Mama and Daddy some breakfast (cereal and toast) in bed, and wake them up so we could have our treats. Of course, parents can’t be too mad when their four and six year olds bring a mess of Cheerios and soggy toast in at five a.m., right?
    ‘Sissy, go wake them up, while I hold the tray, and tell them you made them breakfast!’ She got the credit, but I didn’t get in trouble!

  3. Megan Luck April 8, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    I loved the photo of you and your brothers! so cute and the story was great. I love hearing about other people’s wacky holiday stories from their childhoods, makes me feel less weird. I am sure I have said this before but I like your name Phoebe! My family tree actually has many Phoebes in it so it was quite a liked name in our family. Hope your Easter tomorrow is wonderful.

  4. Renee Anne April 8, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    EB visited my house and hid things all over. Seriously. Sometimes it would take me a couple of hours to find everything. And then we’d go to my grandparents’ house where EB had visited AGAIN and I’d have to spend another hour or three finding everything.

    My grandpa hid Easter stuff until I was into my 20s. He liked doing it…but as he got older, he’d have to keep a little list of where everything was because he couldn’t always remember. One year, he didn’t do that and my grandma found a Cadburry Creme Egg in one of her big plants while she was cutting it down a few months after Easter…at least it wasn’t a real egg.

  5. Courtenay Bluebird April 8, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Oh! The image of you curled up over the heating vent was the final perfect sustained note on a gorgeous essay. Thank you for sharing such a well-written window into your childhood. (By the way, I think your terrier was brilliant. And— I, too, was given a carob bunny one year. It gave me a massive headache!) Fantastic piece. Really well done!

  6. carolcovin April 8, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Love this story. We didn’t have any such Easter stories growing up, but the year my brothers got up and didn’t come get me was the year they tore open the box with my bike in it. They didn’t realize their mistake until they saw it was a girl’s bike. Then… they saw my name in big letters on the side of the box. After that, we all got up together. Our children were required to come get us out of bed before Easter or Christmas presents/baskets.

  7. bodi April 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Memories …my eldest brother was the one to marshall us, as well. In ourhouse, it’s the littlest two that run the show.

    I managed to “sleep in” until half past nine this morning … The little darlings managed to wake their two older brothers, but not their sister. So she had to settle for whatever chocolate they found but *didn’t* actually eat 😛

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